Getting some game on
With limited DPI adjustments, and no profile or macro support, the MX Master and MX Anywhere 2 don't seem to have much gaming DNA at first glance. Even so, people will doubtless want to use these mice for play as well as work, so I fired up Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's weapons course and ran through its timed challenge a few dozen times to get a feel for these mice's gaming prowess. I also brought in two dedicated gaming mice—Logitech's own G502 Proteus Core and EVGA's Torq X5—for comparison purposes. As with my EVGA Torq review, I turned off any software acceleration settings that I could find, so my results are as much a reflection of the mice's hardware as I can possibly make it.
After using the MX mice back-to-back with dedicated gaming hardware, it's evident that they have some kind of internal pointer acceleration curve or compensation going on. I often found myself trying to compensate for this acceleration during my weapons course runs: when I aimed at enemies, I would overshoot the target, which required some extra work to bring the aiming reticule back into position. This overshoot happened consistently, so I'm confident it's not just my weekend-warrior aiming skills at work.
It's probably a testament to human adaptability that I was able to adjust to this nonlinearity and turn in weapons course times similar to those I produced with dedicated gaming mice, but moving back to that gaming hardware required an adjustment period for me to unlearn that same muscle memory. Logitech's own G502 and Torq X5 have no such internal acceleration—at least, not that I could notice. Those mice put the aiming reticle exactly where I expected it to appear based on my inputs.
I asked Logitech about this perceived acceleration to confirm whether my hunch was correct, and the company provided us with the following statement:
The Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse and Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Wireless Mobile Mouse aren’t optimized for gaming. These premium mice are intended for use across multiple screens, devices, operating systems. The sensors in these mice are actually specialized to track on anything for professionals who could be working from a coffee shop, airplane or even their sofa.
That's not the yes-or-no answer I was hoping for. It's not much of an answer at all, in fact, but it's rather telling that Logitech considers these mice "not optimized for gaming." We don't think that categorization shields these mice from criticism.
Marketing aside, this degree of mouse acceleration is unusual in an age where many are demanding less adulterated tracking behavior from their mice—at least in enthusiast circles. The Darkfield laser sensor in these mice may be optimized for tracking on any surface, not for gaming, but we find it strange that this all-terrain performance comes at the expense of linearity in other applications. Mouse makers would probably prefer that we keep two mice around—one for "productivity," one for gaming—but we imagine most people would simply prefer one mouse that can do it all.
As for non-gaming use with the MX Master and MX Anywhere 2, the kinds of jobs that these mice are supposedly more ideal for, I never had any issues with tracking or precision in apps like Photoshop, where I spend a great deal of time refining review photos and the like. I also didn't notice any jumpiness or lag from the wireless connection, whether with Bluetooth or the Unifying reciever.
Logitech's MX Master and MX Anywhere 2 are a pair of stylish, comfortable productivity mice with eyes on the executive suite—and they have prices to match. Are they worth it?
As a PC enthusiast and gamer, I couldn't possibly write a review of these mice without putting them through some gaming tests. Unfortunately, neither MX mouse is well-suited to the kind of pointer-precise gaming that I enjoy, due to their noticeable acceleration curves. It's true that they can track well on a variety of surfaces, but the idea of a mouse that's not "optimized for gaming" doesn't sit well with the TR staff, given the high asking prices. Many of us with day jobs are gamers, too. We're not sure it's reasonable to expect people to keep separate mice for gaming and productivity when one used to do just fine.
Other downsides for some may include the lack of middle click support on the MX Anywhere 2, the oddly-shaped and indistinct back and forward thumb buttons on the MX Master, and the lack of profile and macro support in Logitech's Options software. The gesture button on the MX Master could stand to work more reliably, and I would prefer clickier scroll wheels on both mice.
Those complaints aside, both of these mice were good performers for day-to-day work. The three onboard pairing profiles for Bluetooth and Logitech's own Unifying recievers work seamlessly on both mice, and moving between computers with different wireless protocols and operating systems always went without a hitch.
The MX Master's telepathic auto-switching scroll wheel is something I sorely miss on my G502 daily driver, and the thumb wheel is something I find myself pining for, as well. Though I didn't have time to fully test either mouse's battery life, that's a compliment: owners shouldn't have to charge either mouse's battery often. Both mice worked perfectly on a variety of surfaces, and Logitech's Options software is well-polished and easy to use, even with multiple mice linked to the same computer.
Judged separately, I think the MX Master is the more compelling mouse of this duo. Even for $100, its thumb wheel and magical main scroll wheel generally make work quicker and easier. The large, comfortable body is also a winner. If you can live with the always-on built-in acceleration, this is a fine mouse.
The MX Anywhere 2 is also a nice mouse, make no mistake, but it faces some stiff competition even from Logitech's own product line-up. Unless you really need Bluetooth Smart and Logitech Unifying support, the multiple onboard pairing profiles, or the black-and-gold styling, $80 feels like a lot to ask for a mouse that's pretty similar to many of Logitech's other compact mice. Still, nothing else in Logitech's lineup combines all of these features into one package, and if you can live with the lack of middle-click, there's probably not a nicer mobile mouse on the market than the Anywhere 2.