Logitech Powerplay blurs the line between wired and wireless

Did you see that Concept Zeus mouse that Corsair showed us at Computex? It's a pretty clever idea: combine the latency and power benefits of a wired mouse with the untethered freedom of a wireless mouse. Logitech apparently thinks it's a smart idea too, because the blue-G team just announced Powerplay, its own take on the concept.

Powerplay is actually the name of the mouse pad itself, which pulls double duty as a wireless charging base. Powerplay does one-up Corsair's Concept Zeus—rather than having a specific spot for wireless charging, the whole mousepad can juice up the corresponding mouse. The company says that Powerplay has been in development for four years and required the creation of a whole new wireless charging technology. 

A Powercore charging module will come with the pad. This piece magnetically attaches to compatible mice where a regular weight door would be. Simply stick the Powercore module on a suitable mouse, plug in the Powerplay pad, and the combo will keep your mouse's battery topped up while you game. Logitech says that the mouse will keep charging even during fast flicking movements. The Powerplay pad also has one of Logitech's Lightspeed wireless receivers built into it, so you don't need an additional USB port for a dongle.

Logitech doesn't say which (if any) of its existing mice are compatible with Powerplay, but there are updated versions of two rodents on the way. The G900 becomes the G903, and the G403 Wireless is morphing into the G703. Both of these updated mice will have Powerplay compatibility as well as more durable micro-switches. The G703 will be available later this month for $100, while the G903 will run you up $150. The Powerplay pad itself won't be available until August, and it'll go for $100 when it hits.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    Maybe I’m an outlier, but I have no issues with a corded mouse when using a desktop.

    To me, wireless mice are for laptop bags and sofas, and this is not a product that fits that demographic [i<]at all[/i<].... Also, perhaps I'm weird, but I want my mouse to be as light as possible. Wireless mice require batteries, so their extra weight is something I tolerate but prefer to avoid unless there's a genuine need for a wireless mouse.

      • ChicagoDave
      • 2 years ago

      Same, I use a lightweight and super ergonomic wired mouse for my desktop, and a Bluetooth wireless for my tablet/laptop.

      I’ve never really had a need for a wireless mouse on the desktop, although I suppose if there was an argument to get one (no cables getting in the way?) this would be the best way to sell it. Honestly I think it’s a great idea for those that use wireless mice on desktops. They’d be wise to make a whole bunch of different sized mouse pads, or lease the technology to a partner to mfg for them. Not sure what the dimensions are, but I can certainly say what works for one person won’t for another.

      • MrJP
      • 2 years ago

      I do find mouse cables mildly annoying, and this has been increased with the trend towards fancy braided cables that are stiffer and more readily catch on the edge of the mouse pad.

      However I still don’t think this wireless idea is the right solution. Other than removing the need to swap batteries, I don’t think this is better in any way than the old Logitech G7 I had some years ago that had two batteries. That way you always had one on charge (desktop charging unit that doubled as an extender for the wireless receiver) and one in the mouse, so never ended up with a dead mouse and could use any mouse pad you liked. I’d probably still be using that today if the microswitches hadn’t died.

    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    Tell me why this is any different than wireless charging for your phone?

    I think it’s a great idea. Certainly in the category of “how come it took this long for someone to think of this?”

    My only hesitation is that I’m a mouse lifter. I wonder how far off the pad the mouse will retain the charging connection. It would certainly be better for the charging module in the mouse to be toward the heel since that portion of the mouse generally doesn’t get lifted off the pad.

      • BoilerGamer
      • 2 years ago

      >Tell me why this is any different than wireless charging for your phone?

      Concept is fine, but the cost makes no sense.

      Wireless charging pad for phones are somewhere around $20-$50, for a $500+ device

      This is a $100 charging pad for a $100-$150 device

      The relative cost of the upgrade is way too high, as a G900 owner I just plug my mouse into an always-on usb port on my monitor overnight to charge and disconnect it in the morning, there is no way such “hassle” is worth paying an extra $100 to get rid off(and maybe more if G900 is not compatiable and I have to sell it and buy a G903).

      • Duct Tape Dude
      • 2 years ago

      It doesn’t adhere to any previous charging standard like Qi. Logitech made up their own thing.

      Wireless charging works decently for a quarter inch of gap or so. The connection is relatively quick to reestablish. So in theory, maybe they could just make a mouse with some supercapacitors installed and forego the lithium ion batteries altogether.

    • just brew it!
    • 2 years ago

    That logo looks an awful lot like the Gigabyte logo.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 2 years ago

    looking at the remarks you’d think this wasn’t pretty impressive. I don’t know that I’m running out to pay that premium, but its a cool bit of tech. I look forward to paying $50 for it in the future if it works well.

    • just brew it!
    • 2 years ago

    Seems like a solution in search of a problem to me? Battery life on recent cordless mice is pretty phenomenal; furthermore, since this thing doubles as the charging pad, if if you don’t like the feel of their mouse pad you’re SOL.

      • tanker27
      • 2 years ago

      However, You have to remember to change said batteries before your WOW Raid, Overwatch game, or SC II game or else it could be detrimental. Same thing goes for rechargeable, you have to remember to plug it into the base.

        • just brew it!
        • 2 years ago

        But now you probably have to worry about killing your expensive mouse if you spill a drink on the mouse pad…

      • slowriot
      • 2 years ago

      Seems real silly to me to buy a wireless mouse and then be effectively confined to a single mouse pad (that now has its own cable).

      The way I see it… wireless mice problems are solved via long battery times and cables that terminate in a traditional location. i.e. you can charge and play at the same time when its necessary.

      No need for these silly charging pads.

        • DPete27
        • 2 years ago

        Long batter time requires either:
        1) larger battery = more weight = more difficult to move
        2) slower polling rates

        Obviously gaming mice are locked in their own pointless spec race. If your mouse can register at 40Gs and 1000fps then it’s the best! Unfortunately that requires a lot of juice.

          • slowriot
          • 2 years ago

          My points are that…

          a) This Powerplay design eliminates some of the benefits of being wireless because your charging mechanism is extremely confined and non-mobile.

          b) You’re still suffering nearly all the drawbacks of wireless in the first place. Increased weight due to the battery, potentially worse polling rates/response times, etc.

          c) And you’re now limited to this specific mouse pad.

          It doesn’t solve any problems IMO. Other designs do a better job of allowing continued use even with a dead battery (i.e. by allowing you to plug in the mouse via a port that doesn’t interfere with use) without the additional costs or compromises.

            • DPete27
            • 2 years ago

            a) it’s a MOUSE PAD. aka, the thing your mouse sits on while you’re using it. I’m not sure what “confined and non-mobile” have anything to do with it. I suppose you could argue that it’s not easy to lug around with a gaming laptop. But the mouse still has a battery that can last for 8(?) hours . I’d be surprised if the wireless charge-able mice don’t have a removable usb cable also. Seems like an easy add that enables you to sell the mouse without the need for the pad if consumers so choose. Otherwise Logitech would have no choice but to sell the mouse and pad as a bundle. Clearly that’s no their intention.

            b) I think the new wave of wireless mice have significantly improved their polling rates to the equivalent of wired mice. Response time/lag has improved significantly also to the point I doubt many but the most professional players could tell the difference. If your mouse is constantly being charged, you [i<]could[/i<] get away with a smaller battery.

            • slowriot
            • 2 years ago

            This specific approach is swapping the mouse’s weight holder out for the “powercore” module. So at least the mouse itself isn’t inherently harmed by this approach and address my mobile charging concern.

            But then again that approach also means you’re just piling on more weight to an already heavy mouse with the additional of the powercore and that they’re not fundamentally taking advantage of the Powerplay setup in their mice design.

            Flat out its just a lot of money with extremely limited benefit that I can see, with some very real drawbacks.

            Also seems like a great way for a person to feel like they’ve locked themselves into Logitech mice.

          • dyrdak
          • 2 years ago

          “1) larger battery = more weight = more difficult to move” – somehow I can’t see an issue. It’s not like a mouse weight was around lb and gamers’ hand acceleration was reaching g ( to speak of any perceptible inertia). Personally I prefer heavy mouse over weightless junk. Bigger is better – America, f*#k yeah;)
          Also, I can’t think of latency issues with wireless mouse or keyboard unless it’s BlueTooth (now, these suck).
          Regarding the charging pad. I’m no fan of pad’s surface elevated over the plane of desk and limiting freedom of movement. Extra expense, failure points – well, I’m fine with my Performance MX attached via USB cable (as long as the cable is flexible enough).

      • Jeff Kampman
      • 2 years ago

      Wireless gaming mice with hot-rod sensors and RGB LEDs suck down battery life like nothing else. I could see this being a useful feature for the pair of mice Logitech has decided to implement it in for now.

        • just brew it!
        • 2 years ago

        Good point.

    • EndlessWaves
    • 2 years ago

    This is definitely one of those technologies where you point and laugh at the early adopters but could become quite good when everything is mature.

    Imagine a mouse that combines the weight and lack of battery costs of a wired mouse with the lack of cable of a wireless mouse. The requirement for a mouse pad is a limitation but once they standardise so that every mouse works with every pad it shouldn’t be too bad.

      • PTRMAN
      • 2 years ago

      I’m hoping that this will follow most other new(ish) technologies, and the prices will fall as it becomes more common across most/all producers. $200-$250 for a new mouse and pad, regardless of how wonderful it may be, is well outside my comfort zone, and I suspect the same for a majority of the pc gaming community.

      • spiritwalker2222
      • 2 years ago

      Standardize, never. I want to see another Beta vs VHS war…

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