If you have a mouse on your desk (and I would bet good money you have one on at least one surface in your home), there’s a good chance it’s made by Logitech. Logitech is one of the largest brands for computer peripherals, especially mice and keyboards. They have mice that range from $15, to $150+. I used to be a believer in the philosophy that “Any mouse will do, they all do the same thing, right?” Well, I was proved wrong with the MX Master. The Master is the next mouse in Logitech’s MX lineup which features mice that have their “Darkfield” technology allowing it to be used on a myriad of surfaces, including glass. How? All I can think of is dark magic, but that’s a discussion for another day. Anyway, the MX Master is their latest and greatest, and is the successor for the Performance MX mouse that so many people loved. Why the upgrade? Is it worth it? Do you really, really need to spend $100 on a mouse? Let’s take a look at some of the things that set the Master apart from the rest of the crowd.
When the Master arrived, I thought the Bluetooth / 2.4GHz receiver combo would be my favorite feature, or maybe the awesome ergonomics. It wasn’t. Maybe the gesture pad or side scrolling wheel would become my favorite part? Nope, it didn’t, and I’ll tell you why. Those are all awesome features, they really are, but they’re just there and are available if it’s something you need. Something I find myself doing all the time is scrolling, as most of us do. Scrolling up or down a social media page like Google+ or through a Twitter app can be cumbersome, especially if there is no obvious “scroll to top” button. Even if there is a button for that, there isn’t a “scroll to bottom” button if you’ve got to get to the bottom quick. Well, the adaptive scroll wheel became my best friend just for that. Long has Logitech had the quick scrolling scroll wheel, where it will go from the normal “click” scrolling we’re all used to, to a completely smooth scrolling experience, allowing you to scroll much faster. That was great, normally available at the click of a button. But sometimes you forget to click that button. Sometimes you just want the scrolling to happen. That’s where adaptive scrolling comes into play. Through the software designed to customize the mouse features, you can set a threshold for the scroll wheel where, after you spin the wheel quickly enough, it automatically kicks into the smooth scrolling function, and exits just as simply as it entered. I am constantly using this feature and, at this point, I can’t imagine using another mouse as my daily mouse that doesn’t have this feature. But what about all the other features? Would I have bought the MX Master if this was the only feature? No. Adaptive scrolling is awesome, and it’s my favorite feature, but all the features together make the MX Master the true master of mice.
Adaptive scrolling isn’t all the MX Master has to offer, as stated above. It is the first in the MX line from Logitech to have three means of connection: USB (because of the built-in battery, it’s the only way to charge it, but it also gives you a means of connecting it to a computer), 2.4GHz Wireless Dongle, and Bluetooth connectivity. You can easily switch between all three modes of connectivity, as well, and I do it all the time. I have the 2.4GHz dongle plugged into my multi-USB hub at home, which is plugged into my MacBook when it’s docked. When I leave, the #1 slot for Bluetooth pairing is my MacBook, so I can leave the dongle at home and still use the mouse when out. but another thing I carry all the time with me is my Acer C720 Chromebook, which happens to have Bluetooth, as well. The beautiful thing about the MX Master is it has multiple Bluetooth profile slots, and changing them is almost instantaneous. I can go from using the mouse on my MacBook to using it on the Chromebook in seconds, with just the click of a button.
The next feature I use all the time is the gesture pad. It has 5 gestures, from holding the button and moving the mouse up, down, left, or right, or just clicking the gesture button, period. I have different things set up in OS X for this button and use it very frequently. Just a press gives me the screenshot tool, as I take screenshots of different applications daily. Swiping up while holding is disabled right now, but I’ve used it for various things in the past. Swiping down opens Mission Control on my MacBook, while swiping side to side changes the desktop or full screen application that I am currently in.
Just above the gesture pad, there are three awesome things. You’ll find the back and forward buttons, which are indispensable to the power user when browsing the web, and you’ll also find the side scrolling wheel. Now, I’ve never seen a side scrolling wheel before the Master, but I don’t use it as often as I thought I would. I am not editing much video right now, and I assume when I start editing more video I will use it more, but, for now, the side scrolling wheel sits unused most of the time. The back and forward buttons, though, are used daily; multiple times a day, and that’s not hard to believe. I’ve always loved mice that had these buttons and, sadly, they’re becoming harder to find lately.
The last of the buttons that are on the Master are found on top, in between the right and left mouse buttons. They are the middle click, and then a button right behind the scroll wheel. As with every other button on the Master, these are completely configurable and can be programmed to do just about anything you could imagine. My middle click button functions as normal, opening links in new windows and such. The button behind that opens App Expose mode on my MacBook, allowing me to view multiple windows of the same application open, which is especially useful with Chrome or Word.
But the question remains: should you spend $100 on a mouse? If you spend hours upon hours in front of your computer, and productivity and shortcuts are a must for you, yes. I was very hesitant at first, and I thank Logitech for working with us to help offset the cost of the mouse for this review. But, now that I have it, there is no mouse that can hold a candle to the MX Master. I used to think that the Apple Magic Trackpad was the king of mice, and it’s still one of the best around, I think. But there is something about the accuracy and features packed into the Master that nothing else can touch. But, there is another side to this. If all you do is point and click, and don’t need many shortcuts, you probably don’t need the Master. It’s great if you’re always looking for a quicker way to do things, but if you really just point, click, or scroll, stick with the $30 Logitech M705, the ~$55 Logitech Performance MX (predecessor to the MX Master), or something similar.