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.
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.