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.
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