Logitech G502 Lightspeed wireless mouse reviewed

The G502 is one of Logitech’s best loved mice and, according to the company, the most popular gaming mouse on the market since its release in 2014. While mice like the G900 and G403 have gotten the cord snip and received the Logitech Powerplay treatment, one might wonder where’s the G502 been. It turns out that taking a well-liked mouse that lots of people have strong opinions about and making it wireless isn’t as simple as removing the cord and jamming a receiver into a USB port.

We’ve been waiting a while, but Logitech has finally answered the call and brought us a wireless take on the G502 that’s worth crowing about. Let’s dig in and look at what’s inside the mouse, talk a little bit about how Logitech put this thing together, and then discuss whether it’s worth the $149.99 asking price.

If you cracked open the G502 Lightspeed and looked inside, you’d find a collection of all of Logitech’s recent innovations in one place. The mouse features Logitech’s Lightspeed tech, Hero 16K sensor, Lightsync LED syncing, and support for Powerplay wireless charging mats. Lightspeed is Logitech’s wireless transmission technology, which it says gives the G502 and other Lightspeed mice lower latency than other wireless rodents on the market. It’s also why each Lightspeed device requires a dedicated receiver.

The Hero (High Efficiency Rated Optical) 16K sensor is the follow-up to the PWM3366 sensor seen in the first two iterations of the G502. The Hero 16K is reportedly more power efficient than its predecessor and can track at up to 16,000 DPI at 400 inches per second without introducing any motion smoothing.

On the outside of the mouse, you’ll find a suite of familiar features. On its top, the mouse has 11 programmable buttons, plus an additional switch for toggling the scroll-wheel’s motion type—smooth, or precise with detents. Underneath the chassis sit a power switch and weight tuning options. The primary buttons are built with spring tensioning. Logitech says this makes for longer lasting buttons that require less travel and less recovery after clicking—an update that brings the G502’s buttons in line with Logitech’s more recent gaming mice.

The weight tuning bit is interesting; the mouse comes with two 4 g weights and four 2 g weights. However, the two 4 g weights are stored inside the place where the Powerplay puck goes, so if you use one, you can’t use the other. The weights aren’t in the mouse by default. Instead, they’re in one of Logitech’s standard clamshell cases with the “G” logo emblazoned on the front. The case also houses the USB dongle and the microUSB-to-Type-A adapter that the company’s wireless mice typically come with.

 

A tale of internal remodeling

Normally, the development process behind a mouse isn’t something we go into. But given the G502’s status as a very popular gaming mouse and the length of time it took to get a wireless version, it’s interesting to see what went into its creation.

While speaking with Coonrad about the G502 Lightspeed, he told me that to get the mouse that would equal the expectations of the G502 and incorporate wireless communications, the team had to start with the outer shell and discard just about everything else. The only physical element that didn’t undergo some change, he told me, is one of the PTFE mouse feet. The Logitech team switched to an endoskeleton design and a multi-board PCB design. The scroll wheel was shaved down a little to make it lighter, too.

If you’ve owned a Logitech wireless mouse, you may be familiar with the reinforced claw-like USB plugs some of the company’s peripherals use. In order to retain the size and shape of the original G502, the team threw out the idea of using those, and went with a standard microUSB connector instead. As usual, any microUSB cable will work, though Logitech provides one in the box. The mouse can charge via its USB connector, or using a Logitech Powerplay mat.

What about the mouse itself? It’s pretty much what I expected from an upgraded G502—it feels engineered to the nines, something that’s visible and tangible in every respect. Aside from the lopped-off USB cord, this thing looks just like a wired G502 from above—you’d have to turn it over to see any differences. There, you’ll see a very similar magnetically-bonded panel that you can easily peel off to tweak the mouse’s weight (which starts at 114 g). You’ll also see a circular spot for the Powerplay puck, should you own or intend to acquire the wireless charging solution. Even if you don’t, the pick is still useful. Press it in, and there’s a spot for the USB dongle to hide when in transit. And, as mentioned before, the default puck houses the two 4 g weights as well.

Setup and functionality

Getting the mouse set up once it’s plugged in is simple. Logitech’s G Hub software is a big leap over the previous application the company offered, and customizing the mouse button functionality and sensitivity are simpler than ever.

Actually using the mouse feels identical to using the G502 Hero—it even bears out the same in graphs in Mouse Tester. There doesn’t seem to be any smoothing turned on, as Logitech said. The G502 Lightspeed performs as expected in shooters and Photoshop alike. While that might seem like a curt assessment, it simply means it’s comfortable, tracks flawlessly, and all the buttons are where you’d expect them to. Here are the graphs for a quick comparison.

The real difference in actual usage is the assembly of technology on display here. Logitech says that without the Powerplay pad underneath the G502 Lightspeed, you can look forward to about 48 hours of non-stop gaming with the default lighting, and 60 hours with it off. That fit my experience pretty well. That’s 1-2 weeks between charges depending on how you use the mouse. With the Powerplay mat, you can expect the G502 Lightspeed to always be topped up, no matter what.

 

Conclusion

Bringing out a successor to the well-loved G502 Hero mouse is a tall order to begin with, and endowing it with both wireless functionality and fancy wireless charging is a gutsy move on top of that. Did Logitech succeed, or did it try to do too much at once? 

The G502 Lightspeed feels like Logitech firing on all cylinders. The company took a beloved classic and completely re-engineered its innards to improve it in every way, from the wireless communication to the feel of the mouse clicks. The stuff that isn’t obviously new works as I’d expect, and as it should. The stuff that is obvious fades in the background quickly as the mouse becomes an extension of my hand. I don’t notice all the tech Logitech talks about because the mouse works like I’d expect and keeps up with everything I throw at it.

The real issue, then, is whether the mouse is worth the $149.99 asking price. That’s a harder question to answer. For some context, the recently-released Corsair Ironclaw RGB Wireless is currently going for $80. It’s easy to point out the G502 Lightspeed’s advantages over the Ironclaw: Powerplay wireless charging support, a weight tuning system, and a dual-mode scroll wheel are all big-ticket items. Whether they’re worth nearly twice the price, though, is harder to tell.

There’s another chink in the G502 Lightspeed’s armor. To take advantage of Powerplay and use the mouse to its full potential, you need to order the wireless mat separately. The pad is a $94 purchase on its own, bringing the total to around to around $244. Premium products command premium prices, sure, but that’s a serious chunk of change, and more than a few might balk at the amount even considering the goods on display.

While we recognize the Logitech G502 Lightspeed’s technical acumen and flawless functionality, Logitech might be asking a little too much from prospective buyers. A lower price would easily make it a no-brainer Editor’s Choice. Nevertheless, we have no qualms marking it as a Tech Report Recommended bit of kit.

Comments closed
    • cygnus1
    • 2 months ago

    [quote=”Eric”<] The real issue, then, is whether the mouse is worth the $149.99 asking price. That's a harder question to answer. For some context, the recently-released Corsair Ironclaw RGB Wireless is currently going for $80. [/quote<] And honestly, you have to ask yourself is wireless worth nearly 3 times the wired version, or 4 times if you get the charging pad. You can get the wired G502 HERO on Amazon right now for under $60...

    • CuriouslySane
    • 2 months ago

    I saw this on newegg and wondered why a mouse that looked exactly like the mouse I was using was selling for $150. Oh, wireless. It’s good to learn that there’s more going on under the hood, but wired has never bothered me, and this is 3x what I like to pay for a mouse.

    • MpG
    • 2 months ago

    *Sigh* Exactly what I’m looking for, aside from the price. $199.99 in canuckbucks on their website and Newegg.

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 2 months ago

    Do they still put in the shoddy microswitches?

      • Chrispy_
      • 2 months ago

      They’re Omron 50-million (D2F), for what it’s worth.

      The 20-million variant isn’t “shoddy”, it’s just different – has different bounce characteristics on the gate and a lighter actuation force.

      If Logitech wants a feather-light response, that’s a lifespan compromise. The cost of the microswitch is not a factor that affects the cost to build of the mouse, it’s simply a different metal used in the leaf spring, all the production costs are very similar.

      The Omrons in my G303 are heavier than I’d like. I’d guess it was people complaining that the mice only lasted a couple of years of furious clicking that are to blame for the increased stiffness in my mouse buttons.

      Thing is, you can buy a new mouse when feather-light buttons wear out but you can’t buy new hands when carpal tunnel sets in.

        • PrincipalSkinner
        • 2 months ago

        A lot of their mice suffer from double click problem. And this has been a known issue for a very long time. 10 years at least. Year or two, and it starts to crap out. It’s very annoying and they don’t care.

          • alphadogg
          • 2 months ago

          Just had a mouse fail from that problem yet again.

            • dashbarron
            • 2 months ago

            New mouse two weeks ago because of this!

            The G500 is the best mouse I’ve ever used. Feels comfortable, but the weights let me customize the exact feeling, and the rapid scroll is something I really really miss on my current mouse.

            I just couldn’t break down and buy another one that I due would fail due to the double-click. I tried to take it apart and clean/fix it, but wouldn’t work.

            Ended up with the Corsair recently reviewed here. Been unhappy with it.

    • WhiteDesertSun
    • 2 months ago

    Releasing a device in 2019 without USB-C

      • morphine
      • 2 months ago

      USB-C: So cold right now.

      • Krogoth
      • 2 months ago

      Completely pointless for keyboards and mice. It also makes no marketing sense since USB-C capable platforms only make-up a tiny portion of the userbase right now. You can just use a USB-C to USB3 adapter/hub if you really need to use an USB-C port.

        • Blytz
        • 2 months ago

        Power delivery over type C for keyboards is good though, would allow them to act as powered hubs for most devices (or if you had an ancient G19 – power it from the port not need a separate power adaptor) though it’s largely useless on a mouse (unless there’s a different sampling rate option on type C I don’t know of)

        Granted it’s not prolific like type A but I’ve had type C connectored (is that a word) phones for 4 years now and the only reason I don’t have all type C flash drives is they’re all crappy and slow compared to the Sandisk CZ80/CZ88 range.

        • DragonDaddyBear
        • 2 months ago

        I don’t want to carry adapters any more. If everything keeps using Type A then we’ll never move on. Just include a Type C to Type A in the box. It’s not that expensive. If you’re on a desktop you probably won’t care because you’ll never see it. But on a laptop it’s just one more adapter.

          • Krogoth
          • 2 months ago

          Type-C connectors are still new and make-up a tiny minority of the laptop scene. Just give it least five years or so for type-C native keyboard/mice to come out when platforms that support it are just becoming commonplace.

      • cygnus1
      • 2 months ago

      I actually agree. At this point I’d rather them make the native port/plug USB-C and include adapters for the older port(s). Ideally an input peripheral is going to last for several years. Over the next few years I want to be rid of adapters and have everything just be USB C so these manufacturers need to switch sooner than later.

      • DragonDaddyBear
      • 2 months ago

      I’m going to echo cygnus1 on this. When releasing new technology I prefer the newer standards be followed and an adapter for older stuff be included.

        • Krogoth
        • 2 months ago

        That’s not how peripheral market works though. It has always been ultra-conservative on picking up new interface standards. There needs to be large enough user base that is equipped with the new interface to justify spending R&D to make/adapt peripherals for it.

        A killer app greatly accelerates this process though. Unfortunately, USB Type C lacks a mainstream killer app that makes previous interfaces woefully inadequate.

    • Krogoth
    • 2 months ago

    To be perfectly honest, sensors on optical mice had reached an apex over a decade ago. These days the the entire more DPI = better! race is just marketing non-sense. There isn’t that much of a difference between low-end and high-end mice in polling time even on cordless/wireless models.

    It is all about ergonomics and functionality. RGB non-sense is pure eye candy.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 2 months ago

      Logitech’s dark field sensor technology is pretty slick. Mousing on a glass-topped table was not something that you could do before 2009.

      • Luminair
      • 2 months ago

      nope, sensors were buggy and bad right up until the 3360 series, and now that all the good mice use the same sensor, they’re all fine. you would know this if you actually read mouse sensor reviews over the years

        • Krogoth
        • 2 months ago

        Buggy and bad? Unless you are trying to use optical mice on some exotic/unusual surface. It has been a non-issue for the overwhelming majority of users out there for years. For raw accuracy and precision on standard surfaces, the sensor stopped being a bottleneck for years. It has been since then been bottleneck by dexterity of the user. The gimmick behind adjustable DPI/sensitivity switch/button exists for that reason.

          • Voldenuit
          • 2 months ago

          It wasn’t until the Pixart 3310 and 3360 (and now 3391) that mouse manufacturers figured out that users prefer linearity and 1:1 mapping rather than wonky smoothing and acceleration algorithms.

          The 3320 still isn’t very good, and laser is still meh.

          • synthtel2
          • 2 months ago

          I wouldn’t phrase it as buggy and bad, but every sensor pre-3360 had some clear weakness or other that a non-trivial portion of the mouse-wielding userbase would run into, even on an ideal surface. The 3310 was close, but still not quite as solid as it might have been at high (2400+?) CPI.

          Say you’re running 2.5 cm/360 (not that uncommon) on a 4K screen with a 90 degree field of view. Are you really going to be happy with 1600 CPI and how every count from the mouse causes ~9 pixels of movement in-game? If you’re used to 2.5 cm/360 you’re using techniques which give you better base accuracy than that, and even if you’re not, the error is (dexterity + quantization), not (max(dexterity, quantization)).

          • GrimDanfango
          • 2 months ago

          I’m inclined to agree. I’ve tried some fancy Logitech mice in recent years – most recently the rather pricey MX Master, and that was an oddly glitchy mess.

          …I’ve since gone back to my £12 Anker wireless vertical mouse, and wondered why I ever left. It’s flawless on a basic Steelseries pad, and also easily the best-feeling vertical mouse I’ve used. (I’ve wasted 8x that much on Evoluent vertical mice before, and the Anker somehow feels much more solidly constructed and has easily been more reliable)

          I’ve come to surmise that price and quality are pretty widely dissociated in the world of mice these days. You can easily pay a fortune for something that won’t work any better than a bare-bones £10 model.

          • GokieKS
          • 2 months ago

          You should watch this video before claiming that all sensors perform the same. It’s not even close to being true.

          [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPfZdZaTGG4[/url<]

            • Krogoth
            • 2 months ago

            In the real world, they do perform nearly the same outside of special cases. I have personally use countless mice on various surfaces and tiers.

            The shape of the mouse, layout the buttons and surface it glides across make a much greater impact on the user experience then the sensor. The sensor hasn’t been an issue for the overwhelming majority of users out there. Micro-controllers have caught-up and input lag is nearly a non-issue.

            Users are just spoiled rotten on how good optical mouse have become since their infancy even budget models.

    • roncat
    • 2 months ago

    If the graph is position vs time, it does look like the wireless mouse has 30-40 ms of input lag versus the wired one.

      • RAGEPRO
      • 2 months ago

      It’s not a standardized test; they’re two separate-but-similar results. You can’t compare them in that way.

    • Questar
    • 2 months ago

    What are the graphs measuring? What’s a good vs bad result?

      • RAGEPRO
      • 2 months ago

      Not the author of this piece, but I’ve done a bunch of mouse reviews for TR; you’ve probably read one.

      Mousetester is a simple data capture and graphing tool. The methodology for testing varies from tester to tester; there’s no standardized test built into the tool or anything. It’s not like 3DMark where you can simply run it and compare the result against your buddy’s test.

      Those particular graphs are charting the number of counts (mouse reports) on the X axis over the time. Note that they are not charting the exact same movement. Two separate tests with similar motion.

      The takeaway from the charts is basically that the G502 Lightspeed (the mouse being tested) and the G502 HERO (the previous-generation wired mouse) perform functionally the same.

        • Questar
        • 2 months ago

        Thank you!

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