A couple years ago, I bought a Logitech wireless desktop that included a keyboard as well as the MX700 mouse. It had the advantage of being cordless, used 2 AA rechargable batteries in the mouse (for which it included a charger), and used 2 regular AA batteries in the keyboard which usually lasted around 6 months. I put a lot of wear on it. Within about a year, I’d worn off the mouse feet. Eventually the silver paint over the mouse buttons wore off, leaving white plastic beneath. However, over the past few months, it started showing signs that it was at the end of it’s life. The keys on the keyboard would act as though they were stuck, or wouldn’t work at all. Sometimes the mouse buttons wouldn’t work at all, and sometimes one mouse press would actually act as 2. Click-dragging often wouldn’t work well, as it would “release” while I was dragging for no apparant reason.
As you can guess, I started looking for a new keyboard and mouse. Since the old wireless was a pretty heavy “brick” (those batteries add a lot of weight), and because batteries themselves can be annoying (especially when they die at inopportune times), I decided to go with something wired. For the keyboard, I just settled for an el-cheapo $20 USB keyboard. For the mouse, I decided to go with the Logitech G5.
The Logitech G5 Mouse
The mouse itself was $60 CDN (regular price was $85). I’m not going to go into loads of technical details (there are many other sites that can give you a hefty review). Basically, it was very similar to the MX700. You do lose 3 buttons though. There is only a “back” button on the side (the old one had both “back” and “forward”). Above and below the scroll wheel, the old one had buttons which would scroll when you held them down – the G5 on the other hand has 2 buttons, but they’re both below the scroll wheel and are used for adjusting the resolution/sensitivity of the mouse. No big deal for me though, as i never really used those buttons on the old mouse anyway. The G5 does come with the mouse-tilt feature. I’m not crazy about the feature, but fortunately, you have to push a fair bit for it to “click” and tilt, so I haven’t ever done it accidently. For those who like to use the tilt, you might want to try some other mice first – i’m seen many that will tilt with extreme ease (even to the point where you have to be very careful *not* to tilt when you don’t want to).
The ability to adjust the sensitivity/resolution is a little neat. I really don’t think that many people are going to bother adjusting it “on the fly” though. Personally, I picked the highest setting, adjusted the mouse sensitivity in my OS to tweak it a bit, and left it from there. Personally, I think the adjustable speeds are a little overrated, and it will probably be very few who actually use them to any frequent extent.
Problems, problems, problems…
One of my brothers was also looking for a mouse. He’s actually tried quite a few without liking them, so I told him he might want to give the G5 a try. He bought one, and within about a day he noticed a problem. As it turned out, there were “dead spots” in the scroll wheel. What I mean by this is there were certain points in the scroll wheel where if you clicked forward or backward, it would do nothing. He brought it back to the store and exchanged it for another one. Low and behold, this one also had a “dead spot”. He also wasn’t crazy about the feel of the mouse (apparantly his pinky and ring finger get “sore” on certain mice after extended use), so rather than exchanging it for yet another G5, we decided he should try a different mouse altogether.
The Creative Fatal1ty 1010
The next mouse my brother would try was the Creative Fatal1ty 1010. It was $50 CDN. You can tell from the name (“Fatality” spelled with a “1” instead of an “i”) that it’s a gamer’s mouse. It seems a bit shorter than the G5 was, and a bit wider as well. It also has a thumb-side button (although it’s a little smaller and a little farther back than I’d like), and the sensitivity/resolution is adjustable as well. One thing the Fatal1ty has is an additional far-right mouse button. Immediately, my brother liked the feel of this one. The extra mouse button was an added bonus. Because of the width (and the extra button), my brother was able to keep his ring finger on the far-right button, and his fingers didn’t get sore.
–Notes and Comparisons
First and foremost, I prefer the G5. My brother prefers the Fatal1ty. My best guess as to why we differ is because we each hold the mouse differently. The key difference is the right-mouse button. I use my ring-finger here (middle finger always on the scroll wheel). My brother uses his middle finger on the right-mouse button, moving it to the scroll wheel when he needs to (his ring-finger therefore just sits unused where-ever it happens to lay). The extra width of the Fatal1ty gives him more room for the ring finger, and the extra far-right button gives it something to do. He binds that key to certain abilties when he plays games, so it offers him not only extra comfort, but an extra feature as well.
If you push down the scroll-wheel to use as a button, you’ll prefer the Fatal1ty. It’s easy to push down as opposed to the G5 which takes a lot of effort. Personally, I’ve never liked using the wheel as a button, and I’m prone to accidently push it down when using other mice. Therefore, I like the G5 in that respect. Again, this *may* have to do with whether you always have your middle finger resting on the scroll wheel (like me), or only when it’s not on the right mouse button (like my brother).
As far as the thumb-button on the side goes, we both prefer the location and size of the Logitech. The Fatal1ty’s is farther back and smaller.
For the scroll-wheel itself, it’s worth noting that they both “click” while you scroll (you may have seen others that don’t click at all and essentially free-wheel – many, including the 2 of us don’t like the free-wheeling style). The Fatal1ty is a little easier to roll than the G5, but they’re both quite similar.
Weights – They both include weights. The G5 has a little tin with quite a few weights in it that you can use to add weight to the mouse and help add weight and even “balance” it if you should feel that one side is a little heavier than the other. The weights go into a little orange cartridge which slides into the mouse. The Fatal1ty on the other hand just has 3 weights – light, medium, or heavy in the form of a red circular “block” that can be switched out in the top. The G5 wins here for possible combinations, but to be honest, I think the idea of up to 8 weights in different combinations is a little gimmiky… really, how many people have you heard say “if only the upper right of the mouse was 1.8g heavier!”? I suspect that most people will either use 0 weights, all the weights, or just some of the weights to get it somewhere in the middle. If you’re anal about the precise weight of your mouse though, the Logitech will give you more options. Because of the little “tin”, you have a nice place to store unused weights with the Logitech as well. For most, either will be fine though.
Software – Both come with software. Since I hate installing extra junk that sucks up memory with little value added, I didn’t install the software on either. If you’re big on programming the buttons to perform certain functions in Office or in your web browser, you may want to install it. Otherwise, they all still behave with the default functionality, and if you play games, you can program the keys there without installing the mouse software.
A note on the Logitech G5 scroll wheel:
As you’ll recall, my brother tried two G5’s. Each had a dead spot (or dead spots) in the scroll wheel. Curious, I opened up a long web page, and scrolled through with the wheel one click at a time on my own computer. As it turns out, my G5 has a dead spot in the scroll wheel too! After the LED issues I had with my Logitech headset, I’m starting to wonder if Logitech quality is going down the toilet. I love the design of most Logitech stuff, but if they’re cheaping out in the manufacturing process, well…
I’m going to break it down this way: The mice are very similar in most aspects. Comfort and ease of use are going to be the determining factors for you. Buy based on the look/feel of the mouse (unless you specifically want the extra far-right button on the Fatal1ty). If you want more of a black/white recommendation than that, let me make a bold generalization and assume that everyone who uses a mouse the way I do is like me, and everyone who uses a mouse the way my brother does is like my brother…
If you use your ring-finger on the right mouse button, go for the G5. If you use your middle-finger on the right mouse button, go for the Fatal1ty.
Because of the scroll wheel issues we encountered on 3 different mice, if you do buy the Logitech, make sure you can return it if you experience the same issues.