Input Devices Guide
Space Age Mice
Space Age Mice
When Logitech unveiled the latest MX and VX Revolution desktop and notebook mice, it sparked off a lot of attention mainly because of their killer design. There is simply no mistaking the unique Logitech look of these babies, but even at first glance, you can tell that the humble mouse has taken one more step into the future. Of course, the unique design isn't just there for aesthetics, but rather crafted based on ergonomic considerations. Handling of both mice have improved over their predecessors with better design, button placement and the added twist of cool new business features.
Logitech's designers have paid a lot of attention to the ergonomics of these new mice. In our usage tests, we could use them for hours on end comfortably without suffering from any strains or fatigue. What we loved about the new Revolution mice was its heightened profile designed to let your hand rest naturally on the mouse in a full grip, but not too much as to feel pressure on the palm. Being a notebook mouse, the VX is slightly smaller than the MX, but their design niceties are the same.
Like many Logitech mice of old, the left and right mouse buttons are curved towards the front where your fingers are. Such a design facilitates easier clicking compared to mice with flat buttons and is more tolerant of different hand sizes and length. Last but not least while we're still on the topic of ergonomics, the forward and backward thumb buttons have been redone again. They are now more comfortably located within the reach of your thumb. Easily accessible, but not in the way to cause accidental clicks. Overall, the ergonomics of both the mice is nothing short of 'Revolution'-ary!
What makes the MX different from the VX are the extended sculptured wing thumb rest and an extra thumb wheel that is used for switching between applications (similar to Windows Alt + Tab function) or for magnifying documents. These features will only be unlocked after you install Logitech's SetPoint software though. The VX also has similar features but instead of using a thumb wheel, the VX uses a dedicated slider button for magnification.
The coolest features of both mice are the new MicroGear Precision Scroll Wheel and SmartShift technologies. These need getting used to, but they are very handy desktop productivity features. To improve scrolling efficiency, the MicroGear scroll wheel can operate in two modes: the regular ratcheted 'click-to-click' precise scrolling-by-line that we're used to and a frictionless 'free-spin' mode that lets you long-distance scroll through 100-page documents, 1000-line spreadsheets or whole directory trees. The SmartShift technolgy built into Logitech's SetPoint software for the desktop MX mouse is designed to add intelligence to the two scrolling modes. Users can setup SmartShift to detect the active application and automatically apply the appropriate scroll mode. It can also be toggled on the fly with a quick flick of the scroll wheel. The notebook VX mouse however, does not have such a feature. Instead it comes with a manual switch to toggle the different modes. The only problem with this is that this switch is located on the bottom of the mouse, which doesn't make sense as it is counter-productive.
Another business feature of the mice is a dedicated search button located below the scroll wheel. Similar to a spell checker, you simply highlight words or phrases in a document, click the search button and automatically activate a web search through popular online repositories such as Google, Yahoo! or Yahoo! LiveWords.
We have used both mice for a period of time and have grown to love their ergonomics and the aesthetics. However, both Revolution mice are very business minded. The lack of real programmable buttons and a high-speed precision tracking engine does not a gaming mouse make. We liked the idea of the MicroGear wheel and SmartShift technology, though they do require you to install a rather bloated SetPoint software suite to work. The web search option on the mice is a very useful tool and we have already started to become dependent on it. Despite it all, Logitech's new MX and VX Revolution mice are not for everyone due to their premium pricing point. Both MX and VX mice are available now with an RRP of US$99.00 (S$179) and US$79.90 (S$129) respectively. If you have the cash to burn, these 'space age' mice are definitely worth the consideration.