I spent quite a while trying to come up with an idea for the first Hardware column. About a week ago my mouse pissed me off for the last time, and off to Newegg I went, ordering this $10.45 (before shipping) optical USB mouse. Expecting UPS to be slow as usual, I wasn’t planning on getting it until nearer the weekend, so a surprise came when the brown truck pulled up the street today. And there it was: A new mouse, and my hardware topic.
I didn’t really think too much about the features when I bought it; it was the cheapest USB optical mouse (at the time) that was of a brand I recognised, so into the cart it went.
The first thing I noticed when I pulled it out of the box was the excessive packaging. Newegg, in my experience, has always been stingy with padding the items they send, having received more than a few bumped and dented products from them (then again, this was my first time shipping UPS through Newegg, since apparently a while back they cancelled their deal with FedEx).
The box was large enough to ship a small mammal in, although I guess that’s what a mouse is. After getting it open (through that tape that scissors can’t cut but a well-placed pen can) I was showered in packing peanuts. Being near-winter in a temperate zone, I was already well-charged with static, so I’m still finding peanuts that stuck in untoward places, three hours later.
After digging through the peanuts, I pulled out a roll of bubble wrap. Somewhere in there was my mouse. Being OEM, it was just sitting in a bag inside the bubble wrap. Finally getting that open, I had my mouse out.
The first thing I noticed about the mouse was its weight. This thing is hefty. I didn’t pull out my postage scale and weigh it, mainly because I don’t have a postage scale anymore, but it’s definitely well-constructed. The shape takes a little getting used to, with the buttons wider than the bottom of the unit, but it works.
Fifteen minutes later, after giving it time to warm up to room temperature, I unplugged my cheapo no-name mouse bought from Newegg nearly two years ago, waited for Windows to recognise that a device was missing, and then plugged in my new pointing device. I had to go through two simple default driver installs (apparently Windows can tell the difference between different models of mice now) and finally got down to business.
The standard functions work like you’d expect them to. The left and right mouse buttons are large, and have just the right amount of resistance. My last few mice have either been too easy or too hard to click, resulting in extra or missed clicks at crucial moments. The wheel is a little loose, so you might end up scrolling a little farther than you’d want to in some cases.
The “tilting scroll wheel” is a nice feature. Rather than having the “traditional” back/forward buttons on the sides of the mouse, these are built into the wheel. Using these buttons requires the installation of Logitech’s 42 MB SetPoint software, which is a lot to download on a throttled connection (although I’m pretty sure the machines it came with had this preinstalled, and the boxed version probably came with a driver disc). Setting it up was easy; it asked for a reboot but it worked fine without one.
The software lets you assign different functions to each mouse button, and has a special “detect games” setting which lets you override assignments (or let the OS handle them) when you’re playing games. I haven’t tested this out yet, because I don’t have anything to test it with.
The buttons themselves do their function (I’ve assigned them to back/forward, which makes browsing much faster), but they’re once again too easy to click. The worst part of it is when attempting to middle-click or middle-drag (like when scrolling), because any slight tilt of the finger causes the browser to change pages.
Tracking-wise, it’s doing good, but once again I haven’t had a chance to test it out for games.
In conclusion, it’s a sturdy mouse with good features, but the tilt-wheel makes it too easy to accidentally do something you don’t want to. However, given the price, it’s a good general-purpose mouse. I give it a 4 out of 5.