The Best Mouse In The World

This was one of my most-popular articles in 2010. It continues to be popular in Spain (¡Hola! Mucho gusto). If you enjoyed it, you might also enjoy:

The Old

Back in 2006, I ordered a new mouse for my computer. Previously, I’d been using a series of mid-to-high-end five-button optical mice, like Microsoft’s IntelliMouse series: when you’re doing a lot of coding, websurfing, and video gaming, “extra” buttons make a big difference, and the IntelliMouse is fast and responsive and usable in either hand: a perfectly good all-rounder mouse. But when I destroyed my last mouse with a little too much overenthusiasm in an Unreal Tournament 2004 deathmatch, I thought it might be time to look for something a little… sturdier.

Relatively new to the European market at that time was Logitech’s new MX1000: the  world’s first generally-available laser mouse: instead of using a little red LED, these mice use an invisible laser to track movements, which apparently makes them far more sensitive and accurate on a wider range of surfaces. As an ultra high-end premium mouse, the MX1000 also came with a wheel that was not only clickable but “rockable” for sideways scrolling and five other buttons (aside from the wheel and the usual three), but it was wireless and used it’s own special “cradle” to recharge. I bought one, and for years I’ve described it as the best mouse I’ve ever owned.

This mouse was so good, in fact, that I’d always planned that when it finally kicked the bucket, I’d replace it with another one exactly the same. When I said that this was the best mouse I’d ever owned, I wasn’t kidding. It fit my palm in a way that I’d never experienced before (I have pretty big hands, and I find that those piddly little mice that are so popular to be  just useless for me, leaving me with my wrist dragging around on the desk like a beaver’s tail). I genuinely like the quirky bonus selling points of this mouse, like its unusual “thumb rest” and its wonderful little LED gauge that tells you when it needs recharging.

My MX1000 is still going strong, despite years of heavy (ab)use. I use my mouse for hours a day, every day, and it needs to not only feel great but be rugged and durable, too. But the time comes in the life of every mouse when it’s time to be retired to less-intensive duties. Here’s the underside of my MX1000 today:

See how scuffed and worn it is from the hundreds of miles it’s travelled back and forth across my desk? Even the non-slip teflon pads are beginning to wear down! And the two little copper contacts on the right, there, are tarnished – sometimes it takes a couple of attempts, these days, to get the pins to make a connection when dropping it into the charging cradle. It’s time that this little mouse was put out to pasture.

But my plan – my plan to replace it with another one just the same – can’t come to pass: Logitech no longer manufacture the fabulous MX1000! Oh noes! I know it’s still possible to buy old stock or unopened second-hand ones on eBay, but this feels to me more like the universe’s way of telling me that it’s time to look for something new.

The New

So I’ve gotten myself the successor to the MX1000: a Logitech Performance MX.

And here are my observations after using it for a few days:

Pros Cons
  • It’s just like an MX1000 – ludicrously accurate, sensitive, and fabulous to hold and use.
  • It’s slightly lighter than the MX1000.
  • Rather than charging in a cradle, it charges via a MicroUSB cable (either from a computer or a supplied power adapter), so you can continue to use it while it charges (I’m just using the cable I sometimes use to attach my phone to my PC).
  • Even more buttons! All configurable by application or usable for their default functions.
  • The wheel can now operate in “clicky” or “flywheel” modes, and the “flywheel” mode – in which the wheel just keeps on spinning freely – is very nice.
  • The “Unifying” USB receiver can apparently have up to six devices connected to it (although why you’d have six mice/keyboards, which are the only devices yet to use the technology, is beyond me).
  • The teflon pads and even the rechargable battery are now replacable, to keep the mouse running for longer.
  • The mouse now uses “Darkfield” technology, which allows the laser to work even on transparent or reflective surfaces. I have no idea how this black magic works, but it’s cool: I’ve tried the mouse on mirrors and on glass and it genuinely does seem to work, but I can’t work out how!
  • The new texture of the thumb rest is more pleasant than the plasticky feel of the MX1000 (which becomes apparent if you have sweaty hands).
  • It’s possible to change the mouse sensitivity “on the fly” using pre-configured button presses, which JTA tells me is useful (I’ve never had a mouse with such a feature before, so I’ll reserve judgment).
  • Charging using a cable isn’t quite so cool nor as convenient as just dropping the mouse into a charging cradle.
  • More of the MX1000s buttons “just worked” without the special driver software installed.
  • It’s still using a proprietary wireless pairing and communication system. Seriously, Logitech, would it have been so hard to use Bluetooth and save me from using up another USB port?
  • The battery gauge only turns on for a few seconds after you first start using the mouse in a long time, or when it’s getting low: I suppose this must be a measure to conserve battery life, but it does make it slightly harder to tell the battery level “at a glance”.
  • The “rocking” of the wheel to scroll left and right no longer produces an audible “click”, depriving you of feedback.
  • The driver package is 25MB. Seriously: why does it need to be this large?
  • Perhaps a little too big for some people’s hands? This isn’t a mouse for people with a small hand.

In short, the verdict is that the Performance MX is a worthwhile successor to the MX1000, and a great replacement when the time comes. And if you’re still using an LED or even a wired mouse (trust me, when you go wireless and lose the “tug” of the cable pulling your mouse back, you never want to go back), perhaps now is the time to upgrade.

Update – 8 March 2019: it took a while, but an even better mouse has now dethroned this one.

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