Review: Logitech MX Master mouse

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Most people don’t think twice about the mouse they use every day. Whether it came in the box with their computer or it was supplied by their IT department the humble mouse isn’t given a lot of love. When you think about it that’s kind of crazy, as our primary means of interaction the mouse certainly deserves a lot more attention. Just like the headphones that come in the box with your shiny new iPhone, what’s put in front of you often isn’t the best and in the case of the mouse, I’m telling you right now, unless it’s a Logitech MX Master, it’s definitely not.

The design

The MX Master is a beautifully sculpted, (right-handed) ergonomic dream. Picking it up for the first time it was as though someone from the Logitech design team had been sent to my home, studied my hand for a few years, written their PhD on it and then used all of that to build the MX Master. Or to a lesser, more realistic extent, done some actual ergonomic research for a change.

It looks pretty sexy too. Whilst the mouse remains primarily black it’s accented with a golden bronze that separates functional areas from its body. A rigid, smooth plastic covers the top and buttons of the MX Master where as on its sides a sort of raised triangular pattern made of a rubber covers its surface to enhance grip.

What’s really impressive is the MX Master’s weight. At 145g (5.1oz) it has a true presence in your hand. Mouse development for many years seems to have been only concerned with making them “lightweight” or having a greater “portability” forgoing any real long term use comfort or functional benefit that nominal weight offers. Only gaming mice, where weight has often been a customisable feature, has this truly been a continued consideration before.

The spec-sheet

The Logitech MX Master has more features than a modern day Mercedes, or so it feels like reading through its press release. Its beautiful looking and feeling hand crafted design I’ve already touched on but there’s much more to take note of.

Horizontal scrolling is a must-have feature for me. It’s not because I need it for video editing or some horizontal-specific task it’s that since the introduction of Apple’s god-awful Mighty Mouse it’s something I can no longer imagine living without. Thankfully the MX Master includes a horizontal scroll wheel. It’s easily and comfortably accessible sitting adjacent to your thumb’s natural resting position on the mouse. The scroll wheel is surprisingly pleasant to use and has a really nice soft resistance to it that syncs to its onscreen movement well.

Apple Mighty Mouse & Logitech MX Master

Don’t think for a second the mouse’s main vertical scroll wheel plays second second fiddle to its horizontal little brother. Its robust, weighted, metal construction incorporates Logitech’s “speed adaptive” technology. As you move the wheel faster it changes its mode from a precise click-to-click scroll to a hyper-fast version where the wheel spins freely. Should you prefer one mode over the other the option to disable the automatic switching is available and a button on the surface of the mouse below the main scroll wheel allows you to toggle between the two modes manually.

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One of the mouse’s best features is its ability to pair with up to three computers via Bluetooth. On the base of the mouse is a button that toggles between its three connection signatures. As a person with two computers sitting next to one another on the same desk anything that allows me to reduce the number of peripherals and switch between them easier is more than welcomed. The MX Master can also connect via an included USB Unifying receiver, Logitech’s own wireless technology that requires zero setup.

The MX Master also has a rechargeable battery built-in, said to last up to 40 days with nominal use. Included is a micro USB cable to charge the mouse and allow its use whilst doing so. Lastly the mouse incorporates Logitech’s Darkfield laser tracking allowing it to be used on almost any surface, including glass.

The final word

Here’s a few words I did not expect to be saying… I love this mouse. Logitech has achieved the near impossible, tearing me away from my beloved Apple ecosystem. Apple’s Mighty Mouse has long been my mouse of choice, it’s sleek, it’s well designed, it’s functional, and has horizontal scroll but it definitely wasn’t without its problems. They were problems easy to ignore though, simply because there was nothing out there to even close to challenging it. The MX Master has changed that.

“Here’s a few words I did not expect to be saying… I love this mouse.”

One of my biggest complaints with the Mighty Mouse was the accidental scroll or click. It’s touch sensitive surface would continually click with the wrong function or scroll in an unexpected manner if it became confused with palm and finger detection. The MX Master removes both of these issues by separating the scroll into two dedicated wheels for precise movement as well as having definitive buttons in it’s physical design for left & right clicking. Add to that the ability to connect and easily switch the MX Master with up to three computers and you’ve more than justified it’s RRP of A$149.

Logitech Options software

Logitech have also done a nice job (finally) of updating their software game with “Logitech Options”. I tested it under Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) and whilst it still launches a separate app when you click on the icon in System Preferences the app itself is easy to use and offers a wide variety of configuration options. The installation of the Options software is completely optional (no pun intended), the mouse works out of the box via Bluetooth, but should you want to use some of its more advanced features I’d recommend visiting Logitech’s website and downloading the installer.

I used the Logitech MX Master in a variety of software over the past two weeks. From photo editing to gaming, web browsing to coding, each time it reaffirmed itself as an extremely competent piece of hardware and as a mouse worth owning.

Reckoner had its humble beginnings way back in June of 2013.

Founded by James Croft, along with Peter Wells and Anthony Agius they created what would go on to become one of Australia’s most highly regarded and award winning independent tech blogs.

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