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Logitech set to bring about a (r)evolution

First INQpressions Logitech MX Revolution
Thu Nov 30 2006, 10:57
BACK IN AUGUST, Logitech launched a new line-up of wireless ratons, known to the world as "mice". Dubbed Revolution, MX and VX models were launched. The latter was designated for notebooks, while desktop users should buy the MX variant.

However, we would not advise to pick your model by listening to Logitech's product positioning. The selection between these two is pretty simple: if you have a smaller paw, pardon - hand, or just prefer smaller pointing devices, there isn't any reason why should you go for the MX - this mouse is really big and VX should suit you more, regardless of the designated desktop/mobile usage. The author of this article uses the MX Revolution for both desktop and mobile usage scenarios, because the idea of using a touchpad for hours in Photoshop just gives me the shivers.

Looks
alt='mxrev'
If looks could kill, this baby certainly packs some potential

Company reps are stressing the fact that a fancy design studio helped them in creation of this model, but we'll rather commend the whole team on the job at hand. At first look, this mouse just possesses that drool factor. The curvy, right-hand only design with a big resting point for the thumb is clearly a winner, because any design that saves your hand from moving on the desk should get an award for ergonomics. The inner side of this "rest zone" is padded with rubber, so you won't get that sweaty plastics feeling after couple of hours. Your thumb will also be an interactive user of this mouse thanks to the Forward (Welcome back! We missed you on G7) and Back buttons, there is also second wheel dubbed Quick-Flip which does not rotate fully, but only by 90 degrees back and forward.

Both left and right click "buttons" don't have visible separation between the clickable zone and the Revolution's body. The belly of the mouse features four Teflon pads, but we've noticed that the upper one wasn't 100% flat, it had a certain wave shape - but the precision wasn't reduced. In the middle, there is new mechanical scroll-wheel and Search button. The scroll wheel is the main reason why Logitech is calling this a revolution, although we would rather say it's a logical evolution of the scroll wheel, which was started by Microsoft just a little bit under 10 years ago.

alt='mxrev2'
Belly of the beast shows that black cover easily wears off

The MX Revolution relies on a 848nm laser, invisible to human eye - so no Anakin vs. Obi Wan (for that, you have WickedLasers), but you still should not look into the opening when the device is working. Connection is solved by a trusty 27 MHz RF connection, and the USB receiver is pretty much the best in the industry - small and lightweight for both notebook and desktop usage. The cradle looks pretty good, but we would prefer if the MX Revolution would fit perfectly every time - if it does not lie correctly, the battery won't charge.

"Revolutionary"
Unlike all of previous scroll wheels, Logitech implemented small engine which enables your mouse to scroll dozens of lines in a heartbeat. The principle is pretty simple: the scroll wheel acts normally when you use it as you would use scroll on other mice. But, if you roll the wheel, it will start spinning on its own. The maximum spinning time is around 10 seconds, enough for all 65 000 lines in Excel, thus scrolling through the app window at immense speed. We were sceptical at first, but we really got used to the fast scrolling down the longer pages.

By default, the difference between "click-by-click" and fast-scrolling is set at 50:50, but if you are browsing sites every day or going through very long presentations, setting it at 35:65 is really an ideal position. High usability is continued with Quick-Search button, lying just beneath the scroll wheel. This button instantly places you in Internet browser, enabling you to quickly search for the term you need. This is pretty good for everyday life, where you are browsing some document or a website and find a term which you do not understand or need to find a price for some product you encountered. Select the term, copy it, Quick Search and enter will do the job in a matter of seconds.

SetPoint saves the day…or not?
alt='setpointwheelconfig'
Configure the response of mechanical wheel

Even though the MX Revolution does not require installation of software to use the mouse, if you want to use the mechanical wheel installation of SetPoint is required. While we had no problems running the software for G5 and G7 mice, new 3.10 versions for MX Revolution proved to be a small resource hog, especially if you own a hardware-impaired computer.

During our month stint with SetPoint, we have noticed that our Samsung notebook became more sluggish when SetPoint software was running. Even though the machine has only 512MB of memory and cannot have more than 768MB, we have not experienced such slowdowns with older versions of SetPoint such as the old 2.6 version for the MX1000. Since Windows was freshly installed, we can only conclude that the software is really taxing on low-memory systems. On my testing desktops, the dual-core 4800+ and Kentsfield, SetPoint runs without any flaws, but both of these systems run with 2GB of system memory.

Battery
Logitech claims the battery life will last longer than its predecessors, but let's be realistic a bit: the battery inside the revolution may have an enlarged capacity when compared to G7, but new features inside the mouse reduce the battery life to 4-5 days of usage at best, which is still pretty good. On average, SetPoint starts at 100% battery life and suggests 14-16 days of work. If you are using a mouse around 6 hours a day, it will come with "two days per day" ratio, ending up with five days from three LED lights to blinking power LED on the body of the MX Revolution. Battery indicators are located lower than Back button, and depending on the size of your paw, you will see all indicators or just the top two.

alt='setpointbattery'

Overly optimistic assupmtion. It does not "learn" the way you handle the battery (e.g. measure power consumption in the course of 24 hours

Of course, since you are recharging El Raton by cradle, it is pretty much obvious that this curvy mouse will never run out of battery.

Productivity & Gaming
The key feature of the mechanical scroll wheel should be navigation in countless Excel spreadsheets, more comfortable web-browsing. During the launch, we were told about jitter less browsing and easier work in photo-editing applications.

For the test, this mouse replaced our trusty G5 (desktop) and G7 (mobile) mouse and results were surprising. The predecessor of the MX Revolution, the G7, was advertised as the ultimate wireless product for gaming, but besides the reviews on some sites, the G7 didn't fare all that well in LAN parties. The MX Revolution has finally changed that, because we haven't felt the lag of battery saving features in games. Using sniper rifles is now a pretty realistic proposition, which is surprising at least.

So, this baby can be used in gaming, but we would still give the thumb up to G5 mouse, because the weight is more adjustable and Teflon paddings were perfect. Bear in mind that this was not the only Revolution we saw with front pad being a bit poorly fitted.

When it comes to productivity, spreadsheets were really more comfortable to work in, side-scrolling improved significantly. I am usually using Photoshop to edit all of the pictures I publish, which includes editing 8Mpixel pictures or just editing RAW images for print publications. I chose Quick-tilt for Zooming and this is really comfortable to work with.

Conclusion
Logitech really managed to pull it off. The MX Revolution is a really good product to use and it feels really comfortable even for longer use. Adding the second "scroll" really adds to overall usability, especially in games or in applications such as Photoshop or any 3D modelling application, allowing you to rotate the model, for example.

But the question here remains: if you are a desktop user, is it really worth it to shell out over £60 for a mouse, when for the practically same amount of money you can get a superb G5 mice and Media Elite keyboard? Truth to be told, these are wired products, but still better products for gaming and everyday productivity. The MX Revolution is showing up really well, and the mechanical wheel has some potential, but there is still work to be done in order for a wireless mouse to become "mass der dinge" of mice world.

One thing is certain, though: Logitech will sell thousands of these for Yuletide shopping rush because of one thing: it just has the *bling*bling* factor and its really usable. ?

 

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