In a sea of mediocrity, there are some products that stand out purely due to their ease of use or simplicity. Many times I have purchased or played with a supposedly great product, and have been disappointed by simple design flaws or user-interface annoyances. So it is with pleasure that I write my first ever product review on my most prized gadget: my Logitech MX900 Bluetooth Wireless Mouse.
At about NZ$200, this mouse is not for the faint-hearted. As a software developer, I spend around a third of every 24-hour day close to, or using my mouse, so quality is very important to me. I have tried many different mice in the past, from the cheap-as-chips standard 2-button Microsoft Ps/2 job, through cheap wireless versions, high-quality optical USB jobbies, before finally settling on the MX900.
My main reasons for selecting the MX900 were bluetooth, and Logitech’s pedigree. I was looking for a bluetooth hub for my PC so that I could wirelessly sync my Pocket PC. The MX900 performs admirably in this task. The Logitech software (based on the Widcomm BT stack) installed seamlessly on my Windows 2000 PC, and with the help of Geekzone’s bluetooth guides, I was up and syncing inside of 5 minutes. This is what I was referring to when I mentioned simplicity earlier. There were no patches to apply, or settings to tweak. Just plug it in, install the software and that’s it. As a developer this is very important to me. I personally have no problem in hacking away on a config file, or compiling the drivers from source code, but as with the software I write, I am much happier if it passes the “Mum” test. Could my mum install this mouse? Hell yes!
The Logitech pedigree ensures that the MX900 has supreme build-quality, and the accuracy is fantastic. The Logitech optical engine is well respected, and deservedly so. Combined with bluetooth, this results in a wireless mouse free of any observable glitches, and with very high resolution.
The bundled batteries are excellent. I find they last through a 9 hour day with no problems at all. I have no idea how much longer they will last, because the bluetooth hub doubles as a charging station for the mouse, and it is extremely simple to drop the mouse into the cradle at the end of the day.
The mouse body itself is a fairly standard. It has two primary buttons and a scroll wheel. Additionally, it has:
- Two thumb-buttons (assuming you are using your right hand – more on that later). These are mapped by default to the Back and Forward commands for internet browsing. I find they work very well in this configuration.
- Two ‘cruise-contol’ scroll buttons above and below the scroll wheel. These are designed so you can hold the buttons for continuous scrolling, rather than the repetitive rolling of the scroll wheel. I personally found that these buttons worked better when mapped to page-up and page-down, and used in a single-click fashion.
- An additional ‘quick-switch’ button, which is mapped to an Alt-Tab like program switcher. I haven’t really found a use for this button, mainly because keyboard Alt-Tab (which is Windows’ task-switching command for those Mac-users) is hardwired into my nervous system.
Of course all the buttons on the mouse are user-configurable to do whatever you would like. They can be mapped to one of several predetermined function, or any keystroke combination by using the Logitech settings application (shown at right). The same application allows you to alter the pointer settings (speed, acceleration, etc.), re-associate the mouse connection (I’ve never had to do this), and check the battery level of the mouse.
I use a wireless mouse because I frequently switch the hand I mouse with. I find this reduces both boredom and RSI! As I mentioned, the MX900 is molded for right-handed use, and the back/forward buttons are located for use by the right-hand thumb. Having said this, the mouse is still comfortable for left-handed use, but the back/forward buttons are pretty much impossible to use with the left-hand, unless you have opposable pinkies.
All-in-all, this is one heck of a mouse. If you want the best wireless mouse available, you can’t really go past the MX900. If you were planning on buying a bluetooth hub anyway (around NZ$100), the hub that comes with the MX900 is as good as any existing option, and the incremental price gets you a very nice mouse.