I’m a mouse snob.
Software engineering pretty much takes place at a computer. So I work at a computer about 9 hours a day during the work week. It therefore goes that I will use the computer peripherals that best meet my needs and comfort. I could go on about my keyboard, monitors, any of the stuff on my desk, etc. but today I’m going with pure mouse snobbery.
The first mouse I fell head over heals for was the Microsoft Intellimouse. I hadn’t immediately jumped on the optical mouse bandwagon. When I did I went for one that had a scroll wheel AND back and forward buttons! It was awesome.
One day a good friend of mine asked me if I wanted to head out to Best Buy. He was going to check out a new mouse since his had just died. He’d been reading up on the best mice available and wanted to check out a Logitech. Having nothing else better do I went to checkout out the Logitech MX Revolution.
After trying the mouse out I knew that I had to have this mouse. The Intellimouse immediately felt old and worn. It was 2006! Time to jump up to the big time. The MX Revolution came with not only a scroll wheel and back and forward buttons, but also a thumb switch and a search on demand button. It also had a recharging cradle that made it a breeze to keep it at the ready.
Oh, the scroll wheel! The scroll wheel on the MX Revolution. Nothing could compare. I’d spend the next 10 years looking for a mouse that would match! The scroll wheel could tilt left or right to do horizontal scrolling. Have a big document? You could speed right through those long documents by using the scroll wheel’s ability to click and disengage the ratcheting mechanism. The wheel would freewheel giving you the ability to blow throw lines and lines! The wheel had heft and felt up to the task.
I loved this mouse so much that three years later, in 2009, I found out that they were going to discontinue it. I immediately bought another so that I’d be sure to have at least one that worked. I ended up keeping one at work and one at home.
This mouse served me well. I replaced the non-user replaceable batteries a couple of times. The feet wore down so I replaced those too! Seeing prices on eBay for these things work themselves into the hundreds of dollars I knew I had to keep them in tip top shape.
I have been having problems with my older of the two MX Revolutions. It doesn’t always agree with the charging cradle. The rubber on the thumb rest has worn down to plastic in a few areas. I had pretty much resigned myself that one of them was finally bound for the trash.
As I do every now and again I recently pulled up Logitech’s site to look at their current mouse offerings. Every time previously I found that the mice they were selling were either geared towards gamers or mobile users. It seemed like the power user had to make a choice of over complicated or lean with nothing in-between. This time, however, I was surprised to see the MX name revived with a mouse that looked remarkably similar to my Revolution.
Not only does the MX Master have the same ergo-centric design features it most importantly has the same scroll wheel of the Revolution! I immediately hopped on Amazon and snagged a version.
I must say I am very impressed with this mouse!
It is bigger than the MX Revolution but it fits my hands pretty well.
There are a couple of big differences in functionality between the older Revolution and the Master. The master forgoes the thumb switch and rock-able scroll wheel for a thumb wheel. This is used for horizontal scrolling. I think this is a big improvement. The scroll wheel feels pretty solid and doesn’t freewheel or ratchet. I like that it has good tension. The wheel is also out of the way so it doesn’t get accidently hit.
My number one reason for trying this mouse was for the claims around its scroll wheel. The auto and manual disengage ability harkened back to the MX Revolution. I have to say that this scroll wheel is just plain sexy! It has a great mechanical feel. There is a metallic or some other sort of material for the ratchet mechanism. That really helps it feel like there is real quality there. My only gripe with it is that it is missing the manual disengagement when pressing the wheel itself. I really liked that functionality from my old mouse. However, the button to do the manual disengagement is in a great position and is easy to hit when you want. I’m willing to live with it.
The big new addition is the gesture pad. This pad is placed where you thumb rests. It is a pressure activated pad that when activated allows you to make a gesture with the mouse to perform some action. When I first read about it I imagined a touch sensitive area. I kind of was hesitant because it is a thumb rest and didn’t want to accidentally activate things. It actually is a pressure sensitive button. When you press down with your thumb it activates. It takes force so it isn’t something that you’ll be likely to activate by accident.
The gesture pad supports 5 gestures. Pressing the pad and releasing opens up the open windows list that you see when pressing Alt+Tab. Very useful! Pressing the pad and moving left or right causes the active window to be snapped to the left or right (same as Win+Left Arrow or Win+Right Arrow). Moving up and down while pressing the pad will maximize or show/hide the desktop.
This all is a bit gimmicky, but I can see myself using parts of it. I use two monitors so I may reassign the left and right motions to send a window to a different monitor. I haven’t really used the accompanying Logitech app much but it seems much improved over what I remember of the old one.
The MX Master doesn’t have a charging cradle like the older Revolution. However, it does have new battery technology which enables the battery to be charged in a matter of minutes. The full charge should allow it to be used for some time. The little booklet in the box (and there was very little in the box aside from the mouse and receiver) showed how to remove the smaller torx screws to change the battery. From the diagram it appears that the battery is simply plugged in. This means that it should be relatively easy to keep this mouse working for some time. If all else fails one could use the mouse in a wired fashion as well.
One drawback is the back and forward buttons. They’re stacked on top of one another. They’re also diagonally raised and triangularly shaped. It is pretty easy to find and actuate the back button with your thumb, but the forward button isn’t as easy to hit. I’ve already found myself hitting back again when I meant to hit forward. This is probably more muscle memory than anything and will just take some time to get used to where it is located.
10 Year Mouse?
The MX Master is a great mouse. It has a great balance of weight and quality feeling. The mouse feels solid in my hand. The new functions and placement of buttons are right where they need to be. Outside of the forward button I’m very happy with the placement and actuation feel.
I’m so sold on this mouse that I will be ordering another one just to keep at home. At around $70 online I might even throw a few in closet just in case Logitech decides to stop production on this one.