Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Very Good Mouse. Just Not Perfect.

My last mouse was Microsoft's Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000. It was very ergonomic, but it had a number of shortfalls that finally added up and it was time to replace it. So, when I decided that I needed a new mouse, what I did not like about my old mouse sure weighted a lot in making my final choice.

My old (wireless) mouse could loose its connection (and was then slow in responding or turned unresponsive until reset) if the receiver was not in direct visual contact with it. Moreover, there are a lot of negative reviews about rechargeable mice (such as the G700), so my next mouse could only be a wired one.
This Logitech G500 comes with an ample length of sturdy yet flexible USB cord - and the fact that it is also braided is a nice touch. Plug it in and forget about it for as long as you keep using it. No batteries to replace or recharge, no receiver to keep changing position. Technology is supposed to make our lives simpler, right?

I was used to the much taller MS mouse so the G500 feels too flat. That may be a matter of preference and something one has to get used to. However, with my old MS mouse the angle my wrist was resting at felt much more natural and my wrist was much less strained after some hours of computer use. Apparently Logitech addressed this in its latest G700.
Another issue I am having with the G500 is the BACK side-button which I keep hitting whenever I move the mouse to the right. I did find a partial solution to this by varying the weights and selecting the lighter ones for the left side (although the same can be achieved by completely removing the weight tray).
Having said that, the wheel-release and the DPI-level buttons are perfectly placed. Also, the two settings for the scroll-wheel are a very nice feature.

I like the way the red DPI-level lights and the scrolling wheel look as well as the texture of the braided cord.
On the other hand, the actual back surface looks nothing like the metallic looking one in the product description picture! It is plastic and its looks exactly that. I would also preferred it to be solid black instead of the two-tone sprinkled gray (again, something remedied in the G700).

This is something I came to realize over the years: companies now seem to actually engineer weak points into their products, to ensure their replacement some time down the road. With my old MS mouse it was the silicone-based surfaces that would become impossible to clean after 12-16 months. The G500 has solid plastic surfaces that may not be the most pleasant thing to touch but they are easy to clean.
Some fellow reviewers complain about the durability of the scroll-wheel, so this may be it. After about a couple of months of use I had no problems whatsoever - but I promise to update this point of my review if similar problems occur.

The G500 is equipped with a "gaming-grade laser" (I do not know what that is, however, my MS mouse used to cause the cursor to drift for no reason whereas my G500 is solid like a rock) and it has a DPI range from 200 to 5700. The DPI setting can be adjusted on the fly. This is important because the mouse is programmable and can be customized into numerous Profiles (via its software) but it can only store one profile at a time. No matter, adjusting the DPI is what makes all the difference in the world.

This is where the G500 redeems most of its shortcomings: the accompanying software works like a charm.
Anyone who ever used a MS mouse can tell you this: the IntelliPoint software that comes with it is a pain to use and a hassle to avoid conflicts with. Using the Logitech SetPoint instead was a breeze of fresh air!
Within a pleasant yet not fancy visual interface, simple and clear adjustments can be made to customize the mouse to your needs.

Overall, although not perfect, this may be the best mouse available to gamers today. Its in-house competition, the G700, does come with better ergonomics and a more pleasant color but wireless technology and rechargeable batteries do not seem just ready yet.

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