As mentioned in the title of the article, there are so many options these days for controlling our electronics that it makes us wonder… is there a future for the once mighty and all powerful computer mouse? Of course, this might make you wonder why we are even doing a Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX for PC and Mac review. Hasn’t it been on the market for over five years? But these are exactly the reasons why we want to take another look at it.
Similar to our second look at the enduring popularity of the LG Tone+ HBS-700 & HBS-730 Bluetooth Headsets, we wanted to find out why this remains one of the best selling, most popular mice on the market, beating out almost every wired and wireless model in existence. Not only that, it gives evidence that there is a huge amount of people out there who just plain prefer them over every development in human-to-computer interface technology, including not only the now readily-available touch pads and touch screens, but also the ever-improving forms like eye-tracking, gesture control and voice-activation. Please note that the Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX is meant as a best-in-class device for typical uses, such as office or web work. We treat gaming mice as a separate class and will do a review on the most popular version soon. In the meantime, let’s take a look at what the Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX offers!
Comfort – It is an asymmetrically sculpted, ergonomically designed mouse. What it sacrifices in the ability to be used in either hand it more than makes up for by being incredibly comfortable. This is one of the most natural feeling we’ve used. It disappears into the hand and we experienced little if any fatigue over extended use.
Rechargeable – It recharges through USB, so just connecting it to your computer or any powered USB hub or device will get you back in business quickly. The Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX comes with a micro-USB cable to do this. Each charge can last up to a month depending on use. If the battery does die, it is a very easy to find single AA rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery. We appreciate that they didn’t choose some odd, hard to-find size like some manufacturers seem to do.
Versatile – There are 9 buttons, 4 of which are thumb buttons that can change functionality depending on the software being used and/or user choice. There are ingertip controls for hyper-fast scrolling, quick-zoom and more. There is a button just below the scroll wheel that changes how it operates, varying between a “clicky” feel and a completely smooth, fluid feel. The fluid mode makes the wheel free-spinning, so you can actually ‘flick’ the wheel and it’ll keep spinning after you take your finger off. Great for extended documents, email threads, and web pages. The click-by-click mode is great for precise, line-by-line navigation of lists, slides and photos. The scroll wheel can also be tilted to the left and right for side-to-side scrolling. The convenient thumb buttons can help you things like quickly flip through web histories.
Wireless – It’s interesting to note that this is NOT a Bluetooth wireless device. Instead, the Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX opts for using a 2.4 GHz UHF signal. There are some tradeoffs here, but mostly it’s a positive. First, Logitech provides a USB dongle that acts as a receiver. It needs to be plugged into your device’s USB port for the mouse to work. Luckily, the receiver is so small you can basically leave it plugged in even when transporting the device. Logitech also has other accessories in the line, referred to as Unifying Technologies, that can work off the same dongle. A single Unifying dongle can connect up to 6 Unifying compatible devices, allowing you to add accessories like a Unifying wireless keyboard without having to manage multiple USB receivers. Second, 2.4GHZ has up to a 30m range, much greater than the 10m average range of most Bluetooth devices. We typically didn’t experience quite as long of a range as they specify, but is definitely more than Bluetooth and seemed to perform in a more consistent manner at extended distances. This longer range could be really handy when holding meetings in a large conference room where the speaker wants to demo things on a large screen but might be far removed from the computer and projector setup.
Precise Tracking – Logitech uses something that they call “Darkfield Tracking”, which makes a marked improvement in tracking, especially noticeable on super smooth surfaces like glass, granite and polished wood without a restrictive mouse pad. We’ll go into detail with Darkfield Technology next.
It is common in the tech world to use laser tracking to achieve a high level of precision. This is accomplished by setting the laser at an angle to the surface that it wants to track. In effect, this creates shadows to be cast by all of the little bumps and irregularities of the surface, even if they are very small and barely detectable to the eye. This in turn causes the reflected light bouncing off the surface to also be irregular. The reflection is then detected by a sensor which interprets the changes in the light into movement with the result being electronic tracking.
If you take a look at the above illustration, you can see that in traditional optical setups the sensor is directly above the tracked surface, picking up the reflection at an angle perpendicular to the lens. In the specular optical setup, like that used by the Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX, both the LED beam AND the lens and sensor configuration are set at angles to the tracked surface. Logitech calls this technique Darkfield Laser Tracking. It is a significant improvement over traditional optical and laser mice and helps enhance the visibility of the surface’s irregularities, especially on super-smooth materials like glass, metal and polished stone (like a tile or granite counter top).
So, no matter that most of us are now quite comfortable with touch screens, touch pads, and might soon be able to do more using voice-activation, eye-tracking and gesture controls, many of us still prefer the mouse. Maybe it’s a generational thing? Perhaps, but maybe it’s also just a choice of tool for personal expression. Just like some people still like to use a manual typewriter, or oil paints, charcoal, hand saw, etc… It’s possible that the mouse will find its fans for generations to come.
It is extraordinary the success that this particular product has had and continues to have. They seem to be selling just about as many as when it was first introduced. We here at QTOOTH are going to continue this series of reviews of devices that have obviously just gotten it right. When something receives universal praise over an extended period of time, often for years, and does not find itself becoming obsolete is something we want to recognize. Perhaps we can detect deeper trends of where technology is headed, or what questions or problems it needs to address, to be a true success. Stay tuned for more to come… in the meantime, if you need or just prefer a mouse for everyday use*, this is probably the one for you.
* Gaming mice have slightly different needs. We’ll be doing a similar review of one soon!
Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX System Requirements
- Windows-based PC
- Windows® XP, Windows Vista®, or Windows® 7, Windows® 8
- Internet connection
- USB port
- Mac® computer
- Mac OS® X 10.5 or later
- Internet connection
- USB port
3-year limited hardware warranty
- Logitech® Performance Mouse MX
- Micro-USB charging cable
- USB receiver
- Quick-start guide
- Tips guide
- Mouse Dimensions (height x width x depth):
- 3.29 in (83.5 mm) x 5.05 in (128.3 mm) x 1.85 in (47 mm)
- Mouse Weight (including battery): 5.19 oz (147 g)
- Receiver Dimensions (height x width x depth):
- 0.57 in (14.4 mm) x 0.74 in (18.7 mm) x 0.24 in (6.1 mm)
- Receiver Weight: 0.06 oz (1.8 g)
- Sensor technology: Laser (Darkfield)
- Sensor Resolution: Variable (100dpi～1500dpi) (Can be set in increments of 100dpi )
- Number of buttons: 9
- Scroll Wheel (Y/N): Yes (with Hyper-Fast Scrolling）
- Tilt scroll function (Y/N) Yes
- Battery life: 1-month battery life*
- Battery type: 1-AA form rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery
- Wireless operating distance: Approx 10m*
- Wireless technology: Advanced 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity(Unifying supported)
- Interface: USB receiver
- Supported OS:
- Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1
- Mac OS X 10.5 or later