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I have had my Logitech VX Revolution notebook mouse for fifteen weeks; here’s my review.
For the prior 32 months I was using Logitech’s MX1000. I was really excited to get this mouse because it was their first LASER mouse. Also, I had just become a full-time laptop user, so I wanted a wireless mouse. Concentrating on the word “wireless”; that was my big disappointment with the MX1000. While it was indeed untethered, it certainly was not a wireless deal. First of all was the combined USB receiver and charging stand, which had a USB cable, as expected. However, it didn’t take power from the USB port, instead it used a mains adapter for power.
Besides difficulty in using the wheel for a middle click, and the afore mentioned clutter, I found it to be a very good mouse.
Times move on though, and I wanted more streamline equipment. This is where Logitech’s new laser-based notebook mice come in. Logitech have developed a series of notebook mice with progressively smaller “dongle” type USB receivers. They are truly are wireless mice!
With the release of Logitech’s VX Nano mouse, I found that reviewers had to really start stressing the point that the mouse might be too small to be comfortable for certain hand sizes. This is why I finally opted for the VX Revolution. In numerous reviews it was described as “large for a notebook mouse”, which was good, as I’d be using it all day, everyday. Though I was sorely tempted by the virtually non-existent USB receiver of the VX Nano. Then, as a final sweetener to the deal, ebuyer.com reduced the price of the VX Revolution to £19.99. How could I say no?
Upon receiving the mouse, I admit I was shocked at the size, it was smaller than I’d imagined it to be. Although to be fair, I had just been trying to guess the size from various review photos!
To kick off the photos here are a couple of shots of how it (and my other purchase) arrived from Ebuyer:
Here are some photos of the VX Revolution next to my MX1000.
As far as comfort goes, I had a strange experience. The first day I used the VX Revolution, I got an ache in my arm and was concerned that I would have to return it. Although after the first day, it never happened again! In all fifteen weeks of use (minus day one), I have found it absolutely comfortable to use and have had no strain or aches at all. I guess that first day was simply my position and grip adjusting from over 2 years with the larger MX1000. Interestingly, the VX Revolution’s weight feels equal to the MX1000, despite the smaller size.
The first novel feature you will discover with this mouse is the spring loaded eject mechanism for the USB receiver dongle. (This receiver is remarkably small, even if it isn’t the Nano receiver). Actually you must be careful, because if you hold the mouse at just the right angle, it turns into quite an amusing projectile system! Ejecting and replacing the dongle inside the mouse also acts as a off/on switch. However, if you want to leave your dongle attached to your computer, there is an independent on/off button on the bottom of the mouse.
Here are some pictures of the dongle emerging from the mouse:
Also, here’s a picture of the dongle plugged in to my laptop with the mouse next to it, to give you an idea of scale:
As well as the laser system and power button, an additional control you will find on the base of the mouse is the key to the VX Revolution’s ace card – frictionless scrolling. The scroll wheel of the Revolution (and other similar Logitech mice) isn’t the light rubber or plastic wheel we’re all used to. Instead it is a metal fly-wheel. By adjusting the “microgear” lever on the base of the mouse, the normal ratchet clicks stop, and the wheel can freely spin, and spin, and spin, … As per the law of the conservation of angular momentum, the harder you flick it, the longer it will spin for. I cannot under-emphasis the revolutionary (sorry) difference this makes to scrolling through long pages. Actually, I’ve been amazed at how quickly screens of text can scroll by, I actually didn’t think Windows could render/animate scrolling as fast as it has been with this mouse. In fact, the only program that has stuttered, unable to keep up with the spinning wheel, is Internet Explorer 7!
Here’s a video demonstration of how effective the frictionless scrolling really is:
The microgear lever has three settings: full resistance, medium resistance, and zero resistance (I.e. frictionless). As I have become more used to frictionless scrolling, I mostly leave the mouse in that mode. However, there is one caveat here; because the wheel is completely loose, it can sometimes wobble when you move the mouse quickly. This causes some unexpected up/down movement in your application. It doesn’t happen all the time, but you just need to be aware sometimes that, depending what you’re doing, you will benefit from locking down the wheel. If I need a little more precision in my movements, I will use the medium resistance. The full resistance setting actually makes the wheel hard work to use. The only time I ever use it is in first-person shooter games where the scroll wheel switches between your various weapons. Speaking of games, I can testify that this mouse is perfectly competent for gaming.
Here’s a picture of the base of the mouse:
Lets move onto buttons and software. For the first few days, I used the mouse without installing any drivers. Now, it should be noted that the VX Revolution is by no means short of buttons. In fact, it has more controls on it than my old desktop MX1000 mouse. Without drivers, I had the expected function of left, right and middle click; browser back and forth; scroll wheel; and an added extra with the Revolution’s “Search” button. Without drivers, this launched XP’s standard file search mode of Explorer. I also tested the Revolution in Ubuntu Linux, in which I had identical functionality. In Ubuntu’s case, the search button launched their native search application “Beagle”. Installing the Windows drivers allowed me to remap all of the mentioned buttons (I use the search button to launch Logitech’s Alt-tab substitute, “Document Flip”). However, the drivers also gave access to the function of the scroll wheel’s tilt control (allowing you to scroll sideways, simulating the left/right cursor keys), and the zoom slider. This slider is a nice control for making text bigger or smaller; and you can customise it for other functions, such as a volume control in your multimedia applications. I have read that there are ways to get these working in Ubuntu as well, although I haven’t had time to explore that yet.
Speaking of the Windows drivers. These also give you real-time feedback on the state of the battery. However, if you are a Linux user, or using the mouse on someone else’s computer who doesn’t have the Logitech driver suite installed, the mouse has it’s own LED indicators. They are not permanently on, as this would be a waste of energy. Instead, they briefly illuminate when you switch on, and whenever you give a short press on the power button. There are three green squares and a green battery light. As the power reduces, less of the squares light up, and when the battery hits critical, the battery light changes to red. You really can do without the drivers if you so choose.
The VX Revolution uses a single AA battery. The supplied Duracell battery lasted exactly five weeks. After the Duracell, I tried an Energizer Lithium AA battery which lasted for 9 week and 5 days, almost twice long.
Here’s a picture of the power indicators:
To save power, the mouse switches off after roughly five minutes, and instantly wakes up as soon as you touch or nudge it.
I think the VX Revolution notebook mouse offers outstanding value for money. It’s build quality and style definitely makes it look expensive. For mobile users it is perfect, there is just the mouse, and the dongle, and that’s it. Although bring your own carry case, this doesn’t have one with it.
Function wise, it hasn’t let me down, all controls are easy to use. The only minor criticism is having to turn it over to adjust the microgear, although this inconvenience is balanced by the addition of frictionless scrolling. The frictionless scrolling is worth the price alone and I can’t recommend it strongly enough.
The mouse is definitely small, although speaking for myself, I have forgotten the size. I can honestly say I have used it constantly, for fifteen weeks and have had no ill effects (barring the first day!). As such I would even recommend this for desktop users (because I use my laptop as a desktop).