Apple Store

BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

MAIN INDEX of latest speed tests

Logitech MX Revolution
Cordless Laser Mouse

Originally posted February 1st, 2007, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

Two years ago, Logitech, set out to design the ultimate mouse for high-end users. Their design team studied the frustrations of power users and came up with a feature set to address them. They believed that these users wanted the highest quality of fit-and-finish and a solid feel. They weren't just going for unique or extreme looks. Form needed to follow function. The outcome was so different from previous mice in appearance, function, and materials that they decided to call it a "revolution" -- the "MX Revolution."

The biggest innovation is the metal alloy Scroll Wheel with ultra-low-friction ball bearings designed to act as a flywheel. The first time I gave the wheel a spin, the document I was viewing started to scroll and continued scrolling until I stopped the wheel from spinnning. Whoa! The ratcheting mechanism typical with scroll wheels automatically retracts when the mouse "thinks" you want to "free-spin" your way through a document or web page. The wheel will keep spinning for as long as 7 seconds, allowing you to sail through multiple pages of a document or multiple rows of a spreadsheet -- without multiple finger motions.

Of course, you can scroll smoothly through a document by simply moving the cursor over the scroll bar on the right of the window, holding down the primary mouse button, and moving the mouse forward and backward. But I digress.

The Scroll Wheel also tilts, allowing you to scroll sideways (useful for spreadsheets or wider-than-window web pages).

It has a spring loaded metal alloy Thumb Wheel that can be programmed for zooming or document shuffling. It's easy to use since the Thumb Rest positions your thumb next to it. There are two Thumb Buttons above the Thumb wheel that can be programmed.

The MX Revolution has a Touch-To-Search Button behind the Scroll Wheel that you can program to do either local Spotlight searches or internet Google searches of a highlighted word or phrase.

Instead of 2.1Mbit/s Bluetooth used by Apple's wireless Mighty Mouse, the MX Revolution uses a Digital 2.4GHz RF wireless signal transmitted from the mouse to a USB 2.0 powered micro receiving unit. This is clever way to utilize the full 480Mbit/s speed of USB 2.0 when transmitting the mouse motions to the Mac. A direct connect cord to the USB port could not transfer mouse motions any faster.

Wireless mice are often rejected by power users if they detect any delay between the motion of the mouse and the response on the screen. This should not be an issue with the MX Revolution. Logitech currently uses digital 2.4GHz RF wireless on five other cordless mice.

The MX Revolution uses an 848 nanometer laser for tracking instead of an optical sensor or camera. This is supposed to not only accurately track but give you more flexibility when it comes to surfaces on which your mouse can be used. However, the tracking resolution is only 800 dpi. Too bad. I would consider double that to be state of the art. (The Razer Pro Solutions mouse we use most often features 1600 dpi.)

Logitech actually makes a cordless mouse with a 2000 dpi laser engine called the G7 Laser Cordless Gaming Mouse. Too bad they don't use it in the MX Revolution. Too bad they can't make a gamer version made of carbon fiber called "MX Radical" or "MX Over-Rev."

All wireless mice require some sort of battery power. The MX Revolution comes with a rechargeable Li-ion battery, illuminated battery charge level indicator, and compact charging stand with small AC adapter. A charge lasts for two weeks. You can conserve battery power by using the on/off switch.

The MX Revolution felt relatively heavy -- heavier than the corded Razer Pro mouse I most often use. In truth it weighs 63% more (148 grams vs 91 grams). But that's to be expected since all wireless mice require battery power. A better weight comparison would be the Apple wireless Mighty Mouse which, at 141 grams, weighs nearly as much as the MX Revolution -- even though it has a smaller footprint.

The buttons and wheels felt perfectly located in relation to my thumb and fingers. I don't care how many buttons a mouse has. I won't use them if I have to contort my hand or fingers to use them. The whole thing feels "right" -- assuming you are right handed.

The Logitech Control Center enables you fully customize the wheels and buttons. For example, though they designate one button as the "One-Touch Search Button," you can apply that action to other buttons. You could assign one button do a local Spotlight search and another button do an internet Google search on the selected text.

You can define a set of Global Settings as well as define application specific settings (such as using the Thumb Wheel to switch applications in Finder but Zoom in Photoshop).

I wouldn't call the MX Revolution a revolution. I would call it a significant evolution in mouse design.
A good mouse can speed up your work flow so well that you feel like your Mac's processor has been upgraded. As a mouse for use with professional apps, the Logitech MX Revolution as good as any we've tested.

I've never warmed up to Apple's Mighty Mouse. I don't see it as particularly ergonomic or cutting edge. This past year, my "every day" mouse has been the Razer Solutions Pro, which we covered in our previous mouse report. But I'm going to set it aside for the six weeks in favor of the Logitech MX Revolution so I can fully evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.

A mouse is a very personal device. The perfect mouse for one user could be a frustration to another. And we as humans tend to be creatures of our habits so we can find ourselves struggling when adapting to a new mouse with a different shape and different button locations. Though I'm forcing myself to use the MX Revolution, I am surprised how easily I am adapting to it.

VX Revolution Cordless Laser Mouse for Notebooks
Logitech's VX Revolution is a smaller version of the MX Revolution designed for use with laptop computers. We'll report on it when we have a chance to play with it. It features the same "free-wheeling" Scroll Wheel as the MX Revolution but with a slider in place of the Thumb Wheel. And it uses a regular AA batttery in place of the embedded Li-ion rechargeable one. It includes a clever hiding place for the USB micro receiver so it doesn't get lost during transit.

The MX Revolution mouse could be easily transported with your laptop if you prefer its size and features. Though it doesn't have a hiding place for the USB micro receiver, it could be safely stowed in the zippered side pocket of your laptop's case or sleeve. Since the battery charge lasts two weeks, you don't need to take the charger. On longer trips, the compact charger is easily packed in your laptop's case or carryon's side pocket.

We noticed that the MX 1000 Laser Cordless Mouse is no longer appearing on the Logitech website. We were impressed with it when it first came out but didn't have Mac OS X drivers for it. We're happy to report that the MX Revolution's Mac driver works with it. The MX 1000 doesn't have the free-wheeling scroll wheel and only accepts global button assignments, but it does have buttons fore and aft of the scroll wheel which can be assigned up and down "cruising" which is has a similar effect to the "free-spin" of the MX Revolution's Scroll Wheel.

Our favorite sources for Logitech products include the Apple Store USA, Amazon, Other World Computing, and Small Dog Electronics.

If you order direct from Apple USA, please CLICK THIS LINK or our APPLE USA DISPLAY ADS to help support BARE FEATS.

Readers in Canada should click our
Apple Store, Canada.
Readers in France should click our Apple Store - France.
Readers in Germany should click our Apple Store - Germany.
Readers in Italy should click our Apple Store -Italy.
Readers in the United Kingdom should click our Apple Store - UK.

Has Bare Feats helped you? How about helping Bare Feats?

2007 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster and mad scientist