Previously I reviewed Logitech’s MX300 mouse, which was an entry type mouse for the series. It had a nice feel and scrolled really smoothly across the screen. The big brother of the MX300 is up today and it’s one of the best mice I’ve used in a long time. It’s just too bad the Logitech software impedes what otherwise would be the mouse of choice in this reviewer’s eye.
The MX 500 optical mouse is one damn fine mouse. Featuring no less than eight programmable buttons, the MX 500 offers a great number of functionality on one hand. It’s got a cool design, cool look, and a great feel.
The MX line has all their mice in a black and gray color scheme, which I really like. It goes well with a lot of computers coming out nowadays in the black or dark gray colors. Physically, I think it’s an evolution from the Dual Optical that Logitech has. Like Microsoft’s refinements on the cordless Optical to their original Intellimouse design, the MX 500 has many refinements over the Dual Optical that makes it a very comfortable mouse to handle. The thumb recess has a nice shape and is deep enough for a comfortable thumb rest. Looking at the mouse from the top and you’ll wonder where the main mouse buttons are. Usually there are two buttons with a divider space between them to outline the buttons. The MX 500’s design features one long plastic piece that runs from the back of the mouse to the front where the wheel mouse and middle buttons separate the plastic in two. The main mouse buttons are almost “hidden” by the design of the top. Sure enough when you press the left and right areas of the plastic, the mouse clicks. It’s really cool and you have to see it to really appreciate the sleek design.
So what’s new in the MX engine of this line of mice? Well for starters the optical camera is capable of processing 4.7 megapixels per second. Logitech also claims their sensor is 80% larger than most sensors out there. The larger sensor helps with tracking on more difficult surfaces since it can take a picture of a bigger area and gives it more of a picture to compare movements with. The mouse has a resolution of 800DPI for a smoother, more accurate cursor control on screen. Also, the sensor is recessed farther into the mouse to allow it to capture more of the surface you are gliding over. All in all, these and other factors help produce a superior mouse movement.
Yes the mouse has eight programmable buttons. Not counting the thumb, main, and wheel mouse buttons there are three new buttons that are lined up with the wheel. Above the wheel is the scroll up button and below the wheel is a scroll down button. The tiny buttons serve to traverse documents and web pages by just holding the buttons down. Basically they do the same thing the mouse wheel does except you don’t scroll of course. Below the scroll down button is the Quick Launch button. If you read my MX 300 review then you know what this does but here’s the except from my other review:A new feature that Logitech has included is the Quick Switch button located just below the center of where the two mouse buttons meet. The tiny little button, when pressed, acts like when you hold the Alt-Tab buttons down in Windows. Hitting the button will bring up a menu of open applications and windows in a little box. Hovering over and pressing the button on a listing will bring that selection to the forefront for you to use.
These are the default functions so if you want to change them you can easily with Logitech’s driver suite. I did use the Quick Switch feature a lot but opted to change the scroll up and scroll down buttons as I enjoy using the wheel more.
Speaking of the wheel, it does seem the scrolling friction was a little too strong. I prefer a smooth soft roll but the MX 500’s wheel took a lot more effort to scroll than most. Hopefully it’ll wear down in time but the wheel doesn’t feel right as of this writing.
While Logitech’s drivers contain a good number of options, I had many troubles with it during games. It seems that the mouse wheel won’t work in any games I tried with Logitech’s software loaded. I had to kill the software in the task manager of my Windows XP machine to enable the mouse wheel. Ending the software also ended the mappings of my other buttons thus being useless in games, as games don’t recognize those buttons yet. I tried Logitech’s registry change but even that didn’t work. It’s really too bad cause this mouse really feels great and I’d really like to take advantage of the extra buttons but alas the drivers seem to have a problem on my machine. In fact, I’ve done some research and there are a good number of users out there experiencing the same problem with various Logitech mice. I hope that Logitech looks into the matters a little further and provides a better fix as theirs didn’t fix mine. I am a little more harsh on the driver issue of the MX 500 than I was on the MX300 because the MX500 has a lot more buttons that can be used in games and leaving the mouse crippled in terms of button functionality warrants a bigger criticism here than in the other mouse. At least with the MX300 only one button is affected if you turn off the software. Here we have five and I would love to use all five instead of being handicapped by driver issues.
For feel and accuracy, I think the MX 500 surpasses the Intellimouse Optical 3.0
that has been my main mouse for a year now. It glides really well and provides a very accurate translation of your hand movement on screen. Keeping up with quick flicks of the hand is no problem for the MX500 and I really commend Logitech on developing a nice engine in powering their latest optical mice. If the driver suite didn’t interfere with games, I’d put this mouse at the top of the list. If you have problems with the drivers and can stand the hassle of ending the Logitech software or using basic mouse drivers for games then go for this mouse. You’ll be amazed at how accurate and smooth the mouse feels. If you play a lot of games primarily I’d definitely purchase it at a place with a good return policy so that you can take it back in case you have driver issues like I did. Medal of Honor
was one of the few games that worked with the wheel and boy was it a blast to use. The smooth and accurate tracking enabled me to rack up a large number of kills easily with my sub machine gun. Sniping was a lot better with the improved mouse handling as I piled up headshots in the destroyed village level. Medal of Honor was one game where the mouse shined. Unreal Tournament 2003
exhibited the wheel problem and gave me fits when trying to change weapons. When I didn’t need to use the wheel to switch weapons, the game played extremely well and I was able to track my opponents pretty easily. Battlefield 1942
also gave me problems with the wheel mouse. Through it all though the bottom line is that the mouse moved and felt smooth during slow and quick movements, which is what you want in an optical mouse. Accuracy was dead on and you’ll definitely notice the difference.
The MX 500 is one driver suite shy of being the best mouse out there right now. Wheel incompatibilities with certain games prevent this mouse from gaining a higher grade. Even with its problems, I am still using the mouse because it just feels better than the Microsoft one. I really hope Logitech fixes the problems in the next driver release. If they do, you’re looking at the best mouse out there in my opinion for games and general use. It’s expensive but the multitude of buttons, smooth motion, and feel makes this mouse worth it. Logitech’s MX 500 is the next generation in optical mice and I for one feel that there’s nothing out there right now to compete with it.
If the drivers are fixed soon, this is the king of optical mice for games and everyday use. Its silky smooth movement will have you earning high scores in all games.