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Review: Logitech Anywhere MX mouse

January 5th, 2010

The Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX comes with an easy to use USB wireless plug and lives up to the billing.

One of the conundrums that is often discussed and taught in economics 101 is the pricing paradox of water and diamonds.  Diamonds are quite pretty, relatively rare and do have certain, adapted uses other than simply being set in jewelry; however, as a whole, they are far from a critical object.  On the other hand, water is indispensable but, in the industrialized West, relatively plentiful, even in clean, drinkable form.  So why are the low-utility diamonds priced so much higher than the imperative, life-sustaining H2O?

In the everyday life of a lawyer, few things are as important as having good lighting, a comfortable chair, an ergonomic workspace and a reliable mouse.  What’s that, you say, on the end?  Yes, the mouse is, as water is in the marketplace, an undervalued commodity.

This past year, I’ve dealt with a computer setup that has frustrated me at times.  My mouse didn’t quite stretch to the edge of my desk, so while using the mouse, I’d find myself haunched over my desk a bit.  My back started bothering me and I realized that my setup was no longer working.  When my industrial issue Dell mouse started giving out (requiring a quick un- and re-plug of the USB cord), I’d had enough.


Reading Wired‘s holiday best gadget guide, I took keen note of the Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX.  A wireless mouse with an excellent signal, it was rated the top device in its class.  Add in that the atypical sensor setup made the mouse accurate for use on any surface (including glass) and I was sold.  I passed along the info to my mom and my sister and informed them that this would be the perfect Christmas gift for me.  Little Sis’ came through on the 25th.

I immediately began using it and have been greatly pleased.  It is everything I hoped it would be. Installation was quite simple.  I inserted two, included AA batteries into the mouse via the simple underside latch.  The stud-style USB wireless transmitter/receiver was equally simple to install and immediately picked up the plug-and-play drivers.  Sliding the on-off switch, which also serves as a laser cover when not in use, and I was ready to fly.

The wireless connection has been strong, meaning no loss of signal or interruption in use.  The laser really does pick up everything on every surface I’ve tried to use the mouse on (which has really only been on documents and my desk — the mahogany one viewed in the picture).  No mousepad is necessary with this device.

The Anywhere Mouse MX uses dark field illumination to read imperfections on transparent surfaces and read mouse movements and normally require a truly reflective or opaque surface.

One of the more important elements of a modern mouse is button placement.  The Anywhere MX is ergonomically structured and has intuitive button placement, including a web browser “back and forward” combo on the left side of the device.  The top of the device features an easy to grip scroll wheel and a scroll drag button (allowing you to scroll by pushing the mouse forward and back).  There is a standard left/right click setup as well.

I’ve found my posture at my desk has been slowly improving and I can lean back and use the mouse in comfort.  Overall it grades out as an A+ for features and use.  Really, the only negative is that the wheel scrolls almost too easily.  Most scroll wheels have some friction that prevents overly rapid scrolling down.  Not the Anywhere MX.  If you spin the wheel at a high speed, you will get stuck in an advanced and uncontrolled downward scroll, particularly in Word documents.  This proves to be a minor nuisance and is fixed by scrolling more patiently and using the scroll button when you want to quickly move down a page or document.

[UPDATED EDIT – The wheel on the top of the mouse can be shifted between a “friction-less” (i.e., free scroll) mode and a “friction-based” (i.e., clicking scroll) mode by depressing it, such that the wheel can be moved quickly or at a more standard pace.  I figured this out rather quickly after writing this, but never edited the post.  It is a good feature to have, but one which is not readily noticeable.  I personally only use the “friction-less” mode on occasion and prefer the controlled scrolling.]

In sum, despite the scrolling issue — which should self-correct with adapted use — the Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX rates as a very strong buy from this gadget geek and office cog.  It is easily the best mouse I’ve ever used.  I’ve not tested it for gaming, but for the worker who sits at a desk all day, this could be the product for you.

The Anywhere MX is not cheap, checking in at $79.99 on full retail; however, this brings us back to the paradox of value.  Stealing from Wiki here, I’ll quote Adam Smith:

What are the rules which men naturally observe in exchanging [goods] for money or for one another, I shall now proceed to examine. These rules determine what may be called the relative or exchangeable value of goods. The word VALUE, it is to be observed, has two different meanings, and sometimes expresses the utility of some particular object, and sometimes the power of purchasing other goods which the possession of that object conveys. The one may be called “value in use;” the other, “value in exchange.” The things which have the greatest value in use have frequently little or no value in exchange; on the contrary, those which have the greatest value in exchange have frequently little or no value in use. Nothing is more useful than water: but it will purchase scarce anything; scarce anything can be had in exchange for it. A diamond, on the contrary, has scarce any use-value; but a very great quantity of other goods may frequently be had in exchange for it.

Most of the time, one doesn’t think of spending hard earned dollars for work accessories.  Sure, one might splurge for an extra monitor to increase productivity — even if your employer won’t pay for it, as mine wouldn’t, I think this is a worthwhile step.  Yet, one rarely thinks about spending money on something like a mouse.  Typically, mouses are $5 add-ons that one normally doesn’t ever pay for.  But really it is one of the most essential parts of using a computer.  Ever since Windows 2 or the Macintosh, we’ve been using and taking mouses for granted (except those forced to use pointers on early laptops… I shudder at the memory).

Well perhaps the mouse is like water.  One would have difficulty finding value in exchange for a mouse, but there is tremendous value in use for a mouse… even moreso for a high end one.  The Anywhere MX, for me and perhaps for most any worker who spends 60+ hours per week at a desk, has tremendous value in use.  Just as one should appreciate a pristine water supply over a murky one, I recommend giving the Anywhere MX a run over a standard, run-of-the-mill mouse.

Buy the Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX on Amazon by clicking here.

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