My first mouse (and the one I keep coming back to) was a Logitech M215 that I purchased to complement my Dell Mini netbook. It was small, cheap and light. My only real complaint about it was that for long gaming sessions my hand started to cramp up due to how I was forced to hold the tiny device.
Naturally, since I just bought a Mac I first tried the Apple "Magic" Mouse, their latest Bluetooth wireless accessory. It's a very svelte and elegant looking gadget, and the fact that it's also a touchpad is pretty geeky cool.
Apple Magic Mouse
- Pleasant to look at, great conversation piece
- Apple product, so build quality is quite solid
- Small footprint, very low profile
- Uses regular, user replaceable AA batteries
- Had no communication issues with my MacBook Pro
- Multi-touch surface is just really neat and works well
- Too small for my hands, forces a "claw of death" grip
- Heavy, and has a tendency to slide off my lap desk
- Takes a few seconds on wake from sleep for the mouse to reconnect
The bottom line for the Apple Magic mouse that convinced me to return it was comfort. I used it for an evening of browsing and some light gaming. By the end of the night my hand hurt quite a bit, due to the unnatural claw-like position I had to use to operate it (you pretty much have to use your thumb and ring finger to move it around and keep your first two fingers in the air). No bueno.
My next attempt was with the current flagship mouse from Logitech: the Performance MX. It claims to be able to track on clear glass using its "Darkfield" tracking technology. It actually cost me more than the Apple mouse, which is saying something. I used it for an evening and into the following day. Although I had significantly less pain in my hand, other issues cropped up.
Logitech Performance Mouse MX
- Full-sized, comfortable design
- "Unifying" nano receiver works with up to 6 devices (mice, keyboards)
- User-replaceable, rechargeable battery that can charge via USB while mouse is in use.
- Configuration software that works with Windows and OS X
- "Darkfield" tracking really does let you use the mouse on just about any surface
- Faux-leather zip case for storing cords and accessories
- Heavy as a brick
- Very large, and strangely shaped
- Tracking laser is under your thumb, not the center of the mouse
- Tracking is very unstable while playing games in OS X.
- Slides off my lapdesk a lot
I beat Doom 3 with the Peformance MX, and I was feeling pretty good about it. It felt good in my hand, although I noticed just how massive the thing was. My arm felt some of the strain of having to keep the heavy mouse from sliding backwards on my lap desk (I tend to use it at a slight tilt).
The mouse is rechargeable, but it just uses a single NiMH battery which you can replace with any brand you like. I got a good solid four hours before I went down one bar (out of 3) on the charge so it seems like it would last a while. You can plug the included mini-USB to USB cable into the mouse and use it like a regular USB mouse while it charges. It also has a wall adapter for overnight charging. All of these accessories fit in a nice zip-up bag that's included.
The buttons are easily configurable using the Logitech Control Center software, either from the included CD or the Logitech Support Site. There's a button under your thumb that brings up Mission Control on OS X Lion, which is handy. All in all, it was a very cool mouse, with one fatal flaw.
When I fired up Torchlight the next morning, I noticed my mouse cursor had started to jump around like it was on crack. I tested it with a few different programs just to make sure, and all of them exhibited this behavior. I looked up the problem on several forums including Logitech Support, and there was no clear-cut answer to why this happened. Whatever the reason, I couldn't justify paying $80 for a mouse that skipped around on me, so I ended up taking it back.
Where does that leave me? Currently I'm stuck using my M215. It's small, but it tracks just fine and doesn't slide off my desk every time I let go of it. Honestly, I don't know what I'll try out next. I'm considering giving Microsoft's mice a try. I've had good luck with them in the past.
UPDATE 12/26/2011 - I purchased a Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 today and noticed the same crazy pointer behavior while I was playing games. This leads me to believe that the issue I had with the Logitech Performance MX was not due to driver issues as I previously suspected, unless both Microsoft and Logitech have the same bug in their software.
The issue seems to be confined to when I'm performing something that's CPU-intensive, like playing a 3D accelerated game. I haven't seen the same erratic behavior during normal usage. I find it strange that my low-tech M215 is unaffected by this. The only explanation I can give for that is both of the mice I used that exhibited the jumpiness had newer sensor technology ("Darkfield" and "BlueTrack"). Whatever the reason, it's very frustrating.