The MX devolves
As a professional technical writer who often puts into 12-to-14-hour days writing and typesetting, I rely on an excellent keyboard (currently loving AZIO's MGK 1-K backlit, aluminum-bodied brown-switch that is such a joy to use that it makes me just want to type more) and Logitech's MX Performance mouse; see figure 1. I use the MX, because it is a big, tall mouse on which I can rest my hand; has plenty of buttons; feels hefty; and it...
... switches between freewheel scrolling and clicked scrolling. I keep that mouse mostly in freewheeling scroll mode, because it lets me get through documents and Web pages faster -- much faster than the 3-lines-per-scroll-click that most other mice offer.
But I wear out my keyboards and mice, and replace them every few years. The down-press of the scroll wheel on my current MX mouse no longer works (meaning I can't easily pan in CAD drawings), and so it was time to get the next one.
Perusing the available range of MX mice from Logitech online, I noticed that the top-of-the-line ones were (a) much more expensive and (b) looked somewhat different. No matter, the last two MX mice I bought were identical; this new-styled one couldn't be different. Plus, I was intrigued that it claimed to handle up to three computers at once -- intrigued, because I usually use two (and sometimes three) computers when I am in high-speed writing mode. Having one mouse for all three would be convenient.
I found a returned MX 2S mouse (see figure 2) online for half the usual $190 price (in Canada, incl. tax), and two days later it arrived. The first puzzle was that the box said Logi but the mouse still read Logitech. Looking online, I could find no explanation for the name change; Logi also is Logitech's stock symbol.
Bad Bluetooth, Proprietary Battery
The first worry came while unpacking it. A slip of paper offered to monitor my Bluetooth connections to help if there were problems connecting the mouse. Looking online, I found reviewers complaining about its Bluetooth connection being poor. No biggie for me: I don't use Bluetooth for mice or keyboards, as I find the slow communication speed too slow for my typing and mouse movement speed, and so I use Logitech's wireless connection.
I let the new mouse charge until its third green LED stopped blinking. Next worry: the old mouse uses a standard AA-size rechargeable battery; the new one uses a proprietary, rectangular battery block. I wondered how expensive it would be to (eventually) replace this battery; maybe it wouldn't matter. The AA battery in the current MX mouse hadn't held a charge for a couple of years, and instead of replacing it, I have the old mouse connected to a very thin USB cable full time. I really don't need a wireless mouse, but that's what gets sold these days.
I plugged the mouse's wireless connector into my desktop computer, and there was no reaction: no cursor movement on the screen. Aha! I wondered if I needed to change channels. Under the mouse is a button with an LED each for 1, 2, and 3; see figure 3. I pressed the button, #2 lit up, and the cursor began moving.
Options Replaces Setpoint
$190-mice no longer include the software needed to fine-tune their movement, so I needed to locate it online. (Logitech's Setpoint traditional software does not work with the new mouse.) I downloaded and installed Options, the new utility software; see figure 4. This is where the first big letdown occurred.
I normally set the mouse for fast movement and fast acceleration. I want that cursor to zip across cross my high-resolution monitor with a single 2-to-3-inch movement of my hand. But now I had a hard time finding the exactly-right-for-me Pointer Speed setting with Options. Worse, there was no setting for acceleration (how quickly the mouse gets up to speed and then slows down). Acceleration is important for when moving the mouse at high speed (it moves faster) and at low speed (it moves more slowly).
At least the Options software retained the double-click setting, which Logitech had foolishly removed from some editions of Setpoint. Yet, that is where the next big letdown occurred: I could not find a convenient button to press for double-clicking among the mouse's six buttons. (I can't map double-click to the scroll-wheel's built-in button, because that eliminates the ability to pan in CAD software.) On the old MX, the side of my thumb taps one of the side buttons; that exact position is no longer available on the new MX.
Side-to-side Scrolling Goes Awful
No convenient double-click was the deal-breaker, compounded by Logitech's misguided relocation of the side-to-side scrolling. Instead of being part of the big scroll wheel, the new MX moves side-to-side scrolling to its own mini-scroll wheel on the side of the mouse; see figure 5.
Side-to-side scrolling is a crucial function for me when I am typesetting my books in InDesign. It obviates the need for the scroll bar in the program. On the old MX, you push the big scroll wheel to the side, holding it for as long as you need for the other parts of the page to come into view.
On the new MX, you need to move the side of your thumb upwards (or down) repeatedly, repeatedly rolling the small scroll wheel until the page comes into view. This wasn't going to work for me. It was the final disappointment.
While using the new MX for the hour or so I had it plugged in, I began to also notice how cheap Logitech's very expensive mouse felt. The old MX boasted a band of curvaceous metal. The new one is all-plastic, with the two main buttons feeling thin. The new one is a triumph of form over function.
Later I heard from a Twitter follower that he too threw his Logitech MX 2S in the trash.
A pattern I've noticed repeatedly is that when technology in a certain area reaches a peak, it then worsens as the marketing department takes product development over from engineering. I first found this after buying a new cassette deck in the late 1980s, and being horrified at how bad new ones had devolved. Devolution has attacked the MX.
The Logitech MX 2S mouse is a throw-away:
- Feels cheaply made, for a $190 mouse
- Unknown future status of the proprietary rechargeable battery
- Utility software does not offer acceleration
- Side buttons are placed too far away from my thumb
- Sideways scrolling irredeemably moved from the main scroll wheel to the side of the mouse
I went onto eBay and found someone selling the same MX mouse I had been using for a decade or more. Being a discontinued model, they are going for US$40. I bought two.