Despite my general admiration for all things Apple, I have never quite made peace with my Apple Mighty Mouse. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the design risks Apple took in releasing a buttonless mouse with an internal scrollball, but there were several things that always annoyed me about that mouse, beginning with the scrollball and its tendency to clog and bind. This design flaw has plagued virtually everyone that has ever owned one including myself and is reason enough to consider the alternatives.
Logitech is a company I traditionally favor when it comes to input devices and since I’ve never owned a wireless mouse, I eventually decided to try the Logitech MX 620 Wireless Laser Mouse. at $59, it’s at the lower end of Logitech’s price scale while retaining many of the features found in the pricier MX and VX Revolution models. After putting the mouse through its paces, I can say that it’s a very good mouse that has a few small annoyances and one significantly larger one that I’ll get to momentarily. Overall however, it’s a solid product that’s definitely worth consideration.
Getting the MX 620 operational is a very simple process. Two provided AAA batteries are loaded into the bottom of the mouse. With the mac up and running, simply insert the USB micro-receiver into an available USB port and you’re good to go. Configuring the MX 620’s additional buttons requires downloading the free Logitech Control Center software from the Logitech website. It’s curious that the software was not provided on CD, as it is with other Logitech products…but downloading and installing the system preference pane was easy enough. Once installed, you can assign functions to the two additional buttons near the thumb rest as well as the button located under the scroll wheel itself. There is a dedicated search button near the forefinger which summons an OS search window when pressed. This is a handy feature, although I have to say that I inadvertently pressed it several times while on my way to the left click button. If you have better motor coordination, it likely won’t be an issue.
New Logitech Features
The most intriguing feature of the MX 620 for me was the Micro-Gear scroll wheel, a machined alloy disc with an inset of non-slip material. This metal scrollwheel has a wonderfully heavy and precise feel and a two position switch on the bottom of the mouse allows you to choose between traditional click-stops and a low-friction free rotation mode that makes scrolling through lengthy documents as easy as a flick of a finger. Of the two positions, I first preferred the free rotation setting because it allows for incredibly fast scrolling and can be fine-tuned even further by the Logitech software which can change both the speed and acceleration curves of the wheel itself. Unfortunately, the center point of the scroll-wheel on my unit was off slightly. I don’t know if this is an actual design flaw or perhaps an unintended mishap introduced during assembly, but when spinning there was a noticeable wobble in the scrollwheel. Because of this, the scroll action had a tendency to be inconsistent. Sometimes it would stop completely. Other times, the scrolling would continue slightly after I had stopped it as the uneven weight of the wheel caused it to wander. In time, this grew frustrating enough for me to re-enable the click-stops which do keep the scroll wheel from drifting. Still, it’s a shame that such a great idea was marred by something as basic as having the scrollwheel not properly centered. In a $59 mouse, this is annoying. In the $79 or $99 upgraded model, it would be far more infuriating. I have read of other users having this problem, so it seems I’m not alone. Hopefully, these are isolated incidents.
On the positive side, the mouse feels great in the hand, with the two central buttons falling naturally underneath the fingers and the curve of the left side provides a comfortable resting place for the thumb. The metal scroll wheel also has two positions to either side which allows a lateral push on the wheel to enable side to side scrolling, a very nice feature. You can also configure the button underneath the scrollwheel to perform a variety of tasks. I have it set to summon my desktop widgets, which is a very convenient way to access them. I found the tracking and precision of the MX 620 to be excellent and noticeably more precise than my older Mighty Mouse. I never experienced any kind of lag or difficulty in tracking. The wireless connection was never anything less than stellar.
I have always appreciated a certain heft to my peripherals, but was surprised by the overall weight of the MX 620. Installing the provided alkaline batteries made the mouse quite heavy and it required far more effort to move around than I’m personally used to. After experimenting, I found that substituting the stock alkaline batteries for lighter lithium AAA’s resulted in a 25% decrease in added weight, making the mouse feel both lighter and more nimble. Given how infrequently the batteries need to be changed, any cost difference between the two types is a minor consideration given how favorable the change can be.
If you’re looking for a nice wireless mouse, the Logitech MX 620 is definitely one to consider. It has very solid construction with a good selection of features, long battery life, and very precise tracking. The overall weight of the unit, something I deem to be a slight negative, can be mitigated by a switch to lighter batteries and while the balance issues with my MicroGear scrollwheel are unfortunate, the problem may not effect other units or simply may not be as annoying to others as it was to me. In any case, switching the scrollwheel into its click-stop mode solved my wandering problem and the performance in that mode has been commendable. Overall, the MX 620 is a very good wireless mouse that deserves consideration. Despite a few small annoyances, I consider it a solid upgrade.
VERY GOOD OVERALL