If you want the “Wow” factor in a notebook mouse, look no further; this device will impress all who are in proximity to it. This notebook mouse takes the whole cordless mouse category a step higher, and puts many desktop mice to shame. I am a fan of Logitech mice and keyboards and view the company’s products as the BMW of peripherals. If the Bluetooth diNovo is their equivalent of a 745i flagship sedan, then their V500 mouse is their M3 sports car.
The Logitech designers, in fact, could teach a thing or two to the automotive industry about sleek. The fused aluminum skin and integrated left/right buttons exude a modern technology appearance. Careful examination reveals a “4-way solid state scroll panel.” This touch sensitive panel replaces the traditional wheel. This also eliminates moving parts and makes the whole device more rugged and mobile. With the scroll panel, you can scroll both vertically as well as horizontally. This is the only mouse tested here with horizontal scrolling (great for heavy spreadsheet or graphics users). It is very easy to acclimate to and use. For scrolling a long distance, just hold your finger down in that direction at the end of scroll panel, and it keeps on going. The scroll panel works so well, I would be surprised if it didn’t appear on some premium desktop mice in the next year or two.
The mouse uses 2 AAA batteries, and is claimed to last for 3 months. While I can’t verify that claim, I will say that I left the Logitech mouse on for over 48 hours by accident (after the photo shoot), and had plenty of power left to complete testing. There is an LED at the back of the mouse that glows green on initial start up if the battery is ok, or red if weak. This is the only tested mouse which provides battery status information.
The Logitech mouse is a little larger than the other products in terms of its width, but I found it more comfortable to hold and use. This also allows the USB wireless transceiver to fit within the body of the mouse for storage. This is a key feature making you less likely to lose the transceiver (the smallest tested), and making it easier for travel. The small transceiver fits nicely in the USB port, and did not block the neighboring ports from use. The transceiver fits into the mouse either right side up, or upside down making it easier to pack up when they announce final boarding in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. A case is included for the mouse to make transit easy as well. Another nice feature is that the mouse pops up via a switch on the bottom; it goes up ¼” inch, which is 7 degrees. This makes the mouse higher in the back resulting in a more comfortable feel, especially for larger hands. The switch that pops the mouse up also turns the mouse on and off. The mouse is symmetrical, so it can be used by both left and right handed users equally.
The Logitech product also has the best optical sensor here, the “all terrain” optical sensor. While I won’t be trading it in for my four wheel drive in the next blizzard, it uses a leading 1000 DPI camera, the highest of any portable mouse I encountered. The mouse tracks accurately on EVERY surface I tried. This mouse even tracks on a glass window, the elusive “holy grail” for optical mice, and something no other mouse in this article can do. Heck, very few desktop mice can accomplish this feat including the Logitech MX 900 (part of the diNovo desktop package). Gamers will especially appreciate its fast and accurate tracking on a variety of surfaces. This is a great feature on the road, as it means you can leave your mouse pad at home, and have one less thing to carry.
The wireless technology for the mouse is also a standout here. The other mice here use an RF (radio) interface. The Logitech unit uses the 2.4 GHz frequency (also shared by Bluetooth, many wireless phones, and WiFi “b” and “g” networks). Interestingly, it is stated that this is a Logitech proprietary interface, so don’t expect a free Bluetooth transceiver here. That said, despite the crowded frequency, I experienced no interference with wireless networks, Bluetooth devices, or the cordless phone. I was able to surf the Web on a WiFi network using the mouse with no slowdown at all. The range is stated at 30 feet, far longer than anyone would use a wireless mouse from their notebook. I was able to verify the range to 12 feet, but with my notebook’s 12” screen, everything became a bit of a blur anyway.
The packaged contents include written documentation, the 2 AAA batteries, a travel case, and the software on a CD, as well as the mouse and transceiver. The mouse performed fine without the software installed on a Windows XP Home notebook; the software needs to be installed for the horizontal scrolling to be enabled.
Is there a downside to all these standout features? Of course, there has to be one. In addition to the longest range, highest dpi sensor, and smallest transceiver comes the highest price tag. At $69 retail, this mouse crosses the magic $50 barrier. Looking around, some retailers sell it for less, but it is still more than an impulse purchase. Something this finely crafted will likely outlast one or even two notebooks, so from a long term perspective it is reasonable. The price does give the user some exclusivity; I think this is the best mouse for the road warrior who can purchase it on a corporate account. Tell your boss it will increase your productivity on those spreadsheets, and leave out the part about Unreal Tournament after hours at the Doubletree on their wireless network. The Logitech V500 Notebook Mouse is LD Approved.