EX-STIR-MEH-NAY-TED…EX-STIR-…oh, wait, wrong series.
The takeover is nearly complete
One new video feature, coming right up, because we think all of you who are semi-quarantined at home need a little light reading, followed by a little light viewing. If you dislike long introductions, it turns out that skipping ahead IS allowed from this menu. Just scroll that mouse down to our YouTube link. But as you do, take a quick look at that mouse: What brand is it?
Yup, probably the same one we’ve got. Nothing quite defines the subtle yet total success of a company like waking up one morning and realizing that you live with a dozen of its products, and you’ve heard rumors of a legendary thirteenth. From our chair right now, working from home on a Monday amidst the social disruption of a novel disease gone viral, we count: one USB corded mouse; two wireless mice; two mini speaker systems; and one wireless combo keyboard. There are at least two more corded mice and four more wireless mice in and around the desk storage areas. These variously bear three of the five logos the company has used since its 1981 inception in a western corner of
We could only gather ten or fewer together for a photo in compliance with current public health orders, so here’s a partial assemblage:
’tis but a sample!
Meanwhile, over in town, our now-darkened office desk hosts another Logitech speaker system and wireless mouse, both sitting idle and wondering why they get a Monday vacation in the middle of March. And we’ve got still more devices tucked away elsewhere.
They’re here, they live among us, and they’re not leaving anytime soon, so perhaps the best course of action is to make peace.
The established characters
On the corded side, we have a long-standing preference for the original MX518, launched in 2005 and arguably the true spiritual successor to the original, 1999-version Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer. (Pretty sure the Intellimouse collection is still sitting in a drawer somewhere, too.) We like the MX518 so much that a few years ago, considering how worn our first one had become, we bought a lightly used example from eBay and still have it in cold standby in case primary helm control goes down.
Meanwhile, the world has moved on to radio frequencies, and after trying a couple different types and brands of wireless mice, our first “go-to” device for daily navigation became the M310. It’s a no-frills, low-cost design featuring Logitech’s Nano receiver. Logitech was one of the first peripheral makers to realize that giant USB dongles are a liability, and miniaturized their standard receiver to something that can be either left in a USB port full time or stored inside the battery compartment. The M310 also features a “good-enough” fit in our navigation hand while still being portable for laptop duty.
All that said, the scroll wheel was the real deal maker. In our experience, a detent-type, well-damped wheel makes all the difference when running high-precision work such as drafting or graphics design. We have yet to find a smooth-scroll wheel that offers the kind of helm control we need when piloting AutoCAD across the known universe of linetypes. The M310, however, is missing the increasingly useful forward/back buttons on the side, so a couple years ago we went looking for an upgrade and found the M510. That one quickly replaced most of the M310s in our collection.
All images: Logitech M310 (left), M510 (right).
The M510 is nearly the same, having similar wheel-feel and the same 3-button layout with the center button under the wheel. But it lives in a slightly larger shell that fits into the firing hand a bit better and reduces fatigue, and it adds the useful side navigation buttons. The original Logitech Logitech Nano receiver is upgraded to the Unifying receiver that can be synched to multiple Logitech peripherals. It also uses two AA (UM3) batteries as its power source. Power draw must be very low for both mice, because using ordinary alkaline-type cells, either model lasts for weeks or months under regular use.
Here’s a neat trick, though: because the M510’s batteries install in parallel, it only requires one to operate. At dry curb weight, the mice are pretty similar: 74g for the M310 and 84g for its slightly bigger sibling. Add a roughly 22g alkaline-type battery, and that’s 96g versus 106g. But if you want a heavier feel, install the second battery in the M510 and now it’s up to 128g, which in our experience removes the feeling that it might jump off the desk when your back is turned. On a related note, you should have seen the look on my wife’s face when I told her I was using her kitchen scales to weigh a couple mice.
The plot thickens
One reason why we continue to use a small arsenal of Logitech products is that they don’t necessarily kill off one good thing in order to release the next one. So long as both are useful, they can peacefully coexist. This is a refreshing approach in the PC peripherals market space, where the difficulties of product differentiation lead to increasingly wild and exotic new designs that steamroll whatever was being sold two years ago. Want an M310? An M510? Still available everywhere. Want the original MX518? Uh, well, that story didn’t go quite as well, but after public outcry, they had the good sense to bring it back last year under their newer “G”-series product branding. (Interestingly, something similar happened with the Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer).
Parked somewhere between the day-to-day M-series mice and the pricey G-series targeted at gamers, lives a comfortable middle class known as the MX-series. These have spanned a wide range of uses over the eyars. Our MX518, for example, was targeted at gamers back in 2005. But the latest wireless products appear aimed more at higher-end daily users, and take their styling cues to sit comfortably beside business-class laptops. Some time ago, for reasons we can no longer remember, we picked up an MX Anywhere 2S. It was nice enough, and the ability to switch the weighted scroll wheel between a detent function and smooth-scroll mode was a neat trick, but didn’t replace the M510 at our daily captain’s briefings. So it went into storage with an older Dell E7240 ultrabook that gets pulled out a few times a year whenever we have need to travel sub-orbital in a 600 mph aluminum straw, since the two devices are right-sized for use on economy-class seat trays.
The MX Master 2S (left) and the MX Anywhere 2S (right).
Then, by happenstance, we recently got our hands on a lightly used MX Master 2S. Being the MX Anywhere’s bigger brother, it has the same mission but learned a few new tricks while traveling across the galaxy. Although replaced last year by the slightly improved but functionally identical MX Master 3, it’s still a mostly-current design and the really interesting stuff is under the hood. Naturally, we got out a camera and a few screwdrivers and took a look.
Continued in to our straight-to-YouTube feature
Much of what’s going on with these mice is easier to show than to tell. You won’t believe what we found when we popped the hood.(*) Join us for a quick exploration of the mice, a review of the most recent updates in Logitech’s management software, and a gander at the underpinnings…in our latest episode of Workshop Quick Takes!
(*) Disclaimer: Your belief levels may vary. Mouse in question may not have a literal hood. External use only.