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Logitech MX Master Review – Cut the Cord

“Behind Every Great Man, There is a Great Mouse”

Logitech’s new top tier mouse, the aptly named MX Master, is now available. As is now the trend, Logitech says it is their best mouse ever. Does it live up to the hype? Or is it ridiculous to suggest a productivity peripheral can be hyped at all?

Design & Ergonomics

The MX Master features a right-handed design. It looks cool, comfortable and modern. However, it definitely took a while to get used to. In the beginning, I found the mouse foreign and at times even uncomfortable. I wondered, should I have gotten the Anywhere MX 2 (M905 successor) instead, and stuck with a conventional symmetrical ambidextrous design? After a couple of weeks though, the design really started to grow on me, and there is no going back!

Fun fact, apparently, there is no left-handed version of the MX Master, as last time Logitech sold a left-handed version, it was a colossal flop.

It isn’t all roses though. The back/forward buttons are located a little far back for my liking. In the beginning, I barely used them. Over time though, I got used to it and it has become a feature I couldn’t live without.

The vertical scroll wheel does not tilt left or right like the Anywhere MX 2. This is because sideways scrolling is controlled from the dedicated horizontal scrolling wheel. This is yet again another feature I didn’t really use at all in the beginning. However, in multi-window and multi-display workflows where screen real estate is limited, it really comes in handy! Even if you don’t use it though, it doesn’t get in the way of operation.

Battery Life

Logitech like many have moved away from AA batteries, opting instead for a sealed-in battery. Logitech assures us the battery should last for years, enough time for Logitech to create an MX Master successor! The mouse charges through an included Micro-USB cable to a port on the front of the mouse. This is a truly great design, as you can use the same cable as your Android phone most likely, and you can keep using the mouse while it’s charging. Simply plug it into the computer and use it as a wired mouse. The mouse doesn’t take long to charge either, especially when plugged into the wall. Apple, take notes!

Compared to the original Performance MX, the MX Master has 10 days extra to the Performance MX’s 30-day battery life. These numbers seem more or less realistic based on my experiences.

Features

Logitech’s Options software really opens up new avenues to explore and is a must download if you get this mouse. The mouse has 6 custom buttons as shown below.

 Gesure Pad Customisation within Logitech Options Software - Click to expand Gesture Pad Customisation within Logitech Options Software

The Gesture button is customisable as shown on the right. On Mac OS X, you can swipe left and right between windows, or swipe up whilst holding the button to invoke mission control, or down for app expose. Windows 10 can also take advantage of similar features regarding window/desktop management.

The software operates independently from Mac OS X’s cursor settings, which is great as I have my mouse and touch-pad scrolling set to opposite directions. In previous generations of Logitech’s top tier mice, you had to press the scroll wheel down to invoke “HyperFast Scrolling.” This was a mechanical switch that allowed users to switch between scrolling modes.
With the latest generation of Logitech’s mice, by default, you click a button on top of the mouse, inline with the scroll wheel. This electronic solution dubbed “SmartShift” means Logitech has been able to program user-selectable speeds at which the scroll wheel automatically engages Hyper Fast Scrolling. This user-selectable speed is denoted as SmartShift sensitivity in Logitech’s Options software.
If you spin the wheel slowly, it works as normal, the same ratchet clicking scroll wheel we are all used to. If you spin faster, the ratchet clicking disengages and is replaced with frictionless, super smooth and super fast scrolling that continues until the user stops the wheel from scrolling further, or manually invokes ratchet scrolling again with the aforementioned reprogrammable button. It is a novel feature, one that I have disabled… Instead, I manually press a button to invoke Hyper Fast Scrolling. Nevertheless, a great feature that you don’t realise how much you need it until you are forced to live without it. Logitech also has “Smooth Scrolling,” which honestly just increases the frame rate of scrolling and makes the scroll wheel response feel different. This took a while to get used to, but I do prefer it. However, many on the internet switch this off.
Users can also create custom settings for specific applications. This was similar to previous versions of Logitech’s mouse software: “SetPoint”, that allowed users to enter a mouse gaming mode for certain applications.

 Logitech Unifying Receiver Logitech Unifying Receiver

I remember getting my first Unifying receiver a few years ago. It was tiny. And years later, it’s even slightly smaller. The mouse now supports dual connectivity via Bluetooth or the 2.4Ghz Unifying receiver. So if your device supports Bluetooth, you won’t be needing it… However, I still found myself using the receiver as Bluetooth seemed a bit less consistent and a bit choppy during use. Additionally, the mouse supports device switching. By pressing a button on the bottom of the mouse, the user can switch the mouse between three different wireless connections between laptops, phones, tablets and desktop computers. This really comes into its own when you are using one mouse between 3 devices.

 Left to Right: On/Off, Bluetooth connect botton, Darkfield Laser Sensor, Device Signal Switch Button

Left to Right: On/Off, Bluetooth connect button, Darkfield Laser Sensor, Device Signal Switch Button

The mouse also features Logitech’s Darkfield Laser sensor, allowing the mouse to work on glass with a minimum thickness of 4mm. This adds to the versatility of the mouse especially for travel (despite its large size).

As the mouse is wide and flat on the bottom, it is vital you use the mouse on a flat surface for consistent (or usable) results. The mouse’s relatively heavy weight makes me recommend a mousepad. You’ll have a far smoother experience with one than without one.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this is all you will ever likely want in a mouse. As a general productivity tool, the mouse really accelerates my workflow and is well worth the ~$100 price tag. It is ludicrous to think Apple’s positively awful magic mouse costs more than the MX Master.

The mouse definitely takes time to get used to, with all the new features and right-handed design. So if you buy it, try to get accustomed to the features and give it a few days before you think about exchanging it for a more conventional Anywhere MX 2. I would definitely recommend the MX Master.

 Left to Right: Battery indicator (three circular lights), horizontal scroll wheel, forward and back buttons,

Left to Right: Battery indicator (three circular lights), horizontal scroll wheel, forward and back buttons, “gesture pad”

Update: I now exclusively use the Unifying Receiver, rather than the Bluetooth connection due to lag and connection issues. At times, it will simply not recognise that the gesture button is a button at all.

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