Review: Logitech G9 Laser Mouse

So, of Logitech’s Big Three mice, I don’t know which is the sexiest. The MX Revolution is certainly a looker, but this G9’s understated profile and swappable shell is also pretty nice. The MX Air is like a critter out of Halo, but since I’ve never touched one we’ll leave it out of the rest of this review. In any case, it’s safe to say that Logitech has some good-looking mice, and this one is no exception. But when you’re laying out 100 clams for a mouse, it better perform well too, because although Logitech has been the big dog of the mouse world for a while, they can’t afford to be complacent; Microsoft and smaller competitors like Razer are always nipping at their heels.

mouseleds.jpgThe G9 is a serious gamer’s mouse. This thing is all about customization. Most prominently, it has that feature now common on high-end mice, on-the-fly dpi setting indicated by an LED display on the mouse (the color of which you can also change, a nice touch). My old MX700 had nothing like this and I left it to the game’s options to adjust mouse sensitivity, but I’ve found it’s actually pretty handy. With the Setpoint software, you can adjust how many settings there are to switch through, and what precise dpi value is used for each one. So you can cluster them around a common setting or spread them all over the board, though it gets pretty ridiculous at the extremes. I found that a few settings near the middle and one at the high end served well, and I could switch through as necessary, when say changing classes in Team Fortress 2. As for the tracking itself, it goes without saying that it’s excellent; the improvement since my old mouse is obvious and I had zero problems with wobbly cursors, confused or delayed inputs, or anything like that.

wheelie.jpgThe setpoint software also allows you to customize each button’s function – the two thumb buttons are by default forward and back, but my hand rested far back on the mouse so I only used one and set it as double-click. The scrollwheel is a piece of art – it’s one of Logitech’s big selling points for its mice now, and for good reason. It’s practically frictionless when on its fast setting, and ramps up the speed when you really wang it, so there’s no document, web page, or playlist you can’t traverse in an instant, provided the program can keep up with the speed of the scroll. It works fine in its clicky setting too, once you switch the toggle on the bottom of the mouse, but I liked the smooth operation best. Even though it spun smoothly, however, there was no way for the scroll to not be unitized into a few lines at a time – I couldn’t make it go pixel by pixel, which would be nice. You have to be careful, though, I accidentally spun it super fast when I was clicking on a tab in Firefox, and it whipped through the tabs for, no joke, 30 seconds.

Setpoint also allows for you to set up profiles, switched either by a button on the mouse or application detection. I tested this and it seemed to function adequately, but while I can see how some people would like it, I’ve never needed that type of functionality – I find it a hassle. Likewise for the macro management software – you can set up macros based on mouse movements, clicks and keys that can be activated by a single click. Handy if you do a lot of rocket jumps in Quake DM, and in RTS games you could make good use of it as well. The creative (and unscrupulous) gamer might use these to create ridiculous exploits by, say, rapid-firing clicks or timing them exactly for use in Counter-Strike, but that’s certainly not the only application. The UI for putting them together is pretty good, and Setpoint in general seemed a friendly program, though it always pains me to add another background process to the pile.

topdown.jpgThe mouse itself is compact, attractive and well built, kind of like your mom. It comes with two different shells; I actually found the default one to be perfect; the textured finish is smooth but grippy, and has a thumb rest as well, which I’ve gotten used to. There was a little wobble in the shell when I would have to pick up the mouse, but it was minor. You have to remove the shell to switch out the weight cartridges, which I didn’t experiment with too much – I tried a few combinations until I found a weight that seemed right (about 12g out of the maximum of I don’t know what), but there’s one more thing to customize if you’re that kind of guy.

All in all, I’m very impressed. I think I’d like it better with wireless, but I’ve already stopped noticing that little tail after just 2 weeks of use. That’s impressive, considering I’ve been using my wireless MX700 for some four years now. The price point, I should say, seems a little high, but I paid $90 for my old mouse, and it’s worked great for years, so I think you can expect that from this device too.