It takes something special to get me excited about a new mouse, but this week I saw a wireless gaming mouse that impressed the hell out of me.
For whatever reason there are some perceptions in tech -- some that I'm guilty of myself -- that make us believe and do weird things. Things like banging the desktop tower so that it magically boots or spam-clicking a frozen tab in a browser as if that'll knock something loose. We've all done stuff like that.
There's also a belief that a wireless mouse is always going to be slower to respond -- have higher latency, in gaming terminology -- than one that's wired. With the G900 Chaos Spectrum (yes, that's too many words for a mouse), Logitech is trying to dispel that myth.
After three years of research and development, Logitech claims the G900 doesn't compromise on latency. Many of its features and design are the result of direct feedback from the PC gaming community, the very audience at which the mouse is aimed. What makes the G900 a really exciting prospect are key details that people in that scene really care about.
Logitech went to an awful lot of trouble to prove its low latency claims by setting up a series of tests to analyze response time and performance under severe interference issues. But the most compelling evidence is in the data it collected when comparing the G900's click and motion latency to some of the wired competition. These results may not sound like a big deal, but it's undoubtedly head-turning stuff for the professional player.
According to Logitech's data, the G900 had quicker click latency (shorter bars) than the Steelseries Rival 300 and Razer Death Adder, and better motion latency head-to-head with the Death Adder.
For wireless interference tests, Logitech set up each mouse on what sounds like a turntable -- think of a treadmill for a mouse -- and then bombarded it with wireless interference. Its tests show a constant circular pattern being drawn with the G900 and numerous skips and jumps with the competition.
Sure, these test scenarios are not typical of real world conditions, but they may be things that pro gamers experience in the world of e-sports, where milliseconds count. This is a mouse for the ultra-competitive. And at $150/AU$270/£135, it's not exactly aimed at people who just enjoy the odd game of Minesweeper.
Of course Logitech was in control of all these tests but it's betting that third-party analysis will bear it out. While I can't test the G900 like Logitech did in its controlled environment, I should be able to to notice any interference in an apartment building with a mess of competing 2.4GHz Wi-Fi signals.
Hands-on first impressions
I got my hands on a G900 this week and the first thing I noticed after picking it up was just how light the thing was. I couldn't believe it. At 3.8 ounces (107 grams), it's noticeably lighter than most mice, wired or wireless. It has a striking symmetrical design, reminiscent of the Batmobile, that makes it useable for righties and lefties. In fact, its two side thumb buttons can be placed on either side of the mouse, held on my magnets, or you can opt to use all four. The customization is up to you. And of course, using Logitech's gaming software, you can tweak the buttons and functionality of the mouse to your heart's desire.
Those three years of development didn't just result in a lighter weight. The G900 is a mouse constructed from the ground up, with a new way of approaching the plastic left- and right-click apparatuses. Without getting too technical, Logitech engineered a way to reduce fluctuation in what it calls "actuation" that mice can suffer over time. This is aimed at ensuring the amount of force required to click remains consistent over the life of the product.
I played a few rounds of Counter Strike: Global Offensive at a Logitech event and then Wolfenstein: The Old Blood and Fallout 4 back at the office. Its shape will likely take me some getting used to, coming from the Logitech G502, but I like the placement of the thumb buttons and love the customization options they offer too.
The G900's rechargeable battery is rated at 24 hours of use on a single charge, which can jump to 32 if the RGB LED light is turned off. The mouse ships with a USB charging cable that can also be used as a tether for the mouse. When it's connected you don't need the dongle. And if you're curious about the G900's sensor, it uses the PMW3366, still regarded as one of the best around.
I'll continue to test the mouse and update this with some more thoughts, but you can try it out yourself in April for $150 (or AU$270 or £135).