Logitech’s Performance Mouse MX is the desktop cousin to the company’s mobile Anywhere Mouse MX, and it’s every bit as fabulous. Both mice feature Logitech’s exquisite Darkfield Laser Tracking, which enables them to function accurately on just about any surface, including glass, and both devices use Logitech’s new Unifying wireless technology, which enables a single tiny USB-powered wireless receiver to control multiple peripherals. For this review, we ran the Performance Mouse MX alongside Logitech’s new Wireless Keyboard K350 to see how it would perform – read on to find out the results.
How It Works
Logitech’s Darkfield laser technology, which the company tells us has been in development since 2005, is derived from the principles of dark field microscopy. Dark field microscopes were invented to enable scientists to examine specimens that don’t produce enough contrast when illuminated, such as microorganisms that live in water. To solve the problem, these instruments illuminate the object with light that will not be collected by the microscope’s objective lens. This results in an image of a bright object on an almost black background.
Light emitted by a conventional laser mouse strikes whatever surface the mouse is resting on and scatters. The mouse’s lens collects this scattered light and directs it to an image sensor, which creates a stream of images of the surface. An onboard processor then analyzes the stream to determine the mouse’s direction and speed. Conventional laser mice have trouble operating on glossy and transparent surfaces because these surfaces don’t reflect enough light for the image sensor to function.
A mouse using Logitech’s Darkfield technology operates much like a conventional laser mouse when used on an opaque surface. When used on a transparent surface, such as glass, the mouse deploys a second laser that illuminates the surface at an angle. In this scenario, the only light that reaches its lens is that which is reflected from dust particles and surface scratches. The image sensor sees these objects against an almost black background and the onboard processor uses them to determine the mouse’s direction and speed, just like a conventional laser mouse would.
The result is remarkable. The Performance Mouse MX, like the Anywhere MX mouse before it, worked flawlessly on glass tabletops, granite countertops, and even mirrored surfaces. It would probably work on water, too, but we didn’t test that theory for obvious reasons.
Performance and Design
When we first saw pictures of the Performance Mouse MX, we predicted we’d hate the extremely deep thumb groove on the left side. We were wrong. The curvaceous mouse not only feels great in the hand, but the zoom and application-switching buttons integrated into this surface are fantastically useful. You can customize any of the mouse’s button using Logitech’s Setpoint software, but we found little reason to stray from the defaults.
Pushing your thumb down into the groove shrinks every window on the desktop to a large tile, so you can see everything at a glance (each window is identified by a banner headline across its middle). Hovering the mouse over a window enlarges it slightly; clicking it renders it active. Raising your thumb up against the top of the groove activates a zoom function. Two buttons above and outside the groove default to moving backward and forward through your web-browsing history, but we found the rearmost button to be just a little awkward to reach.
The mouse body curves slightly to the right, rendering the left primary button slightly shorter than the right. Pressing a small button behind the scroll wheel toggles the wheel between index and free-spin modes. Most mice that offer this feature put the button on the bottom, perhaps assuming users prefer one or the other and rarely switch. We suppose having it on top makes sense, although we’re the type who never switch; in any event, it didn’t get in our way.
Logitech’s Unifying technology renders device pairing much easier than it is with Bluetooth. Single or bundled products (a mouse and keyboard, for instance) come pre-paired, but adding a new device to a Unifying receiver is a simple matter of toggling the device off and on again. There’s no button mashing, listening for beeps, or monitoring flashing LEDs involved—it just works.
Unlike the Anywhere Mouse MX, which relies on two disposable AA batteries, the Performance Mouse MX operates on a Li-Ion battery that can be charged either with a USB cable (including while it’s in use) or with the provided AC adapter. Logitech also provides a USB extension cable, in case your mouse is outside the Unifying receiver’s range, and a carrying pouch. Oddly enough, the carrying pouch is not only too small to accommodate the mouse, but it also has holes at both ends that are large enough for the Unifying receiver to disappear through. Yes, we know this from experience.
Between its Darkfield Laser Tracking technology and painless connectivity options, there’s much to love about the Performance Mouse MX. As such, the enhanced computing experience it offers more than justifies a purchase if you’re in the market for just such a peripheral.
- Logitech’s Darkfield Laser Tracking technology is awesome
- One receiver supports multiple devices
- Rechargeable Li-Ion battery with AC adapter
- Awkward placement of the left rear thumb button