Published on September 8th, 2008 | by Greg0
Logitech: Almost a Revolution in Mice?
Mice have gotten quite a bit better in recent years- high-resolution optical sensors, comfortable forms, wireless technology, better button placement. Logitech has led much of the pack, and unveiled their latest addition to their plethora of mice with the MX Revolution.
At first glance, it’s a pretty sweet looking device- matte and glossy black, silver scroll wheels, right-handed design, curvy surfaces. It features a rechargeable battery, and a nice set of LEDs showing the battery status. Oh, and it lacks a cord- for better or worse, the MX series is wireless. This has the downside of requiring the battery, and thus requiring recharging every few days, and a small bit more lag than your average optical mouse.
Of course, none of this touches upon the major reason for this mouse to be a breakthrough: the scroll wheel is now a flywheel. Spin it, and it will roll freely for quite some time- which doesn’t sound like a big deal, unless you scroll through long documents or webpages on a regular basis. The motion is smooth, and the textured wheel allows you to stop it fairly easily. However, the re-imagined scroll wheel does frustrate those who are used to scroll-wheel clicking, to open new tabs in Firefox for instance- the default behavior of the middle button is to change the wheel from “free spin” to “click spin”.
Further, we found some failures with the new “invisible” optical engine, mainly in low-light conditions where the older visible/red-beam mice worked without difficulty. The MX Revolution also has this thumb scroll wheel that is almost useless, which is a tragedy. One would expect it to maybe allow you to move side to side, but it instead works as an ALT-TAB replacement to switch programs. You can, of course, change some of the functions using Logitech’s software, but it isn’t too simple, and you may have to behaviors for each program individually!
The small thumb buttons work great as back and forward buttons for websites, and the Revolution is comfortable enough for prolonged use. But we wouldn’t recommend this mouse for gamers as of yet, and strongly hope that the next version will not require a separate power source (c’mon, USB should be plenty). Logitech’s MX Revolution is excellent, and the flywheel is good enough that using “older” scroll wheels feels frustrating now. It’s not a perfect mouse, but points the way, and is a good bet for those who do a lot of document work.