Mobee Magic Charger review: wirelessly juice up your Apple Magic Mouse

Aww, look at that cute little mouse cuddling up in its nest. Wait a tick... an inductive charging mat for the Magic Mouse? You won't currently find the Magic Charger at the Apple Store (something that could change soon) but the good folks at Mobee are finally taking orders for this intriguing product on its website. To mark this occasion, the Swiss company sent us a review unit for some sweet wireless charging action. Read on for our full review after the break.%Gallery-107485%

Apart from the LED's color, the final product hasn't changed much since our extensive hands-on back at IFA -- the two-parter bundle consists of just the charging mat and a battery module (containing two NiMH AAA 800mAh cells) along with a mini-USB cable for the mat -- an odd choice given that most phones are now using micro-USB. While the parts are mainly housed in recyclable plastic (for the sake of inductive charging), their silver paint and texture actually match well with the Magic Mouse's metallic underside, and there's no doubt that the charging mat's silver-white combo is a homage to the previous-gen Mac Mini. Build quality is also satisfactory -- we see even paint job and cleanly cut edges, although we did spot some light warping on the mat's white surface.

There's not much to do to get the ball rolling, although we did have to push the battery module in with a little extra effort to make sure it snaps on -- this is due to the module's little metal spring that helps lifting it up when unlatching, so you'll just have to live with it. That said, once it's installed, the module is flush with the mouse's bottom side and doesn't affect maneuverability. As for charging, while the spec sheet says it only takes six hours for a full charge, our unit -- just a little warm to the touch -- continued to charge throughout the night (as indicated by the blinking green LED) rather than eventually stopping (which would show a still green light). A look at our Mac's system pane suggested that the mouse is capped at a 70 percent charge. Mobee has yet to come back to us about this strange phenomenon, but from what we've seen, we're certain that the advertised six-day battery life is realistic, plus we're supposed to get at least three years' worth of usage even if you charge the mouse every day.

Update: The 70 percent charge reading is a result of the 1.2V Mobee NiMh cells versus the 1.5V per cell charge supplied by normal AA alkalines. Mac OS measures the remaining power to be 2.4V with Mobee's fully charged battery pack (2 cells) instead of 3V with the AA batteries. Sure, that works out to be 80 percent but Mobee assures us that the reading is normal.

Update 2: Inexplicably, the charging light finally quit blinking, three days after the first change. We had a quick look on our Mac and got a 68 percent charge reading -- or about 97 percent if you scale it up using the batteries' lower voltage -- which probably means this has nothing to do with the batteries being brand new.

So would we recommend the Magic Charger? Absolutely -- $49.90 pre-tax (or €49.90 elsewhere) is reasonable for this super-convenient peripheral bundle, plus you can get spare battery packs (€29.90; US pricing to be confirmed) for the others in your household or office and share the charging mat. If you're itching for an inductive mouse charger and happen to be in one of the 35 listed countries, you can head over to Mobee's website and buy directly from them (shipping fees applied); otherwise, you can wait until early December when the Apple Premium Resellers and large retail chains like Best Buy will have it in stock. And finally, we're told to keep an eye out for two new products from Mobee at CES this coming January -- our money's on something for the iPhone 4 and Apple's wireless keyboard.