A eulogy for my last good Logitech mouse


— 10:28 PM on May 12, 2011

Why, oh, why does this happen to me? Why must my privileged, middle-class lifestyle be marred by microswitch failures? Once, just once, I wish I could hang on to a mouse for a few years without the left button inevitably faltering—without it interpreting single clicks as double-clicks and turning simple drag-and-drop operations into dangerous gambles.

Alas, my wish has yet to come true. Until it does, I am condemned to return or throw away mouse after mouse and get accustomed to new pointing device after new pointing device, since even the most popular high-end mice tend to get discontinued after a few years.

I suppose part of the problem is the whole "sitting at the computer pointing and clicking 14 hours a day" thing, which seems to make short work of even the most expensive and seemingly durable mice. My last champion survived these daily tournaments for an entire year before the dreaded black knight of unintended double-clicking took it out of commission. My treasured Logitech MX1100, with its comfortable shape and impressive battery life, spent its last days much like king Henry II of France, the equivalent of a jousting spear to the eye slowly dragging it into an early grave.

Logitech's tech support department proved helpful enough, bestowing upon me a spanking-new, retail-boxed Performance Mouse MX. Of course, I did have to wait about two weeks for UPS trucks to carry my MX1100's corpse to Arizona and then bring me the replacement from Tennessee. What could have Logitech done, though? Taken down my credit card details and shipped me the new mouse before receiving the old one? No, no, that's crazy talk.

I've been trying to get used to the Performance Mouse MX for the past couple of days now, and my prevailing feeling is one of longing for the deceased MX1100. I would have loved to get another MX1100 as a replacement, but after a quick stock check, the man at the call center said it would not be so. The MX1100 has been discontinued for good. Admittedly, the Performance Mouse MX is every bit as much of a premium product as the MX1100 was—it's even better in a number of ways, like the included charging tether.

Yet one little kink makes me wish there was a way to bring back my cherished MX1100.

You see, it seems as though Logitech mice have been progressively turning the middle-click button into a vestigial feature, the atrophied remnant of a formerly useful appendage. With my MX1100, middle-clicking required hitting the wheel at just the right angle. Clicking with my middle finger in the normal position pushed the wheel over to the left, triggering an audible click and the side-scrolling mode. Fair enough, I thought, and simply re-assigned the middle mouse button to the left-scroll switch. Problem solved. I had followed much the same procedure with my old MX1000, which suffered a similar demise long ago. The MX700, which I used before that, had no such need for re-assignment surgery.

With the Performance Mouse MX, the middle click is even more temperamental—sometimes, depressing it will produce an audible click without causing anything to happen on the screen. I tried the ol' button reassignment trick, but this particular mouse offers no tactile or audible feedback when you push the wheel to the left or right. So, my choice is between a middle-click feature that either works half the time (the default) or one that requires an uncertain amount of pressure to trigger. This choice between bad and worse is infuriating. The more I use the Performance Mouse MX, the more the muscles attached to my middle finger tingle in frustration.

I guess my question to Logitech is: what happened to middle-clicking? Do you guys not use modern web browsers or play games? Do you open tabs by right-clicking choosing "open link in new tab" like a bunch of pre-schoolers? The Performance Mouse MX has been out for nearly two years, and I'm clearly not the first user to complain about an erratic wheel click. This is a $100 mouse we're talking about here. What happened?

Having been loyal to Logitech for so long, I'm now contemplating venturing forth into the great unknown and buying a mouse made by some other company. I'm not even sure what I'd get, though. I know I've become addicted to the free-wheeling toggle button on my last two Logitech mice, and I know I don't want to do without some kind of dynamic DPI switching functionality (not for games, mind you, but for Photoshop work). A comfortable shape and wireless connectivity are absolute musts, too.

So, I turn to you, our dear readers. What mouse will free me from this downward spiral of frustration and grief? Or is there no hope?

   
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