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Review: Logitech Performance MX

I have a long list of companies I won't buy from, due to horrible customer service experiences or shoddy merchandise. On the other hand, my "Must buy from this company" list is awfully short.

Logitech is one company I'm generally OK buying from. (For now...) I go through computer mouses1 pretty fast, so I end up buying a new one every 4-5 years. Logitech hasn't failed me thus far.

In my opinion, the most important parts of your computer are the ones you interact with: Keyboard, mouse, monitor. I'd rather have a slow computer with a good mouse and keyboard than a fast computer with cheap peripherals. I already have a wonderful keyboard, and I like to have a nice mouse to match.

My latest mouse is the Logitech Performance MX.

Logitech Performance MX

How much can you really improve upon the concept of a mouse? It's a round thing you slide around and click. Well, if you believe the marketing on the box, it seems there are at least three areas for improvement:

  1. Add more buttons.
  2. Make it work on more surfaces.
  3. Gimmicks.

None of the above features matter much to me. What I care about:

  1. Is it comfortable to use all day?
  2. Is it going to last me 4 or 5 years?

Let's hit each of these points.

More buttons

The Performance MX has a lot of buttons. If you believe xev, there are somewhere between 10 and 13 (counting the scroll wheel etc.).

I don't need all of these. I like to have a thumb button for middle-clicking, but this mouse has four of them. What am I going to use all of the extras for? Maybe I'll have one open Emacs.

The browser forward and back thumb buttons work out-of-the-box in Linux, which surprised me. I'm used to having to dork around with xmodmap or xbindkeys. Linux has come a long way.

Then there's a thumb button that's supposed to open Expose on OS X or your app-switcher of choice in your OS. It's in a place that's impossible to press consistently with your thumb, unless you're a contortionist. And it does nothing in Linux by default. Similarly there's a vanishingly small "zoom" button near your thumb. I can't even find this button without looking at the mouse, because it's too small.

There's also horizontal scroll, if you can manage to tilt the wheel to either side. My fingers lack the dexterity to do this easily, and the button is awfully stiff, so I'll never use this.

But hey, better too many buttons than too few.

Surfaces

The marketers wrote "This mouse works on glass!" all over the box, so this must be a selling point of the mouse. But my Logitech G500 also worked on glass, once I upgraded the firmware (via Logitech's own website), so I'm not sure why this feature is being pushed so hard.

Gimmicks

On the Performance MX, you can click this little switch and disengage part of the mechanism that makes the scroll wheel "click". This lets you spin the wheel hard and it'll spin freely forever until you stop it manually, or until its inertia runs out.

Do I really need, and I quote, hyper-fast scrolling? The scroll speed of my mouse wheel has never struck me as a productivity bottleneck. Now that I've played with it, sure, it's mildly interesting. If you scroll at just the right speed, you can go all the way from the top of a Reddit thread to the bottom, while still skimming the text. But I don't need this feature.

But the levels to which marketroids will stoop to hype up a product never ceases to amaze me. The name itself is ridiculous. Performance MX. Who comes up with this?

Comfort

My previous mouse was a G500, and it was really quite big. A bit too big. (And there were these removable weights you could use to adjust the weight of the mouse (the "gimmick" feature of that mouse), which were worthless.)

The MX is bigger, but it has more curves and that helps my hand sit on it better. There's a very large thumb rest, which I like. If you have small hands, you might have problems with this mouse. I like the feel so far.

Will it last?

This mouse feels very solid. It has a nice heft to it. It has metal bits (or sturdy metal-like plastic) in places other mouses have cheap plastic and rubber.

The wheel on my G500 wore down very fast. I was some kind of rubbery plastic, which became rounded off, nicked and worn-down a lot over the years. The wheel on the MX feels like some kind of metal, with nice ridges on the top to provide friction. I'm a bit concerned that the wheel disengagement switch might wear down over time though. The more moving parts, the more opportunity for something to break.

The pads on the bottom are huge: a good 1 inch x 1/8 inch. I love this. Using this on my Icemat mouse pad is very comfy. It slides effortlessly, but leaves me with plenty of control.

Battery

I normally prefer corded mouses. This one is rechargeable. Most rechargeable mouses I've used had some kind of stupid dock you had to jam the mouse into. Not only does it take up desk space, it also wears holes into your mouse over time from being inserted and removed from the dock. The battery connectors also wear down fast, and then it doesn't charge right unless you fiddle with it.

The MX can be charged while you use it, via a USB cable, which is a really good idea. It comes with a short cable, and a long extender cable if you need it. The cable looks like it has a non-standard connector though, which is a bad idea. Why not use mini-USB?

The charger cable is awfully heavy though. I wouldn't want to use this thing while it's plugged in for more than a short time.

I don't know what the battery life is like, because it hasn't run out yet, after a couple days. That's good enough for me.

Price

$120. That's a lot. But taken over 4-5 years, it's not that bad.

And the surgery I'd have to have done on my hands after crippling them via a cheap mouse over the next 40 years would be way more than $120.

Should you buy this?

Sure. I like this mouse so far. It works, and it feels like it'll last a while. Props to Logitech for making good products.

  1. Yes, mouses.

July 26, 2010 @ 6:51 AM PDT
Cateogory: Hardware

6 Comments

Dave
Quoth Dave on July 26, 2010 @ 10:30 AM PDT

If you scroll at just the right speed, you can go all the way from the top of a Reddit thread to the bottom

Haha, I have a Logitech VX Revolution, which has a similar 'free scroll' feature. I never thought to try reading a page while scrolling it really slowly though.

$120.

Huh? Where'd you buy it from? It's $62 on Newegg.

Brian
Quoth Brian on July 26, 2010 @ 10:39 AM PDT

Change .com to .ca and watch the price double. It's a magic trick, brought to you by Canada. I do miss living in the US sometimes, e.g. whenever I buy anything.

gregf
Quoth gregf on July 26, 2010 @ 3:07 PM PDT

Yeah, I have had great luck with Logitech over the years myself. I had a mx500 that lasted nearly 6 years, and I was far from nice to that mouse, dropped off desks, kicked around a floor at one point, even launched it across the room a few times. I debated on whether to get this mouse due to the price, but like you said if you lasts a good number of years its worth it. I normally would avoid mice with docking stations as well, USB cable is the only thing that got me to buy it. Been rock solid for me so far, think I have had it 4 or 5 months now. To early to tell about the long haul, but I am still happy with it. You mentioned some of the buttons are hard to hit with consistency. I had this problem for about a week myself then my hand finally trained itself to hit the button correctly.

Christof
Quoth Christof on July 26, 2010 @ 5:10 PM PDT

I love Logitech mice. I have a G9x at work and a G9 at home. Before that I used the G5.

They are all loaded with gimmicks, but what I really like about them is the feel and that they are corded. I also like the adjustable weights and free rolling scroll wheel.

As a keyboard I use the Microsoft Natural Keyboard 4000, which is also corded and the only Microsoft product I use. But I think if it is about they health of my hands I can make an exception.

InsanityBringer
Quoth InsanityBringer on July 31, 2010 @ 9:16 AM PDT

I want a logitech again. I'm stuck with a crappy microsoft mouse, which has no feedback on the scrollwheel, so simpily resting your hand on it can result in you accidently scrolling. Not a bad problem with text, but during the middle of playing an FPS I really don't want to pull out a different weapon because I accidently nudged the wheel a little bit.

Also, that keyboard is awesome. I've had one for 2-3 years and it has lasted me fine.

K
Quoth K on August 21, 2010 @ 7:18 PM PDT

I have only used Logitech mice ever since they were available. They are definately not the best ( i keep pining for better mice) but they are as good as it gets for now.

My last two are the MX and this one mentioned above.

Likes: for my small hands BUT with long fingers it fits better than the MX. I like the weight also. Dislikes: In comparison to the older MX it's missing 1 (ONE) button. In this respect the "performance MX" was actually downgraded. To clarify; the thumb buttons on the old MX has five possible clicks (the thumb wheel has three and the FWD/BCK buttons) and the top buttons have not changed. The new MX has the same top buttons but it's missing the fifth button. Scroling to the right using the wheel is a lot harder because of the raised top left arch of the mouse. To the lft goes easy. Now this is very annoying to me.

My conclusion: if you don't use a glass table, save a lot of money and get the older MX (truly the nicest I have used to date but still far from perfect...) or try the newer G700 mouse (it has 13 buttons, some macro capable).

Durability: Performance MX, can't really say yet. Looks and feels sturdy but as said in the review: the very nice wheel is also it's biggest weakpoint. In my older MX the wheel got dirty easily. That makes it not scroll fast anymore. And as the mouse get's older, the sensor seems to loose precision (little cursor jumps and such) All in all, not a bad mouse but DON'T!!! buy it for the MSRP!!!