Shiny Metal Tiger

Experiences in Baltimore, MD

Weapon of Choice

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… or so it says on the box of my new Logitech G500 mouse. To be honest, I only picked that title so I could link you this piece of excellence.

This most recent purchase was prompted by the scroll wheel of my otherwise lovely Roccat Kone mouse last Monday. Even though it has served me well, I opted to get something else to replace it, since (A) breaking scroll wheels were rumored to be a not infrequent problem with that mouse and (B) it’s not available in the US, so I can neither make use of my warranty nor buy a new one of I wanted to.

At this stage this is starting to sound like a very dull post about a guy who got a new toy, and is about to explain all the awesome technical details about it. And it kind of is. BUT, I figured that with a new spin, I might actually produce something that had some value for other people and thus might be worth posting. So instead of telling you about the cool features, I’m going to tell you why you need a mouse with these features. Whether you actually do or not is up to you, but I’ll offer some ideas that might boost your digital productivity, or at least convenience.

My old Roccat Kone (right) and spanking new Logitech G500 (left)

Shared features:

  1. Ergonomic shape. Anything else is just uncomfortable and potentially unhealthy. I bet you already know that you need this.
  2. 8 programmable buttons, aside from the obvious left and right click. What’s that you say? Who could possibly need that many buttons? Aside from this guy, you need that many! Here’s why: You need one to go forward and one to go backwards in your internet browser, or just windows. Then you need one cycle between open applications, and another that just hotswaps you to the last used application, for when grabbing data from one program and putting it in another. That’s four. Then you need one where you hold it down and that lets you zoom in documents or increase text size in your browser with the scroll wheel. Add one to toggle sideways scrolling (for large documents/websites) and another to change profile and… ok, maybe you only needed seven buttons, but these guys had 8. Why do you need a button to change profile?
  3. Because you don’t need to do go back and forth in your browser when you’re working with Photoshop. Fortunately, the mice have five profiles with separate button programming, and most of the time they automatically detect which program you’re using and selects the appropriate profile. So when I alt-tab from Firefox to Photoshop (no wait, when I press my hotswap button), my back and forward buttons now instead mean undo and redo respectively. Useful! But that’s not enough. What you really need is a mouse with onboard memory to store those profiles, so that if you plug it out and bring it to work or anywhere else, the buttons will still do the same thing! Mobility without loss of (your newly improved) productivity!
  4. High quality sensor. Ever slammed your mouse into the table because it just would not move up and right for the life of it? Yeah, you need a decent sensor. Did the mouse break when you did? A positive side effect is that overall build quality generally follows, so your new mice might even survive the experience.

Aside from that, each mouse has an additional useful feature. For the Roccat, this was five adjustable color LEDs. Surely that serves no purpose other than showing off at GeekFest2010? Wrong! I mentioned that the mice were mostly able to select the right profile for your program. Sometimes they fail though, but by giving each profile a different set of colors, you can tell at a glance which profile you’re using. Useful! The Logitech on the other hand has their new HyperGear scroll wheel. Basically, you can toggle it so that one flick of the wheel sends it turning and turning, casually scrolling you through that 40-page document until you find what you’re looking for. Surprisingly useful.

All in all, yeah, I just got a new toy and I like it. Excessively tinkering and optimizing and streamlining is fun for me, not for everyone. But I’d be surprised if there wasn’t at least one of the things I’m doing with these mice that would be useful to you.

Written by Martin

2010/07/29 at 23:10

Posted in Uncategorized

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