The USS Quad Damage

Review: Logitech MX Revolution

If you're thinking of buying one, read this review first

If you’re an educated buyer, you’ll read the reviews before you buy a product. If you’re slightly less educated, you’ll buy the product but read the reviews just before you open it, just in case it’s a dud. If you’re me, you’ll be swayed by the pretty girls in the store who want to open up your mouse to play with it and “promise not to return it”. Hmm...

If a girl wants to play with anything of mine, I’m not going to want to return it, but let’s assume for a second that this “mouse” isn’t going to make girls more attracted to you. Let’s assume you’re an educated buyer and you buy this thing. Will you be satisfied?

The short answer: If you paid $180 for it, no. You see, you may look at the reviews giving the mouse 8 out of 10 (which is pretty good), or look at the design awards it’s gotten and say "well, it may not be the best mouse in the world, or even very good, but it’s probably still worth $180, and that still makes it a freaking great mouse. The truth is that it’s not a mouse at all.

It looks like a mouse at first glance, and even when you pull it out of it’s packaging, plug it in, and start using it, you’ll go "“yep... it's pretty mousey”. But it’s only when you really start using it that you’ll realise the terrible truth.

But first, let’s go through it’s main selling point: The mad scroll wheel. The scroll wheel is sweet. It goes from a clicky scroll wheel to a “free-spin” mode, which means that not only can you spin the wheel when you’ve got nothing better to do, it also means that you can quickly browse huge documents. The best thing about it is that it’s software controlled, so you can choose different modes for different applications and what-not. If the only application you use is Microsoft Word (or some equivalent) then this “mouse” is great, except for the fact that it’s not a mouse at all.

The biggest issue with this “mouse”, bar none, is that the people who made it seem to hate the middle mouse button. In fact, there’s a pretty solid resentment of the middle mouse button for no reason that I can understand. I’m a Linux user, so the middle mouse button is an ordinary mouse button. Further, pretty much every implementation of middle mouse button has been acceptable to me (except for the Logitech trackman, which has been pretty shithouse.

Every mouse, from a $5 one to a $500 one (with the exception of the mac monstrosities) can do the middle mouse button fine. The Revolution does not. By default, the middle mouse button is used to switch between free spin and clicky spin. It can be re-mapped to the middle mouse button, but it just doesn’t work properly. You can’t do a click and drag with the middle button, you can’t just press it, you have to press it hard, and even then the contact is pretty shitty. It bounces, and the mouse button basically doesn’t work reliably at all.

Worse, in Linux you need software to make this work. You see, the default for the mouse is to use the middle mouse button to do the free-spin / clicky shift. The mouse, despite having 12 odd buttons, doesn’t have a middle mouse button, one of the primary buttons on a mouse, by default. Even when it does it’s shit.

The second biggest issue with this mouse is it’s tracking. Dear god is it shit. I heard that:

  • Cordless mice had improved with their lag, and
  • Optical mice were pretty much spot on with their tracking now

The second point has been consistent with my experience, and even the first is sort of true (cordless mice are laggy, but it’s not unacceptable now). However, this mouse is one of the worst in terms of tracking (although not lag). I have a simple Microsoft Intellimouse at work, and it’s great. I can draw things using it, sign my name, and basically get the pointer from point A to point B pretty proficiently. Not so with the Revolution. It takes a great amount of work to move your mouse just so. You don’t notice it when you first use it, but when you’ve got to do a lot of precise movements it feels like a drunken mouse.

So it hasn’t got a middle mouse button and can’t track properly, which is something even a mouse one tenth of it’s price can do. Ergo, it is not a mouse at all. I wish I’d spent my money on a G5 laser, which is at least corded, or maybe an MX1000 laser, which seems old fashioned enough that I can trust.

It’s just such a pity that all mice have become wireless now. I’m thinking that even if I got myself a G5 laser, in 10 years it would need replacing, and the way mice are going, in 10 years mice will be completely unusable.