Logitech Revs Up the Revolution Mouse

Peripheral and accessory maker Logitech is on a roll leading into the all-important end-of-year buying season, and wants to make sure computer power users know about its new Revolution cordless laser mice. Already hip to cordless mice? Well, you haven’t used anything like the Revolution: the Revolution mice feature motorized scroll wheels which spin freely for up to seven seconds, enabling users to quickly navigate even the largest images, documents, Web pages, and spreadsheets without the tedium of spinning through screen after screen of information.

Available in two versions—the MX Revolution for desktops and smaller VX Revolution for notebooks—both implement Logtiech’s MicroGear Precision Scroll Wheel: the idea is that with just a flick of the finger, a document, window, or other item scrolls on its own without user intervention—up to 10,000 rows in a a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet in seven seconds—enabling a user to scan dozens or even hundreds of pages more efficiently and with virtually no effort.

"By giving people the option of using a free-spinning scroll wheel, Logitech has addressed a source of pain for computer users, who previously had to continuously move their index finger to scroll through long documents," said Logitech VP Ashish Arora in a statement. "Every application lends itself to different kinds of navigation—and with its sophisticated technology, the wheel can elegantly switch between the free-spin and click-to-click scrolling modes. People who try the new wheel say that they can’t go back."

The scroll wheel automatically shifts between free-spin and click-to-click modes, enabling both fast and slow scrolling; in some applications (including Excel), the technology senses how fast the user spins the wheel and adjusts the mode accordingly. Users can also toggle between modes manually. Settings and preferences can all be configured to users’ needs using the included Logitech software.

Logitech claims the MicroGear Precision Scroll Wheel can cover in one spin and seven seconds the same amount of real estate it would have taken 500 spins and seven minutes with a traditional scroll wheel—which, of course, begs the question of how many users are silly enough to navigate a document by spinning a scroll wheel for seven minutes when there are perfectly good scrollbars, Home and End keys, and other methods for jumping around. I suppose we’ll leave that speculation to the cultural anthropologists.

The Revolution also features a One-Touch Search feature which can be latched to the user’s favorite Internet search engine (be that Yahoo or Google or another service); when the user highlights a word or phrase in a document and clicks the One-Touch Search button just beneath the scroll wheel, a new search for the term on the Internet or local computer is launched. The units communicate wirelessly with the computer via a USB receiver.

The desktop-oriented MX Revolution is priced at $99.99 and comes with a charging station for its rechargeable lithium-ion battery; the notebook-oriented VX Revolution is priced at $79.99, and runs on a AA battery. Both mice are available now in the U.S. and Europe, and are compatible with Windows XP and Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later.