- LogitechPrice - £32.99
While I have been a firm believer in Microsoft's own optical Intellimice up until now, a recent accident involving a sticky beverage rendered my lovely white rodent wholly unusable, and when it came to picking up a replacement, I decided it might be nice to investigate new avenues. After a little research it came to light that Logitech were launching their own brand of optical mice, and since I've long preferred the shapely curves of their rodents, I flung half a ton at them for a mouse and priority shipping and got myself setup. The first thing that strikes you about the MouseMan Wheel is that its left-hand side is quite pronounced. There's no slant to the unit as with older models, so the shape is rather peculiar from some angles. To be fair that's the only aesthetic point that I'd count against it. Aside from that it's a beautiful bit of machinery. After turning on my PC and booting up I ignored Windows' cries of "There is no PS/2 mouse connected to this PC" (et cetera) and plugged the Logitech into one of my USB slots. Immediately Windows picked up on this and the mouse installed under some erroneous USB entrant. Popping in the supplied drivers CD produced an Autorun menu that allowed me to install the Drivers, Logitech MouseWare Control Center (with other useful utilities like Adobe Acrobat also included on the CD).
Emerging from the installation triumphant (well, in a manner of speaking) I was offered to configure the mouse. This was a simple Wizard process, which discovered the mouse that I was using and allowed me to set it up for use. During later testing (of the PS/2 port for instance), reinstalling the software was not necessary as it simply detected a different rodent and dealt with it. One of the MouseMan Wheel's biggest advancements over previous models is of course the lack of a ball. A red laser on the underside of the mouse measures desktop input some 1500 or so times per second and average out the input to give you a truly sensitive and devastatingly accurate representation of your movement. The mouse's biggest gimmick is also a laser. Well, a radiant blue light which illuminates the Logitech symbol on the area of the mouse where you rest your palm. Obviously when in use it's not seen, but if you leave it on your desk family members will no doubt be impressed and it will leave crowds at LAN parties in awe. To be honest it's just a nice aesthetic touch, and it's not hindering or improving performance, merely giving the mouse a bit of visual class. Features-wise aside from the optical element, the mouse has the usual left and right buttons, a scroll wheel that can be press down itself as a third button and an extra thumb button low down (probably just below where you would grip it, for easy access). All are rebindable via the MouseWare suite. The middle button can be set to Autoscroll or something else (as can the thumb button), but another option is Logitech's own menu which includes browser options and other quick-launchables. It's quite a handy feature, but probably not for the power user.
Having moved over from an IntelliMouse Optical I was expecting nothing less, and was impressed and disappointed in equal measures. I was impressed by the MouseWare's ability to tweak things like acceleration, but disappointed by the way that in game I was unable to rebind things like the scroll wheel and the thumb button. I'm told this is sortable but I haven't been able to ascertain how at the time of writing. Another disappointment came when playing Counter-Strike with the new rodent. Pulling out the AWP for a bit of sniping on cs_militia I crouched atop a wall and prepared to pick off an influx of newbies, but much to my disappointment, when fully zoomed in the accuracy was a little off. The smooth transition between movements I'd have previously were disappointingly accurate and at times I felt my shots were missing because my jerk-kills weren't in tune properly. A bit of fiddling (setting "m_yaw" to 0.015 instead of the default 0.022 helped a little) minimized the problem, but it's still a concern, and for Quakers in particular who rely on jerk-kill rail shots it's of paramount importance to be utterly accurate. Of course, compared to any ball-based rodent the Logitech optical mouse is tantamount to holding the gun yourself. The sensitivity it unparalleled by any ball-based mouse, and only Microsoft's optical mice can hold a candle to its supremacy. My main concern with the Logitech compared to the IntelliMice is its performance on the new Ratpads. The smoother surface of the new models is fine for IntelliMice, but the Logitech slides and glides and doesn't pick up on it very well! It's fine on most surfaces, but apparently not this. Interestingly, the older Ratpads are fine, with their slightly rougher texture.
It's difficult to say whether you should buy this as opposed to the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer or Optical. Having used all three I can say that I honestly think the white Microsoft mouse was the most accurate, but the thumb buttons on those are flimsy and that the pads underneath attract grime much more than the Logitech. That's one other important myth to dispel. Just because these mice have no balls doesn't mean you don't spend time scraping grime off their pads.. because you do. That said, the Logitech has required no cleaning of any kind as of yet, which is promising. Although I prefer the sensitivity of the IntelliMice, I can't get over how much more comfortable the Logitech mouse is. As a very hardcore computer user (hey, it's my job) I have to be careful about all sorts of ailments, such as RSI, Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and other problems relating to bad posture and uncomfortable positioning, etc. With the Logitech, I feel incredibly comfortable, and my wrist doesn't ache at all after a few solid hours of clan practice, whereas with the smaller Optical IntelliMouse it feels a tad sore. If you're a hardcore gamer you'll know what I'm talking about. It's a bit cheesy to say that the Logitech could help protect your health, but to me physical experience is enough. The bottom line is that if you play first person shooters regularly you need a quality mouse, and the latest group of optical mice are at the apex of the curve. Whether you buy this or the Microsoft options is up to you, but I've never been more at ease with a rodent than I have with this one, and it looks fantastic too.