Logitech MX Revolution Wireless Laser Mouse

skinny - 2007-02-27 23:08:41 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: skinny   
Reviewed on: March 19, 2007
Logitech
Logitech
Price: $89.99

Introduction:



The MX Revolution is the third Logitech mouse that I have had the opportunity to review, the others being the G5 and the G7. While this mouse shares many characteristics with those two, there are some impressive improvements with this one, including some new technology. On the other hand, there are some areas that, in my opinion, could be tweaked a little in order for this mouse to be almost perfect.

Logitech continues to be a leader in the area of computer peripherals. Its product line includes everything from mice and keyboards to speakers and mobile audio players, to console gaming controllers and home entertainment universal remote controls. The company provides products for both the OEM and retail markets.

Closer Look:





The MX Revolution comes in the high quality packaging that I have come to expect from Logitech products. The box feels like plasticized cardboard and comes in the standard Logitech colors of teal and black. The sides and back of the box have an interesting effect in that the background black is both a flat-black and glossy at the same time. Thus, the images of the MX Revolution that are printed on top of that background have an almost 3-D appearance. My only complaint with this design is that the box is so glossy that it reflects even low levels of light, which made it difficult for me to read the assorted text that is found on the box.



The top of the box flips open to reveal your new toy. The mouse and USB receiver are inside contour-molded plastic on a black cardboard wedge that lifts out of the box. This wedge then opens to reveal the remaining contents: the recharging station, the power cord for the recharging station, the software CD, and a User’s Guide. Logitech has been nice enough to include instructions on how to remove the mouse and receiver from the plastic that it comes in. Due to the shape of the mouse, and the fact that the plastic fits perfectly around the contours of it, you must push quite hard on the plastic shell to have the mouse pop free.

The AC adapter plugs into the back of the recharging station, which has a nice modern design that would not look out of place on any desktop, from a student and gamer to a company CEO. The chord is approximately six feet long, which should not limit too many people on placement locations. However, as the USB receiver is not attached to this piece, it does not have to be placed anywhere near your computer.



The USB receiver plugs into any standard USB port and is no bigger than most USB thumb-drives. It will fit in with even the most complicated tangle of USB cords due to its small size and basic shape.



Basic is about the last word one would use when describing the shape of this mouse. I remember my first thoughts when switching from a $5 mouse to the G5 and G7: “Wow, is this ever different!” These thoughts were repeated when I first held the MX Revolution. It has a very aggressive shape both in looks and feel. The top is smooth gray plastic, with the front angling right down to the desk instead of having a flat or rounded front like most other mice. The sides are covered in a black, rubber-like material which provides amazing grip. The left side has a fairly deep concave shape where the thumb would rest, and this rounded shape continues down to the base which extends out well past the top of the mouse, ensuring that the users thumb never drags on the desk. The bottom of the MX Revolution has one wide foot at the front of the mouse, and three smaller feet at the back end. These feet are made out of low-resistance PTFE. There is also an on/off switch on the bottom, and a groove and two metal contacts which match up to the charging station. The recharging base is required as the Li-ion battery that powers this mouse is not removable.



The MX Revolution has the standard left and right mouse buttons built right into the gray plastic top cover. There is a small illuminated battery level indicator on the top surface, which fits perfectly into the joint between my index finger and thumb. The mouse also has what would appear on first glance to be a standard four-way scroll wheel, and a second small button directly behind that. There are two other buttons, and a second scroll wheel on the left side of the mouse. A quick look at the feature list shows that these are not standard buttons.

First, the top scroll wheel, while still having the standard forward/back/left/right scroll capabilities, is also fitted with Logitech’s new MicroGear Scroll Wheel, which has two modes. It works in the standard ratchet mode, moving line by line with each click, but can also be made to free-wheel, scrolling through pages and pages of documents with one flick of the thumb. This wheel also includes what Logitech refers to as SmartShift technology, which allows the scroll-wheel to recognize what program is being used, and switch between ratchet and free-wheel modes automatically. Also, in some programs the wheel will switch between modes depending on the speed at which the wheel is rotated. The left/right still functions the same way.

The small button behind the top scroll wheel comes set for Logitech’s One Touch Search ability. Simply put, if the user highlights a word on their screen, and then presses the One Touch Search Button, the Logitech programming will automatically start an Internet search for that word, using the search engine that has been pre-selected by the user.

The two buttons on the left side of the mouse come preset as forward and back buttons. The scroll wheel on the side, referred to as the thumb wheel, can have multiple functions. These include Zoom, Volume adjust, and Document Quick-Flip. This last function is another new Logitech feature, which allows the user to quickly flip between open documents and applications at the flip of the thumb. Logitech states that their research shows that the average computer user has six open applications on their system at a time, and changes the active window or opens a new one every 50 seconds. If that truly is the case, this thumb wheel will definitely get a workout.

This mouse includes a laser engine and 2.4 GHz cordless technology, which appears to be quickly becoming the standard on high end mice.

Installation:



Installation of this mouse is pretty straightforward. Plug the AC power adapter into the back of the recharging station. Plug the USB receiver into an open USB port on your computer. Flip the power switch on the bottom of the mouse to “on”, and place the mouse on the charging station. When the mouse is fully charged (the battery and three squares all light up), the mouse is charged and usable.



To use all of the features that this mouse includes, you will have to install the Logitech SetPoint software. This should be an easy step, as like most programs that run in Windows XP, simply place the included CD into your drive and follow the onscreen instructions. However, I experienced a number of problems here. I ran the install, following all the instructions, and the mouse did not work. I ran it again, and the mouse still did not work. After a third time, I decided to check Logitech’s website for advice. There, I found a small note saying that if you had a previous version of SetPoint installed, you may need to uninstall it. After determining that my previous installation was an earlier version, I uninstalled it, and did another fresh install. I also found a note on their site about running the Connect Utility. This will ask you to turn the mouse power on, hold the left mouse button while clicking the right button five times, and then release the left button. I did this, and my mouse still did not respond. I again tried reinstalling, and after a total of seven attempts to install, the mouse finally was recognized. It has worked flawlessly ever since. I do not yet know if this was a Logitech software issue, or if it had something to do with the prior install, or the fact that my current system is pretty loaded up. This was not a new install on an otherwise clean, brand new system. Whatever the cause, my persistence paid off, and it works now.



After the software is installed, you can open up SetPoint and adjust everything from custom button functions, to mouse speed, to the top and thumb-wheel functions. These settings can be set for regular usage or for specific programs. For example, you could set the top scroll wheel to always freewheel when using Internet Explorer, but to always ratchet when using your favorite music program. These settings are simple to change, and are all a matter of personal preference. As such, I will not go into great detail of this area, as the program is well laid out and simple to understand.



Specifications:



System Requirements

Macintosh

Features:

Testing:



Testing Setup:



Testing of the Logitech MX Revolution mouse consisted mainly of replacing my G5 with this one, and using it in my day to day computing. On any given day, I spend between two to four hours on my home computer. This includes website management, general internet usage, word processing, multimedia, and games.

I must admit, I did not follow Logitech’s installation instructions exactly, as I did not fully charge the mouse before beginning to use it. When I turned it on, there was one green square lit, so I thought I would use it until it went dead so that I could determine charge time from completely drained right away. It took two days of steady usage before the battery finally went dead on me, which is indicated by a red light on the mouse, and a small pop-up box on the bottom right corner of your screen stating that battery levels are low. You can also check the level from in SetPoint. When it died, I realized that there was a problem. With the battery being permanent in this mouse, when it goes dead, you need to have a spare mouse available, or you can’t use the computer until it is charged. Not knowing how long the mouse would take to charge, and having several things I needed to get done right away, I plugged my G5 back in and forgot about the MX Revolution. About an hour later (I really was not paying attention to the time), I looked to see how charged it was, and was shocked to see that it was fully charged already. So, I can not tell you the exact charge time, but I can say that it is less than one hour. This could be a good time to break for lunch, or to take a break from that three day gaming session. When the mouse is charged, a check of SetPoint told me that the charge was estimated to last for about 15 days. That was a week and a half ago, and it is telling me that I still have four days charge left.

As stated earlier, I used this mouse for general day to day computing which includes internet stuff, word processors, spreadsheets, and multimedia. The extra features that this mouse includes work quite well with all of these applications. The scroll wheel tends to be a little loud when ratcheting, but the freewheel ability more than makes up for it. For example, I can scroll from the top of the overclockersclub.com forums to the very bottom in less then one second. With practice, I have also figured out the timing for how to stop it after a certain distance. The forward and back buttons work great, and the Search Button feature is very handy. You can do searches of words from other programs too, such as Word. If you have no word highlighted, pressing the Search button simply opens up a new search window in your chosen browser. I used the thumb wheel for volume control, zoom, and the Document Switch, and found that the ability to quick-swap my open applications was the best use of that wheel for me.

For gaming, I played mostly FarCry. The mouse worked as I have come to expect with Logitech laser mice; that is, quite precise, with good solid button clicks and smooth motion. However, I did have an issue that I seem to have with every cordless mouse I have ever used, which is a loss of signal. While using the internet or a word processor, losing the signal to your mouse, giving you effectively a dead pointer, is a nuisance. Most gamers know, however, that losing that signal at the wrong time of a game can be the most frustrating thing ever experienced, causing one to want to throw items in a fit of rage. This was not a regular occurrence (the loss of signal or the throwing things), but it happened enough to be noticeable. I had the receiver plugged into the back of the PC, about 3-4 feet from the mouse. There was no difference when I had it plugged into the USB ports on the top side of the case, lessening that distance to 2 feet.

Another issue with gaming is that after using the G5, which includes buttons to change the dpi settings on the fly, I have become used to that feature and use it regularly while gaming, and also with some graphics programs. The MX Revolution does not have that feature. Using SetPoint, the user can adjust the mouse speed, but that can only be adjusted in that program. Once it is set, and you start your game, you are stuck with that speed.

The rechargeable battery issue is not as bad as I expected it to be, as the battery life is two weeks long, and it charges to full quite fast. If a user were planning on a scheduled gaming time, it would be easy to ensure that the battery was fully charged ahead of time. However, a friend of mine asked a good question while we were discussing cordless mice one day: why don’t the manufacturers make these mice so that you can plug the power cord straight into the mouse, so that you can charge it while still using it, and simply lose the cordless feature for a short term? As it is right now, I still have my G5 sitting on my desktop waiting for the next time I have to throw the MX Revolution onto the charger.

While the ergonomics of this mouse are quite extreme, both my wife and I found the MX Revolution to be comfortable, with the buttons well-placed. As stated earlier, the battery level indicator is visible no matter how I placed my hand on the mouse, which was not the case with the G5/G7. The mouse glides smoothly on every surface that I tried it on, and the rubberized sides provided excellent feel.

As for the range of the cordless reception, I had almost completely uninterrupted use up to around 10 feet away, with the reception slowly worsening out to about 20 feet, where it became too intermittent to be useful.

Conclusion:



I like Logitech quality. The MX Revolution mouse is well put-together, with an appearance and fit-and-finish appropriate for a mouse of this price range. The included features and technology included in this mouse work quite well. When this mouse is compared with the original two-button roller-ball mice, you get a good indication of just how far the computer industry as a whole has progressed in a short amount of time. Even basic items like mice have had major tweaks in the areas of ergonomics and ingenuity.

While I really enjoy using this mouse for my day to day computing, I do feel that it is not appropriate for all users. The MX Revolution is not marketed as a gamer mouse, and if gaming is the main reason you have a computer, you may want to look elsewhere, or have a second gamer-specific mouse available. However, if you are interested in maximizing your efficiency in multiple applications, I really don’t think you can go wrong with the Logitech MX Revolution.

Pros:

Cons: