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If you're a gamer with a particularly sensitive trigger finger, the $70 Logitech G5 Laser Mouse may be exactly what you need to improve your game. Even if you don't play games or aren't that picky about how your mouse feels in your hand, the G5 has some useful customization options and performs better than most.
Like last year's Logitech MX1000 Laser Cordless Mouse, the G5 Laser Mouse features Agilent's LaserStream laser sensor. However, the G5's sensor is newer and twice as sensitive as the MX1000's (2,000 dots per inch (dpi) compared to 800dpi). Logitech's exclusive deal with Agilent expired this year, so expect to see plenty of other laser mice hit the market soon. Still, few will be designed as well as the G5.
The G5 Laser Mouse is the first mouse we've seen that includes a customizable weighting system, though two others are due out this year: Razer's Copperhead and a Fatal1ty mouse (named for a Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel, a professional gamer) from Creative. The G5 Laser Mouse comes with a small tin that contains eight 1.7-gram weights and eight 4.5-gram weights. The mouse itself weighs 4.5 ounces (with the empty weight cartridge inserted), which is half an ounce heavier than the G5's predecessor, Logitech's MX518 gaming-grade optical mouse. By popping the weights into the cartridge, you can tailor the feel of the G5 to your exact preference. Image editors and virtual snipers might appreciate a heavier, more deliberate feel, while a lighter mouse might be better suited to gamers looking for quicker running and gunning.
The weighting system isn't the only customizable feature of the G5 Laser Mouse--thanks to two buttons under the scrollwheel, you can adjust the resolution of the sensor on the fly, without installing any software. Though playing a game or editing an image might lend itself to the slow, careful movement of the 400dpi setting or the lightning-quick 2,000dpi, most users will feel more comfortable at the standard 800dpi setting for day-to-day use. Logitech's included SetPoint utility lets you program two additional dpi settings.
The rest of the buttons reflect what we've come to expect from a modern mouse. You get a scrollwheel, two main buttons, and one thumb button. The scrollwheel incorporates Logitech's Tilt Wheel technology for side-to-side scrolling, but we don't think it's an adequate replacement for the dual thumb buttons found on the MX518 and other mice. You can't move your middle finger from the right side of the wheel to the left without moving your index finger off the left mouse button. That's not a problem when you're working with a spreadsheet, but for gamers who map the left button to fire their weapon, such finger gymnastics may lead to a potentially dangerous loss of weapon control. We'd prefer an extra button to hit without having to shift your finger position.
The Logitech G5 Laser Mouse offers a 500MHz USB polling rate and processes 6.4 million pixels per second, which lets it process plenty of clicks per second. The sensor can also track movement at a rate of 45 and 65 inches per second, depending on your mousing surface. For optimal performance, use a dark-colored semireflective surface with an irregular texture. The laser sensor will work on pretty much anything except a mirror, though.
Logitech offers a three-year limited warranty on hardware, where most mice manufacturers stop at one. The company's support Web site includes an extensive troubleshooting database, and phone support is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT.