If you’re sick of dragging a sweaty finger around on your laptop’s touchpad, but equally tired of toting a mouse around with your otherwise ultra-mobile machine, Logitech’s V550 Nano promises to liberate you from carrying around that fist-sized plastic anchor by snapping it directly to your notebook. We found the concept surprisingly useful, and very well executed on Logitech’s behalf, but your results may vary depending on how you use your notebook.
Features & Design
When you’re designing a mouse for people who are too lazy or easily annoyed to carry around a conventional notebook mouse, convenience reigns, and Logitech has kept that in mind with the V550.
The Nano’s wireless connection has been tailored to be as painless as possible, with a USB receiver that’s already paired to the mouse and needs no drivers, meaning you just plug it in and go. The receiver is also miniscule, sticking out only about the height of two popsicle sticks stacked together, so it’s easy to leave plugged in all the time and forget it’s there.
As for controls and gizmos, you get normal right and left buttons, a middle square button that brings up a list of active applications, and a scroll wheel that can either spin freely or click. A simple press down switches it from one mode to the other, and you can also press it left or right to side scroll.
The other half of Logitech’s formula involves a tiny square snap that affixes to your laptop lid with adhesive. It almost resembles the type of button you might find on a winter coat, but it works a little differently. Rather than snapping the mouse on by pressing it against the button, you slide on from the side, until it clicks.
In practice, the Nano pulls off the whole “Clip-n-Go” premise exactly as Logitech intends. Slide it off when you sit down and begin working, slide it back on when it’s time to pack up and go. No power buttons, connection managers, or cords needed.
We were especially impressed with how quickly the mouse fired up after being yanked off its perched. By the time you can set mouse to mouse pad, you’re in command of the cursor. And it automatically shuts off when it’s clipped on, saving so much battery life that Logitech claims it will run for 18 months of normal use with two ordinary AA batteries (although we didn’t quite have time to test that claim.)
Whether or not you favor the clickable scroll wheel, which Logitech calls “Hyper-fast scrolling,” is a matter of taste. We found it nice to be able to click the wheel and cut through enormous columns of text in seconds, but at the same time, we missed the familiar mouse-as-middle-button operation of a normal mouse wheel. In the end, we considered it more of a tradeoff than an upgrade.
The Bag Issue
Depending on what kind of notebook bag you own, you may have an issue trying to fit your notebook in it with a mouse hanging off the side like a goiter. Using a JanSport backpack with a special notebook pocket, we had no issues sliding in a slim Lenovo X61 even with the mouse still attached, but for those who use custom-fitted sleeves and other snug laptop cases, the mouse may have to go. That may not be the end of the world, but it definitely defeats the point of the dock.
In short, it’s probably best to examine how you use your laptop, and what kind of case you own, before springing for the V550. While the concept is great for people who find themselves carrying their laptops around by hand a lot – from room to room, for instance – it’s not much of an advantage if your laptop travels everywhere in a tight sleeve that will force you to remove the mouse.
Image Courtesy of Logitech
We’ve consistently been impressed with the quality and feel of Logitech’s hardware, and the V550 Nano is no exception. After installing two AA batteries, the mouse takes on a solid, hefty feel, with smooth plastic components that fit together nearly seamlessly. In its clicking mode, the mouse wheel delivers firm detents, and in its free-spinning mode, it zips around like it’s on a well-oiled bearing. Unless you built this thing out of solid steel, you couldn’t ask for a much more solid-feeling device.
If you’re a little worried about sliding such a relatively heavy piece of hardware onto a button that’s essentially glued onto your notebook lid, don’t be. The 3M adhesive Logitech uses to attach the button has some serious grip. We found we could lift the weight an entire three-pound laptop by clinging to the nub alone, and the mouse grabs onto it firmly with a satisfying click – it’s not going anywhere.
Although the V550 doesn’t actually require any drivers to use its most basic features, users can unlock a host of features and customizability by installing Logitech SetPoint, a small, unobtrusive software package. The number of sheer options it offers might be overkill for average users, but the clean look and intuitive design make it so easy to play with that everyone from hardcore gamers to moms should be able to find their ideal setups.
We probably would have scoffed at the idea of “accessories” for a mouse before we pried open the Nano’s bubble packaging and found a number of useful extras hiding inside. The most practical was a cradle-shaped USB extension that lies flat on a desktop and makes it easy to use the V550 with a desktop computer without crawling under a desk: just pop the receiver in when you sit down. And if you decide not to use it for its intended purpose, it’s always handy for flash drives and other commonly disconnected USB accessories, too. That’s just plain thoughtful.
We also appreciated having clips in silver and black to match different notebooks, alcohol wipes to prep the lid before attaching them, and a special twisting tool for removing clips from your notebook without damaging the surface.
If the idea of mating your mouse with your notebook every time you carry it somewhere really seems like a handy feature, the V550 won’t fail to disappoint. Just keep in mind that notebook bags may get in the way and prevent you from using the feature as much as you had imagined. While the Nano’s price of $59.99 may seem high, especially for a notebook mouse, Logitech has loaded this mouse up with features to justify it. Throw in some useful accessories and superior build quality, and we would definitely call it a fair.
• Sturdy clip and mouse quality make the V550 feel solid, safely attached
• Scrolls fast, slow, and sideways
• SetPoint software is a breeze to use
• Hyper-scrolling makes it impossible to use the scroll wheel as a button
• Certain notebook bags will render the docking feature more or less useless