The MX 3200 is Logitech’s latest wireless mouse and keyboard innovation, and like any Logitech device, has more buttons than an airplane cockpit. Don’t let that frighten you, though. The MX 3200, priced at $99, sports a lot of great features, as well as some that are not so great.
Features and Design
We know it’s hard to keep up with the various Logitech mouse and keyboard offerings, so let us break it down for you quickly. The MX 3200 is an updated version of the MX 3000, but still not as fancy as the MX 5000. It’s essentially an affordable, mid-range, wireless keyboard/mouse combo.
The package includes the keyboard, mouse, and a USB stick that handles the wireless traffic. You can either plug the USB stick directly into a USB port, or plug it into the adapter that sits on your desktop if you want it to be closer to the mouse/keyboard. We used it both ways and did not discern any difference in performance.
The keyboard has keys that you press to enter letters and numbers, of course, but also offers a few innovations that are interesting, if not terribly useful. The first is that the keyboard sports an anti-microbial surface named AgION Antimicrobial. This coating prevents a wide range of bacteria and mold from growing on your keyboard, which may be of interest to some people, but seriously — if you have mold growing on your keyboard, you’ve got bigger issues in your life than selecting a proper keyboard.
The keyboard also sports numerous shortcut keys, including ones that are linked to your “My Pictures” folder, the internet, a VoIP application, and others. The top of the keyboard features a small LCD that displays the time, battery status, and date, but since it’s not backlit at all, it is difficult to read at a glance.
The mouse is exceedingly comfortable, and resembles the VX Revolution with its swoopy curves. Like the keyboard, it has way more buttons than any mouse should have, and as such, complicates its usage. There are the traditional back/forward buttons, which are very useful for web surfing. Logitech has also added three buttons for zoom in/out and search on the top left of the mouse, and there’s the obligatory scroll wheel, which also scrolls left and right. A battery status indicator resides in the middle of the mouse, and two AA batteries are included (both for the mouse and the keyboard).
Image Courtesy of Logitech
Use and Testing
Installation of the MX 3200 could not be easier, which is something we’ve seen with all Logitech devices — just plug them in and they work. Of course, you can install the Logitech software if you’re interested in re-mapping keys and so forth, but in testing, we found that all of the mouse and keyboards’ features worked as soon as we plugged them into a PC. And, once we installed the software to see if there were any secret goodies, we found there were none. Unless you want to re-map keys, don’t bother installing the Set Point software.
We’ve used Logitech keyboards for years, and generally love them, but we did not like this keyboard’s feel at all. We know that a keyboard’s tactile feel is an issue of personal preference, but we found the MX 3200 keyboard to be way too squishy. Rather than having a definitive “click” when you press a key, the MX 3200’s keys are very quiet, and feel as if they are traveling through some sort of viscous oil or something. We did not like typing on the keyboard, and once we were finished testing, we were extremely happy to go back to our Logitech G15 keyboard. Of course, since we didn’t like the feel of the keys, it’s a deal breaker, but we should also examine the included shortcuts and doo-hickeys Logitech added to the keyboard’s outskirts.
On the left side is a zoom bar, which is actually useful when looking at images or Word documents. You cause it to zoom in and out by grazing your finger up and down the slider bar, which is sensitive and works well. Next to the slider bar are pre-set search keys for searching the web, your PC, your pictures folder, or closing a window. There is also a button that triggers Flip3D in Vista. Overall, these are handy shortcuts, and they are useful. They stand in contrast to almost every other shortcut on the keyboard, however.
The shortcut keys that run around the edge of the too-hard-to-see LCD display are way too small, and all the function keys are too small for our tastes as well. The far right side of the keyboard has shortcuts to Calculator, Sleep, and V0IP, which are useful, but will be rarely used.
The “swoopy” mouse is very comfortable and uses an 800 dpi laser sensor. Though the mouse is reasonably accurate, when you are used to a high-res mouse like the G7, which scans at 2000 dpi, the MX 3200’s sensor seems sluggish and lazy. It’s the typical “cordless mouse” feel of lag; like the cursor is “floating” around. Regardless, we like our mice to be very accurate, and we did not get that feeling from the MX 3200’s mouse. It’s not inaccurate, mind you, to where we are missing clicks and can’t control it, but it’s not “locked on” the way we like a mouse to be to our hand movements.
So, what about the fancy extra buttons? We honestly didn’t find them terribly useful, and their small size and close proximity made for numerous instances of accidental clicking. The problem is the entire “zoom” zone on the mouse is only about a half an inch, whereas on the keyboard it’s several inches, so it’s incredibly sensitive on the mouse. And, right at the end of the zoom zone is the search button, which is tiny and easily pressed. On more than one occasion we pressed it by accident and saw a dozen new instances of Firefox open.
The scroll wheel is standard Logitech fare and is easy to scroll and easy to click. It features left and right maneuverability too, in case you need to scroll left or right on a webpage. Logitech states that the middle click button can also perform what is called “Doc Flip”; it works in both Vista and XP and is actually useful. When you press the middle-mouse button in Vista, Flip3D activates. In XP, it presents a window similar to the Alt-Tab window, but we found on occasion that the window would be empty, despite the fact that we had several apps open at the time.
There is no way around it: The MX 3200 was disappointing, plain and simple. We’ve fawned over the company’s products in the past, but this one fell short of our expectations for many reasons. From the squishy keyboard to the lagging mouse and too-small buttons on both the keyboard and mouse, this is a decent combo, but it did not measure up to our expectations.
• Easy installation
• No shortage of shortcuts
• Comfortable mouse
• Keyboard feels mushy
• Most shortcuts are useless
• Mouse lags