Logitech MX510 Performance Optical Mouse
At a Glance
For PC gamers, the difference between a good mouse and a so-so mouse can mean the difference between life and death (in the game, of course). That's why corded optical mice were so quickly adopted by gamers: The tiny camera inside optical mice can translate even the most microscopic twitch into a winning move. But there's always room for improvement.
Take Logitech's $50 MX510 Performance Optical Mouse, for example. This corded mouse, targeted at gamers, is one of the company's new line that features the Logitech MX Optical Engine. According to Logitech, the tiny camera used by the mouse captures 4.7 megapixels per second, and the camera scans a larger part of your mouse pad or desk than most other optical mice would do. That means the mouse moves more accurately and more responsively, translating motion from your hand to action in the game. While I found that the mouse did translate my hand motion more accurately than some of the other optical mice I use, that more accurate translation didn't necessarily improve my gaming.
Designed for right-handed people, the MX500 also features several extra buttons, including a single button that replaces Alt-Tab (to switch between applications in Windows), a pair of buttons on the left side of the mouse just for navigating forward and back in a Web browser, and a pair of buttons surrounding the scroll wheel (one above, one below) called the Cruise Control scroll buttons. Note: Logitech doesn't manufacture a leftie's version.
The Web navigation buttons caused more problems for me than they solved, though it might have more to do with how I hold my mouse--loosely. I found that, when switching between typing and mousing quickly, I'd often hit one of these navigation buttons as I reached for the mouse again, which would accidentally step me back one page from the Web page I was using. I ended up disabling these buttons rather than risk losing the contents of another blog posting or entry on a message board to an inadvertent "Back" click.
What was handy? I liked the two Cruise Control buttons, which let you scroll up and down when you're in an open document or Web page at a steady rate. I got so used to using these that, upon returning the mouse to my editor, I found myself reaching for the smooth spot under my regular mouse's scroll wheel for the buttons. I'm a right-handed gamer, and the design of the mouse made the long hours of gaming a lot more comfortable, though my lefty wife wasn't too thrilled when I moved our ambidextrous mouse to a desk drawer temporarily.
However, my gaming didn't improve after using the MX510 for two weeks. Logitech purports that its mouse technology is designed to minimize the problem many gamers face: running out of mouse pad and having to lift the mouse up and over in the middle of heated action. In this regard, I didn't see much improvement, since I still found myself sliding off the mouse pad occasionally. But the shape of the mouse's thumb rest, curved like a curling ocean wave, did make it easier to pick the mouse up in a hurry without its slipping out of my fingers.
If you're not the world's greatest gamer, the MX510 isn't going to turn you into an old pro overnight. But the extra buttons, used carefully, can enhance regular old mousing and save the tendons of your index finger for another battle.