||Logitech MX1000 Review
January 10, 2005 Pungkas Pongky Nataatmaja
Summary: We take a close look at the Logitech MX1000 laser mouse. Is this the end of the optical mice era? Does the MX1000 perform as good as it looks? Why not meander in to find out? Are you tired of all the questions?
| Laser, not Optical||Page:: ( 1 / 6 )|
"Optical is obsolete" is boldly written on the box of the MX1000 mouse. Is it true?
Leave it up to Logitech to break the optical mouse mold, and bust out the new laser technology. Enter their newest offering: the MX1000 Laser Cordless Mouse. Shedding the old optical technology, Logitech cooperated with Agilent Technologies to develop the invisible laser light, capable of better tracking over almost any surface you would like to do your mousing on. After seeing all other companies releasing endless waves of optical mice, it was the idea of a fresh new mousing technology that drew us to the MX1000. Although, good design and cordless functionality didn't hurt our decision to pick it up either.
We will go over its features, technology, gaming performance, tests on different surfaces and bundled software. After all, haven't we had enough of those red glow of today's optical mice? Optical mice are so late 90's.
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No more red LED glow of optical sensors? Is this the end of optical mice as we know them? Not exactly, but the new 'Laser Engine Technology" co-developed by Agilent is the new boss in town. The marketing says that laser technology can track 20 times more powerful than optical technology. Logitech states that laser illumination and tracking 'responds to the slightest hand movement with extraordinary accuracy. And it does so on virtually any surface, white or black, solid or pattern, shiny or matte.' Is this true? Would anyone really use their mouse on a granite countertop with no mousepad, or even on a shelf? We tried to use the MX1000 on a lot of different surfaces, and you can find out how it performed on the following page.
How does the MX1000's laser technology work differently from LED-based optical mice? Well, Agilent's optical sensor takes around 6,000 snapshots of the surface, making even the slightest (or even the fastest) motion properly trackable. The invisible, but coherent laser light creates patterns of high contrast, even on glossy surfaces. On the other hand, incoherent LED light will see the glossy surface as totally uniform and will not function. But all this technical talk doesn't matter if the mouse doesn't perform well, right?
For those interested in reading more about the actual laser technology itself, you can view the tech brief as a PDF file on Logitech.com.
Packaging and bundle
The MX1000 comes in an attractive packaging, complete with hologram foil that reflects color when brought to the light. The mouse itself doesn't budge from its cardboard and plastic-shell casing, making its transit to customers a safe one. Extricating the product from the box is an easy task, as once the flap is opened from the side, the whole plastic shell smoothly slides to exit. Bundled in the package are the standard fare when it comes to high-end mice. For those who are not used to having a cordless re-chargeable mouse, the use of this mouse requires two cords to be attached to the charger / receiver. One is the USB/PS2 cord and the other cord is attached to the AC adapter. Another brilliant piece of engineering that Logitech did is to make the AC adapter housing aligned horizontally with the power socket, thus, freeing up any sockets that would be otherwise blocked by vertical (and more bulky) adapters. It's the little things.
» MX1000 Unit
» Desktop charger / RF receiver
» USB > PS2 adapter (green)
» AC Adapter and cord
» Manual and drivers on CD-ROM
| Plugging in||Page:: ( 2 / 6 )|
The MX1000 comes with a USB / PS2 converter plug. This can be used so that the mouse has basic functionality if you want to plug it into any computer quickly. If you want all the functionality of the new buttons and features, such as battery level indicator, you need to plug it into a USB port. What's worse, is that our PC (and the SetPoint software) didn't even register the mouse until we moved it from the PS2 port into a USB port. The USB cord attached the receiver is adequately lenghty, making it easy to setup the receiver on the desktop (or another, more sensical location) if you have your rig on the floor.
We tried to use the mouse in the PS2 port with no driver install, and it worked fine. Obviously the special button functions and side-to-side scrollers didn't work, but that is because we haven't loaded the drivers from the included CD's. One point of the install process was very unnerving to us. It was when the option screen came up, letting us choose which programs to install. One of the options were Windows Media Player 9, and its checkbox could not be unchecked. Being happy with WMP 8, this reviewer absolutely refused to install WMP 9. Also, to make matters worse, the following screen after having to be forced to click 'Next >' to continue installation, the software tells me that Real Player would also be installed. Well, this reviewer was smart (and desperate) to not have these two things be installed along with the necessary drivers for the mouse, so after the SetPoint software had completed its install, we pressed the EJECT button on the CD-ROM drive when the installer software was saying it was still installing WMP 9. Yes, it was excessive, but it was a dirty solution to a dirty problem. So, in the end, we had SetPoint installed cleanly and our trusty WMP 8 still worked, and best of all, no RealPlayer was installed either.
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Logitech's new SetPoint software is a far cry from its previous peripherals config software called MouseWare. It is a program that is launched at startup and sits in the system tray. It even comes with some handy tours and driver versions information found prominently in its main view below. The good part about SetPoint is that it can handle multiple Logitech devices. If you had a Logitech mouse, keyboard, steering wheel, game pad and possibly even a web-cam, each device will have its own tab, accessible at the top of the dialogue window.
Going into the 'My Mouse' tab, we can see the exact product we are configuring. Highlighting the specific buttons in Step #2 also activates the graphic image highlights on the mouse image itself, making it clear which button we are defining the actions for. As for Step #3, we like the Keystroke Assignment option, for when we have an action that is often used in Photoshop, we can assign it to a certain button. For example, Ctrl-shift-N can be assigned for when we need to create new layers in a Photoshop document.
Furthermore, we have the obligatory cursor settings and scrolling sensitivity options. Though we don't see the option to calibrate or to adjust double-click detection speed. Also, there is a battery level display that shows quite accurately how much juice are in the MX1000's cell. These are shown on different screens, accessible by the left-hand-side vertical tabs.
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All those buttons!
The MX1000 comes with a whopping 8 buttons. They are:
LEFT & RIGHT mouse buttons
Side-to-side rocker LEFT
Side-to-side rocker RIGHT
With the SetPoint software, each of the buttons can be re-assigned to serve a different need, and the process is quite simple. By default, the Application-switch button (placed on the left side, above the thumb rest) allows you to easily switch between open applications. When pressed, a dialogue popup is shown, with a vertical list and icon of all the items you have open. This feature takes away the need to Alt-Tab to cycle through your applications.
Side-to-side scrolling wheel
We never knew how useful this feature of the scrolling wheel would be, until we got our hands on the MX1000, and enabled all the features on it via the SetPoing software and included drivers. The sideways scrolling is quite handy in a lot of situations, and now we're using it more and more. This is valuable because we don't have to hunt for the horizontal scrollbars, saving time and increasing productivity. These are some examples of how it is the most help:
» When fully zoomed in on a photoshop document, and you can re-adjust
» When looking at an overly large spreadsheet - you can slide the view left and right
» When viewing an HTML source in Firefox and it doesn't wrap, sliding left to right is smooth
I wonder when game developers can integrate this side-to-side action into their games. It can be used to scroll through inventory, peek around corners in FPS's and maybe glance in either direction, as if looking for oncoming traffic (and bad guys). We already have games in which the scroll bar has been integrated to zoom and also select weapons, and us gamers are thankful for that, but it will be grand if this new feature will be used in-game as well.
| Usage||Page:: ( 3 / 6 )|
On a digital scale, the MX1000 weighs the most out of all the other cordless mice in this reviewer's household, only slightly edging out its Logitech cousin, the Mouseman+ by 0.1 oz. Even there is no discernible difference in actual weight, while using the MX1000, it feels 'mentally' heavier, either because of its traction with the mousepad or the visual 'weight' that it has. We found the significant weight increase above the Microsoft mouse, however, to be quite noticeable when surfing or gaming; and it is different in a good way. More weight means more feedback from the mouse and also more stability, whereas lighter mice feels like they would just fly off the mousepad if nudged even slightly.
5.9 oz. Logitech MX1000
5.8 oz. Logitech Mouseman+ with 2xAA Cells
5.2 oz. Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 2.0 with 2xAA Cells
Comfort and ergonomics
As you can see from its images, the MX1000 was designed and manufactured as a mouse used by right-handed people. Look elsewhere if you are left-handed. If you are one of the lucky majority who write with your right hand (and pick your nose with your left), then the MX1000 will fit your hand like a glove. This reviewer has a medium-sized adult hand, and rests his palm on the top and front base of the mouse, away from the top mouse. Those users with longer hands and fingers will be able to use the UP auto-scroll button. Having a smaller hand, though, makes it a chore to try to reach that top auto-scroll button - requiring the lifting of the entire hand, and delicately press the button while having the middle finger carefully arch over the scroller.
The main thumb indention is crafted to cradle the thumb as it has never been cradled before (at least by a mouse!). The rubberized groove is very deep, our thumb definitely feels at home there. Again, if you're left-handed, forget about having the pinky lodge itself in this area, it is like trying to get Shaq to wear a size 7 ladies' shoe. On the right-hand-side is more black rubber and a little indention, to enable holding and lifting of the mouse via the pinky or finger number 4. The curvature of the mouse's physical housing is more arched that what we're used to, but after having used it for a few weeks, we can safely say that comfort was one of the Logitech's top priorities on this mouse's drawing board.
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The rechargeable battery within the MX1000 is a Lithium-Ion cell that never needs replacing. Initial charge is about two to three hours until full. When recharging, the three LED's blink in sequence, in such a way you can tell when it's 1/3, 2/3 or fully charged. We've tested the battery life by using the mouse constantly for days, until the mouse (and its software) tells us the battery life is nearly depleted. It usually takes eight to nine days for the battery to fully discharge, with about six or seven hours on average, usage per day. The three battery indicator LEDs also will quite accurately tell us when charging is needed. Needless to say, office workers, or even gamers, will not have to worry about the battery dying if they dock the mouse daily.
Also, we noticed that the LEDs will shut off after nine seconds of inactivity, saving more battery power. Though, we're not sure if after the nine seconds, the mouse stops sampling altogether.
The MX1000 has got range. Let's put it that way. We placed the receiver and computer in the middle of a room, and took the mouse to distances further and further away, testing its connectivity. Connection was still good when placing the mouse behind a nearby wall. Then we took it to another room, initally moving the mouse near the door, then further and further away. It was incredible to see the mouse still respond on-screen when the mouse was placed on a far wall in another room! So, when under normal usage, such as controlling the computer from the bed while watching a movie. As long as you can properly see what you are doing, range will not be an issue. Ever.
Jack of all Surfaces
As we previously mentioned, the new laser technology is supposed to track well on almost any surface, whether it be dark or light, glossy or matte. Well, we tried to put it to the test. We tested on carpet, a smooth leather ottoman surface, a pair of pants (while worn), a sofa cushion, a cutting board, a glossy ceramic plate and a clear plastic sheet used as a toy box cover. While the textures of the surfaces can impede the smooth motion of the mouse, we can say that the MX1000 responds well in almost all situations, although, we don't see how one can be productive just mousing on their lap with the limited real estate. With the clear plastic sheet, the mouse still responds admirably well, though it would be rather frustrating to do any serious work in Photoshop with it. The cursor would lag and become erratic on the clear surface.
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| Gaming and Working||Page:: ( 4 / 6 )|
We do a lot of work here at FS, in Photoshop, and of course, web surfing. The MX1000 is flawless. Although, we can't really say there is any noticeable difference when compared to optical mice, this mouse is very accurate. When dealing with photoshop, even being one pixel off can mean the difference between a correct and a wrong image. We don't think this should be elaborated any more. Basically, if you want the mouse cursor to be at point X,Y - the MX1000 will get you there as if you were the prime minister of England, and the mouse were a Maybach.
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And all Play
A mouse review on a gaming site wouldn't be complete without inserting our findings when playing an FPS game. Up for the job, is our very-well-played copy of Call of Duty; multiplayer, of course. This reviewer focuses most of his online gaming hours playing CoD deathmatch. With the MX1000 was his weapon, it didn't disappoint. For readers who have stayed away from cordless mice because of their 'lag' to respond to your mouse movements, especially in FPS games, let us put that issue to rest: there is no lag (or was it, that there is no spoon?). Playing at least 10 hours of multiplayer CoD with the handle 'Fritz Burger' always yielded a first or second position on the kill list, at least on the maps that this reviewer likes and is familiar with.
What we did notice, however, that when setting up the mouse sensitivity settings, we had to up the slider to a setting two times more sensistive than an optical mouse, with which we used to play CoD before we received the MX1000. After setting the higher-sensitivity slider to its new position, CoD became smooth, and boy, did the allied tangoes go down.
Taking things down in terms of mouse-twitching-action, we tried playing Rise of Nations with the mouse. Needless to say, taking control of our armies and cities was a breeze with the MX1000.
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| Ballistics Report||Page:: ( 5 / 6 )|
• Great ergonomic feel, weight and performance all around
• Accurate when working and gaming, plus no 'wireless' lag
• Sensor tracks well on almost any surface, including glossy and dark surfaces
• Incredible wireless range
• 8 customizable buttons; thumb buttons placed high enough so that it doesn't get pressed accidentally
• Side-to-side Scroller buttons increase efficiency when used correctly
• On/Off switch to conserve power when traveling and keeping the mouse from accidentally waking up
• MX1000 works without having the AC adapter plugged in, reducing the 'wire mess' when not charging
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• Slightly larger than what is comfortable for medium-sized-adult hands, making Auto-scroll UP button hard to reach
• Annoying install issue where Real Player and Windows Media Player 9 options are forcibly 'checked' to be installed
• Higher price than other similarly-equipped optical mice
• Not made for travelers with laptops (bulky dock and external power AC adapter)
• Lefties should stay away
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| Final Verdict||Page:: ( 6 / 6 )|
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