Review: Logitech MX Master wireless mouse

The scoop: MX Master wireless mouse, by Logitech, about $100

What is it? Logitech calls the MX Master “The Precision Instrument for Masters of Their Craft,” implying that this is for workers or users who need specific, precise mousing movements, as well as a large number of buttons for customized computer actions. The wireless mouse also includes two options for connectivity - you can connect up to three computers via Bluetooth or you can use the traditional USB dongle, which Logitech calls the “Logitech Unifying Receiver.”

Why it’s cool: In addition to the standard left, right and middle buttons (the middle button is activated by pushing down on the middle scroll wheel), the MX Master includes a thumb scroll wheel on the side (for scrolling horizontally), two other buttons on the thumb area (for back-and-forward web browsing actions) and a new “gesture button” located in the area where your thumb would rest. Actions for these buttons are enabled through Logitech’s “Options” software, which you can download from the company’s web site. The software offers a range of customization options, everything from changing the direction of the scroll, speed of the mouse, sensitivity and changing actions for each of these buttons.

I particularly liked the middle scroll wheel, which offered two operation modes - the typical “ratchet-click” mode that offers a clicking-type action, as well as a “freespin” mode that eliminates the ratchet and lets you scroll up or down long documents very quickly. The modes are activated through a mode switch button right below the scroll wheel.

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I was also impressed by the mouse’s “Darkfield Laser” sensor, which Logitech claims can track the mouse flawlessly, even on glass. I’m often stymied by other mice that can’t track over glass very well, which happens a lot on hotel-room desks, requiring me to mouse on a less-than-optimal additional piece of paper, magazine or other solid object.

Some caveats: While the Bluetooth connectivity and dongle connectivity options were nice, there’s sadly no storage compartment for the dongle itself. On other mice, you can open up the battery compartment area and store the dongle there - since this mouse is charged via USB cable, there’s no need to change the batteries (to defend Logitech a bit, the company claims a 40-day battery life on a single charge for the battery). If you’re going to use this mouse when you travel, you’ll need to either keep the dongle in the USB slot on your notebook, figure out a good place to store it, or use Bluetooth.

This mouse is also a lot larger than other mice that Logitech makes - with my small hands I felt less-than-comfortable using this mouse, especially when trying to use the middle scroll wheel. My fingers had to stretch more than I’d like in order to do that function, making me reach for my other smaller mice. Perhaps larger-hand users are annoyed by smaller mice and would appreciate a “normal size” mouse - if that’s the case, then they should be happy with this device.

Bottom line: If Logitech could take some of these innovations (the Darkfield Laser sensor, multiple scroll wheels) and shrink them into a smaller-sized mouse (one that operates on battery with a storage compartment, too, is that too much to ask?), then this would be a giant winner for me. But at the moment, my genetics are getting in the way.
Grade: 3.5 stars (out of five)

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