Logitech Performance Mouse MX - Part 1

Discussion in 'Reader-Submitted Reviews' started by marfig, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. marfig

    marfig No ROM battery

    May 15, 2011
    The Performance Mouse MX is Logitech's current top offer. As I get ready to loose my mind on a Topre Realforce 103U keyboard somewhere around mid July, I went ahead and started to refurbish my desk already.

    This mouse comes to replace the Revolution MX, which you can only get these days in a mouse-keyboard combo; the Desktop MX 5500 Revolution. While being an upgrade to the Revolution MX, the Performance Mouse MX actually removes the two most lauded features of its ancestor; The automatic hyper-scrolling switch and the thumb scroll wheel. So what gives?

    Let's face it. The Revolution MX had a high return rate. It probably is, of all Logitech mice in the past two years, the one with the highest number of RMAs. And the vast majority of these were exactly due to hyper-scrolling automatic switch issues. The internets are full of stories attesting to this. Of course, on those mice with no problems this was a great feature. On the other hand, the thumb scroll wheel missing is a bit harder to explain. Personally I think it must be due to the fact that while the feature was lauded by many, for the past 2 years it became evident not many were making much use of it, with some users even complaining the wheel got in the way of their thumb rest position.

    The Performance Mouse MX removes the thumb wheel completely and the thumb resting place is now a simple and well groomed rubberized curved area. For the top wheel, hyper-scroll is still offered, but it is now manually set by pressing the button under the wheel.

    Because removing features is not a good way to present an upgrade (says he, not I), the Performance Mouse MX ships with a few additions, I'd like to address:

    • Darkfield Laser Tracking
    • 4 thumb buttons
    • Higher curved profile

    These will be the focus of this review. So let's get started.

    Darkfield Laser Tracking
    Darfield Laser Tracking is Logitech's application of the principals of dark field microscopy in optics. It -- allow me the simplification -- essentially operates by gathering light that is scattered by the presence of an object (surface imperfections on this case), instead of collecting light reflected by a surface. The sensor only allows light to be received from an angle and blocks any other light. And that's precisely what happens to light when it hits an object; it scatters and is reflected at unexpected angles, much like throwing a tennis ball against an airplane. Because of this technique, a resulting imaging in optics is always of a dark background (because it reflects light at a predictable angle and thus the sensor never gets to see it) with bright objects scattered through.

    Logitech's implementation uses two lasers to track mouse movement. When you are using your mouse on a regular surfaces (your table our mousepad), it will only activate one of the lasers. Never will it use both. It's when you are using your mouse on a glass surface (like a glass table) or an otherwise very smooth and clean surface, that the controller will detect the need to activate the second laser for better results. Both lasers are positioned one against the other at an angle from the surface, pointing to the same area. The sensor is located in the center and will collect any light coming at a 90ยบ angle from the surface, effectively collecting some portion of light that has been scattered by imperfections and missing any light that has been directly reflected by the surface. In a typical glass table at your home, this is more or less what a mouse equipped with Darkfield Laser Tracking will see:

    09-06-2011 23-09-32.png

    To be clear, 100 micrometers are 0.1 millimeter (or 0.004 inches). It's easy to see why this is probably going to become the de facto laser mouse technology for the next years. But the real kicker here is the "newfound" ability to use a laser mouse on glass or very smooth surfaces.

    There's another reason however as to why only one laser is used on otherwise typical surfaces. If the surface has plenty of imperfections, it can overload the sensor with an all-white image that gets it nowhere closer to employ its internal routines to track movement. By employing only one laser, the Performance MX guarantees this overload won't happen on the vast majority of surfaces. However keep in mind that even so, these mice might be a bit more sensitive to very irregular surfaces than traditional laser mice. If you experience "skipping" or "missing" issues with such a mouse, try to use it on a different mousepad or directly on the table to see if in fact this is a problem with the mouse. In direct contrast to all other mice, the darkfield laser tracking mice actually prefer smoother and cleaner surfaces. Odd to say that, no?

    However this technology on a mouse like the Performance MX is a bit difficult to justify. The ability to use the mouse on a glass surface is certainly welcomed by many laptop users (me included). But the Performance MX is not a laptop mouse. This is a big, fat, classy and professional, desktop mouse (hyperbole allowing, that weights almost as much as your laptop). I suppose a minority may have been harboring for years the secret desire to buy a cool glass table for our desktops. But for the vast majority choosing the Performance Mouse MX for its ergonomics, we will have to take it at a premium price exactly for a laser tracking technology that makes very little sense in a desktop environment and that, in fact, we will never take advantage of. With that... it becomes hard to justify the price of this mouse.

    [End of Part 1]
  2. Kayden

    Kayden Tech Monkey

    Sep 13, 2010
    I like the keyboard there very classic. I assume you are getting it for the mechanical keys and not just the look? If that is the case then let me point you over to Deck LED Backlit Keyboards, now I do not own one my self but a friend of my that I have known for over a decade has one and he swears by their quality. The model you want to consider getting is the linear not the tactile and you can also get a majority of the custom keys over at that other page where you linked that other keyboard. The Deck is quite a bit cheaper and has options for a few different back light colors, so hopefully this brings in some other options for you.

    I like your review and if I had a laptop or was considering one I know what mouse to be seriously thinking about now. I look forward to part 2.
  3. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    Great look so far! I appreciate the in-depth explanation of the Dark Field technology, because I was totally oblivious to how it worked before (never delved too deep into it, I just figured the lasers bounced off of each other's reflection).

    I never had a Revolution MX, but looking at the side scroll-wheel, I couldn't imagine using it. It looks rather intrusive, to be honest. Though, I might feel a bit different if I actually used it.

    What's the number one reason someone would want to use a mouse on a glass surface? Does it just boil down to aesthetics and keeping a clean look, or? I don't mind placing a mousepad wherever I need to use a PC, though I do admit some mousepads wouldn't look too attractive on a nice table.

    As for the Topre, you are going to bit the bullet, huh? Would love to read a review on that if you do get it.
  4. marfig

    marfig No ROM battery

    May 15, 2011
    Nah. I wouldn't stand the insensate clack-clack of mechanical keyboards, neither I have the right to impose that noise on everyone else around me. Those are great gaming keyboards these days, but no longer professional keyboards. Those days of high noise offices have come and gone a long time ago, already.

    That's actual a rubber dome keyboard. But as you can guess from the price, a very special type of rubber dome keyboard: http://www.geek.com/articles/chips/review-topre-realforce-87u-keyboard-2010056/

    I dare say -- albeit this confirmation will come sometime next month -- this is currently the perfect keyboard for typists.

    Yeah, I'm glad they removed it for this new mouse. I quite never made my mind about it, which is probably a sign there was something wrong about it, but just not wrong enough on my case I'd grow a real grunge.

    For desktop mice, no doubt this makes very little sense other than for trendy or cosmetics reasons. But for laptops this is actually useful if you are constantly on the go. I lost count to the number of hotel rooms I entered where the only table I could sit my laptop on was a glass table. Traveling with a mouse pad is certainly nothing too problematic. But for someone who doesn't like mousepads, it may be. Or for someone who doesn't have enough room to put the pad on.

    But I'd say that the perk is the ability to use the mouse on "any" surface. Which, other than glass surfaces, includes also very smooth and clean surfaces. No longer an all white smooth table top, for instance, will require you to use a mousepad if you don't want to.

    Totally. I'm going with that keyboard, if its the last thing I do and the 260 euros this will cost me (including shipping) blow in my face. I so much want to finally put my hands on a keyboard I can trust for 3 or 4 years...

    And definitely you'll get a review :)
  5. Kayden

    Kayden Tech Monkey

    Sep 13, 2010
    Glad to hear you know what marfig and not willing to compromise on a damn thing! Look forward to your reviews.
  6. RainMotorsports

    RainMotorsports Partition Master

    Jul 1, 2011
    oops i posted in the wrong one...
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012

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