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Logitech MX Revolution Laser Mouse

Date: August 24, 2006
Author(s): Rob Williams

The successor to the popular MX1000 mouse is finally here and it promises to improve on old favorites and introduce some new features. Here we have an upgraded scroll wheel capable of plowing through long documents with a simple flick of the finger, an advanced application switcher and a much more comfortable thumb rest.



Introduction


Style. Nice curves. Solid frame. Hard working and good looking. Willing to abide by your every command. These are all important factors you weigh in when purchasing a new mouse. When Logitech released their MX1000 late 2004, it was well received because it had all of these features. Though it wasn’t a gaming mouse, it proved to be the ideal multi-purpose solution for everything else.

What set the MX1000 apart from anything else on the market was the jump from an optical sensor to a laser one. At the time, they promised up to 20x the precision over optical sensors, and it was hard to discredit that. It was indeed one of the smoothest mice on the market. Aside from the precision though, it also proved to be a comfortable mouse, that fit like a glove. This is said about a lot of mice out there, but it was entirely true with the MX1000. It’s only downside, in my opinion, was the slight bulkiness.

In terms of functionality, that mouse also included one of the finest scroll wheels because it was loose enough to make navigation a breeze. On top of that, it was surrounded with another up/down type button to scroll through your pages far quicker than what the wheel could provide. Even further, they added an application switcher and back/forward buttons. At the time, that seemed like far too many buttons on a single mouse, but now it feels just right.

The reason I am talking about the MX1000 in detail is for a good reason. The MX Revolution is it’s successor, so it’s quite simply, an MX1000 amped up. Are the general improvements worth it? Keep reading, and by the end of the review you may just be opening your wallet.

Closer Look

Logitech is one company who generally sticks to similar packaging with each new product release. More often than not, it’s a box with a plastic showcase piece that allows the buyer to see what they are in for. This one is different. It looks like a simple box, but has a flap on the front that lifts up to show off the goods. The box showed up in slightly rough condition I blame the shipping company.

After lifting out the mouse and receiver part, you will reveal a CD-Rom, AC adapter and charger base. Note that the software here is 3.01, but the retail version will include an updated version (3.1) that fixes a few small bugs related specifically to this mouse.

Here is the stylish looking charger base. Note that it is just that… a charger base. Unlike most other Logitech wireless mice, this does not act as a receiver, which to me is a great thing. Instead, we have a mini-receiver which we are used to seeing with notebook mice.

While the idea of an extra piece of equipment seems needless, I do believe that having a charger base and receiver separate is the way to go. The way the bases are designed, they allow to have multiple Logitech mice and keyboards hooked up at a time. When this happens, it is difficult to ‘un-link’ them. I found this out in the past when I gave a family member a spare MX1000 I had, because their mouse died. Well, I was confused when I sat back down at my PC to see the cursor floating freely, randomly clicking on anything in it’s path. So having two separate pieces will solve this problem.



Closer Look

One thing you will quickly notice about the Revolution is the fact that it looks quite similar to other mice, including the G7 and MX1000. Why mess with a good thing, I guess? One major addition you see though, is larger thumb rest with rubber padding. This ends up being a very welcomed feature.

The mouse includes two features not found on any other on the market, including the MicroGear scroll wheel and search button. Though it sounds odd to emphasize on a scroll wheel, this is one that I found myself preferring after a few days use. This wheel has two basic settings, normal and free-spin. At the default mode, it acts as any other scroll wheel you have used. However, in free-spin, it’s just that. With a simple flick of your finger, it has the capability to continue spinning for up to 7 seconds. Thanks to this fact, you can get through large Word/Excel documents, web pages and photo albums far quicker than before.

Utilizing the new SetPoint 3.1 software, the search button can prove quite useful to those who want to speed up a search process. Using the feature is easy… simply highlight a word in a document or webpage, and click the search button to automatically Google or Yahoo search. Other search engines can be added though. This feature is identical to highlighting a word in Firefox, right clicking it and searching for it that way. However, this allows the same functionality throughout most popular browsers.

The side of the mouse is designed to be comfortable for your thumb, and it does it’s job well. The side of the mouse is large enough to let your thumb rest, with little chance of it hitting the mousepad. Though rubber doesn’t usually reflect a comfortable material, it turns out to be the perfect solution here. Rubber is more durable than other materials they could have used, so this proves to be a good choice.

In addition to the comfort, this side also carries three buttons. The ‘thumb wheel’ is not actually a wheel at all, but flicks up and down with ease. It’s primary function is an application switcher, with a twist. To speed up production, whenever you click this button, the switcher window will pop up. Then, you can proceed to use the scroll wheel to pick the application you want, and with another flick of the thumb wheel, that application will become active.

The other two buttons can act as back/forward, or can be changed for whatever purpose you want through the software.

The underside of the mouse is not as exciting as the rest, but I feel obligated to include a shot.

Here is a quick comparison shot between the MX Revolution and MX1000. As great as the MX1000 looked two years ago, it really has nothin’ on the MX Revolution. The new mouse is sleeker and more comfortable to hold. Overall, after using the new model, I am impressed.



Software Installation

After plugging the receiver into the PC, Windows picked up on it immediately and was able to use the mouse in less than 10 seconds. Of course, for any of the advanced features to work properly, the SetPoint 3.1 software had to be installed. Though I received an older version of the software with the mouse, I was supplied with a newer version also to take care of lingering bugs in the included version. Here is what you can expect in way of setup:

If you have other Logitech peripherals, such as a keyboard, you can install drivers for those at the same time. You also run into the choice of installing the Desktop Messenger which allows you quick access to the latest software/news updates. We can see that the girl in the picture is incredibly satisfied with it though, and maybe even know why there is a G in Logitech.

Last but not least, we see that the software install takes around 42MB of space. Seems like a decent amount for mouse software, but it does a lot so no points against it. Lastly, we are shown by a slickster that Logitech sets also double as a guitar in a pinch.

Overall, the entire installation was easy as one would expect. After a quick reboot, it was time to do some configuration. The SetPoint software cannot be underestimated… it’s a powerful tool. It gives complete control over most aspects so that you, in the end, get the mouse that you want.

The first config screen allows you to configure all of the buttons, so if you don’t like the default value for one, you can change it. After some configuration changes, I was unable to get the the thumb button or search button to function within a game.

The next screen may prove to be one of the most useful because it allows you to keep an eye on the battery status. Unlike the MX1000, here we can actually see how many days (approximate) are left before we need a recharge. The final screen allows you to customize the scroll wheel to your liking. In addition, you can create profiles for various applications.

Use In Linux

I: Bus=0003 Vendor=046d Product=c51a Version=4101
N: Name=”Logitech USB Receiver”
P: Phys=usb-0000:00:02.0-8/input0
S: Sysfs=/class/input/input5
H: Handlers=mouse2 event4
B: EV=7
B: KEY=ffff0000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
B: REL=143

I: Bus=0003 Vendor=046d Product=c51a Version=4101
N: Name=”Logitech USB Receiver”
P: Phys=usb-0000:00:02.0-8/input1
S: Sysfs=/class/input/input6
H: Handlers=kbd event5
B: EV=f
B: KEY=c0002 400 0 0 1 f80 78000 6639fa d84157ad 8e0000 0 0 0
B: REL=40
B: ABS=1 0

If you are interested in using the mouse in Linux, you shouldn’t run into any issues. Of course though, you will lack some functionality. After plugging the receiver into a USB port, I was able to use the mouse almost instantly. The super fast scrolling works just fine, which is a bonus since it’s a selling point of the product. As you’d expect, the search button does not function because it’s tied completely to the SetPoint software which does not have a version available for Linux.

The thumb wheel does not function either, in any shape or form. The two left thumb buttons do however. The first acts as a right-click would, so you would basically have two right-click buttons. The second acts as the scroll wheel would if it was pushed down. For instance, if you hover over a link in Firefox and push the second thumb button down, the link opens in a new tab. Or, if you are in a webpage and click it, it will turn into a cursor that follows your cursor, ie: click and move your mouse up and down to scroll the page.

For those interested, the output of cat /proc/bus/input/devices is found to the right, and the result of lsusb -vv can be found here. In the end… the base functionality is what you would expect. With some Xorg configuration tweaks, you may be able to get the other buttons to function, however I rarely use them so I don’t intend to figure it out. Is the mouse worth it for a Linux user though? Depends on two things… how comfortable do you want to be when using a mouse, and is the special scroll wheel that important to you? I await the day when Logitech will support their products in Linux…



Usage, Final Thoughts


After using this mouse for the past few days, I can say that I enjoy it far more than I ever did the MX1000. Though the scroll wheel may not sound that impressive on text, I actually find myself now relying on it with large documents. I even take advantage of the super fast scrolling on websites… it just helps me get to where I need to be quicker.

You would think with the speed of the wheel that it would be audible, but it’s not in the least. You will hear it only if you put your ear straight up to it, but then it would still be as audible as any other scroll wheel. Another thing to note is that even though the wheel is capable of spinning for up to seven seconds, it takes only a light tap to stop it. Logitech notes they have put a lot into the thought process of the wheel, and it shows.

One important thing to note about the MX Revolution is the comfort level. Here is what I said regarding the MX1000 last April: “Overall, I have been very impressed with the MX1000. It’s the smoothest mouse I’ve ever used, and most comfortable as well.” The exact same thing can be said about the MX Revolution.

The only real thing I disliked about the MX1000 was the bulkiness… it felt like holding a loaf of bread. This is not problem I feel at all with the new mouse. It’s sleeker, like the G7, so it doesn’t feel too large at all while holding it. Overall, this is an extremely comfortable mouse. I would not be nuts to say that it’s the most comfortable I have ever used.

All of the buttons are well placed, including the two side ones. The thumb wheel and search button are the only two that will require you to move a few fingers off to push. I can’t say they are improperly placed though. Anywhere else and I would likely complain about it.

One thing that did strike me odd, was the fact that I could no longer click down the wheel button to open up link in Firefox in a new tab. Logitech told me what I needed to do though, and it makes quite a bit of sense. Check out the shot below:

There’s an option here, “Allow Manual Shifting”, and while we are not driving here, this is an option you will want to uncheck if you want the same functionality as mentioned above. You will also need to go back to the mouse settings and configure the wheel as “General Button” so that applications will treat it like a normal wheel. After you do this, it will limit the wheel to a single mode… either the default or free-spin. All along, I thought pushing down to select the scroll wheel mode was hardware related, but it’s definitely the software doing the decision making.

Generally speaking, if you enjoyed the MX1000, G5, G7 or any other similar mice, you will love the way the Revolution feels. I admit though, this is not a mouse for gaming. However, it should prove good enough if it’s the only mouse you have handy. Here are a couple reasons I feel that this shouldn’t be used as a gaming mouse unless you can help it:

That being said, this is not a gaming mouse or marketed as such. This is a desktop mouse that caters to all of your daily computing needs. As such, this mouse is the best I’ve ever used. For gaming though, I will definitely be sticking to my MX518.

In the end, if you are looking for a new mouse that has a lot to offer, then you will want to check out the MX Revolution. I do not find the Revolution as ‘revolutionary’ as the MX1000 was back in the day, but the important thing is that they have taken almost every aspect of that mouse into consideration and fixed/updated it. After it’s all said and done, the Revolution is a great mouse that I personally don’t want to go without. Once you use the free-spin scroll wheel and adjust to the great form fitting design, you will not want to go back to anything else. I am awarding the MX Revolution a 9 out of 10 and our Editors Choice award.

Note: The MX Revolution will have an SRP of $99.99US, while the notebook version (VX Revolution) will have an SRP of $79.99US.

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