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Logitech G9 Laser Mouse review: Logitech G9 Laser Mouse

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We've long been fans of Logitech's gaming mice, but the new G9 Laser Mouse feels like a collection of missed opportunities. Yes, it introduces a handful of new technologies, bringing it in line with or surpassing other high-end gaming mice, at least from the perspective of on-paper features. We certainly appreciate some of what Logitech has to offer, but too many elements bother us to earn the G9 a recommendation over the G5 Laser Mouse, especially given the G9's much higher $99 price tag.

7.3

Logitech G9 Laser Mouse

The Good

Customizable weights and grips; most sensitive laser sensor available; flexible configuration software; free-spinning scroll wheel.

The Bad

Grip attachment and weight kit hardware are too convoluted; inconveniently designed buttons.

The Bottom Line

Usually we're fans of Logitech's gaming mice, but its highest-end G9 Laser Mouse is expensive, overly complex, and lacks the ergonomic thought we've come to expect. If you like to brag about dot-per-inch limits, perhaps the G9's 3,200dpi laser will be enough to sell you, but for the price, we expect the design to match.

The G9 Laser Mouse is the first significant departure from the core design of Logitech's game or performance mice in at least four years. The familiar, bloated peanut-style design instead makes way for a narrow base unit that can accept either of two angular overlay attachments that come with the mouse. The idea of the two attachments is to let you customize the grip of the G9 to your preference. No other mouse lets you so thoroughly change its overall feel, although we wish that taking off the attachment was a one-handed operation. Because of the overhanging plastic around the release button, you need two hands to pop the grip off.

Customizable grips might be new to gaming mice, but the G9's redesigned weight system remains more or less the same in concept as that on the G5, with a minor twist. The G9 is different in that the weight tray slides into the heel of the mouse, rather than into a bay at the bottom as with the G5. Logitech conceived this new design and the new, parallelogram-shaped weights themselves to make you feel like you're loading a clip into a handgun. It's less satisfying than it sounds, and even annoying because the detachable grip piece now blocks access to the weight slot. That makes changing the weights a multistep process, furthering our irritation at needing two hands to remove the grip.

To be fair, once you get the weights and the grip set to your liking, you might not ever switch them out, so the cumbersome ins-and-outs of making those adjustments aren't that problematic in the long run. What's worse is the overall feel of the button placement.

The G9's two main buttons are fine (and also hard to screw up). But the two thumb-side buttons, the scroll wheel, and even the two buttons dedicated to scrolling through the various sensitivity settings all just feel wrong. The thumb and dpi buttons are narrow little strips that require too much conscious thumb or finger positioning to press them accurately. Our impression isn't limited to that of one reviewer's hand; multiple members of CNET's editorial staff had the same complaints.

And while we welcome the addition of the free-spinning scroll wheel to Logitech's gaming mice (as on the Logitech MX Revolution), it's not as useful as those we've seen elsewhere because you can't change it from free-spinning to the more typical stepped movement on the fly. We suspect the reason is that the original design required you to push down on the scroll wheel to change between spin modes, but on a gaming mouse, pushing down on the scroll wheel typically gives you a third button function. On the G9, the scroll wheel retains its third-button capability, and you have to press a separate button on the underside of the mouse to switch between free and stepped scrolling. That effectively eliminates changing modes on the fly. True, the free-spinning mode is most effective for navigating long documents, and most game applications of a scroll wheel don't need that much freedom, but we think Logitech could have found a more elegant solution.

As with most gaming mice, the G9 has a programmable laser sensor, but its 3,200dpi upper limit is the highest we've heard of. We find that 2,000dpi is more than adequate for scrolling quickly across a high-resolution monitor, so we have a feeling we're crossing into overkill territory with 3,200dpi. You can use Logitech's software to customize both the sensitivity settings as well as the polling rate (the accuracy of the laser readings, at the cost of system performance), which now goes to 1,000MHz. Logitech also includes buttons for toggling between five different sensitivity presets (with a color-customizable indicator LED on the mouse itself), although we're also happy to report that you can map the dpi buttons to other key commands in the software. Those buttons might not be the easiest to use, but at least it's an option, and one not offered by the Microsoft Sidewinder.

7.3

Logitech G9 Laser Mouse

Score Breakdown

Design 5Features 8Performance 9