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Logitech MX Master review: One smooth, feature-packed wireless mouse

Logitech's flagship wireless mouse is finely crafted, offers precise, smooth operation and is packed with extra features.

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy

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Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable e-reader and e-publishing expert. He's also the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks and Nook e-books, as well as audiobooks.

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Precision. Speed. Perfectly sculpted.

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8.3

Logitech MX Master

The Good

The MX Master is a rechargeable wireless mouse for Macs and Windows PCs that offers smooth, precise operation, lots of customization options, good ergonomics, and works on almost any surface. You can connect to up to three computers using Logitech's included Unifying Receiver USB dongle or opt for Bluetooth connectivity. Speed-adaptive scroll wheel lets you auto-shift from click-to-click to hyper-fast scrolling and a thumbwheel lets you scroll side-to-side.

The Bad

It's somewhat expensive, and the rechargeable battery isn't user-replaceable (but should last several years).

The Bottom Line

While somewhat pricey, the Logitech MX Master's expansive feature set and smooth operation make it a worthwhile purchase for power users seeking a high-performance wireless mouse.

Those are terms you might associate with a high-performance sports car, not a computer mouse. But that's just how Logitech is describing its new flagship MX Master Wireless Mouse, which is descended from an impressive lineage of mice that includes the MX Revolution and Performance Mouse MX .

Selling for $100, £80 or AU$150, Logitech says it's the company's "best mouse ever."

I've been playing around with it for a couple of weeks, and I have to say it's pretty darn nice. I've tried out some high-end gaming mice over the years, and this has some of their precision attributes, but it's designed for day-to-day use and -- dare I say it -- actual productivity.

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You have the option to connect the mouse via Bluetooth or the included Unifying Receiver, a tiny USB dongle. Sarah Tew/CNET

Thanks to Logitech Darkfield Laser technology, it works on just about any surface -- everything from a glass table to the Formica-style finish of my work desk.

In my testing, I didn't do anything too fancy with it, but it does seem very responsive, precise and smooth. From an ergonomic standpoint, it also feels quite comfortable.

Lots of customizable buttons

As you might expect from a high-end mouse, it does have plenty of extra bells and whistles. The first of these is an integrated rechargeable battery that's supposed to last up to 40 days on a single charge (you can continue using the mouse while charging with a Micro-USB cable).

You can connect the MX Master to your Windows or Mac computer with the included Unifying Receiver (a small USB dongle that will also work with Logitech keyboards) or via Bluetooth Smart technology. If you go with Bluetooth, you can pair the mouse with up to three devices and switch between a laptop, desktop or tablet using the appropriately named Logitech Easy-Switch button.

Using the Logitech Options software, you can customize all the buttons on the mouse. Mac users, meanwhile, enjoy the extra perquisite of gesture support -- most of the multi-finger trackpad gestures can be duplicated on the MX Master when holding down an extra key.

I generally set that extra key -- it's positioned where your thumb rests on the mouse -- to "Windows navigation," which allows you to quickly navigate between windows/apps you have open on your desktop. You can also set the gesture button to be a "media control" button, but I could only get it to pause and play tracks in Spotify and raise and lower the volume (you slide the mouse forward or back while holding down the gesture button to adjust volume), not skip tracks forward and back. In other words, the gesture controls may or not work fully with all apps.

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You switch between Bluetooth connections on up to three computers using the Easy-Switch button. Sarah Tew/CNET

One of the most important buttons on a mouse is the scroll wheel. And one of the key features on the MX Master is its speed-adaptive scroll wheel that lets you auto-shift from click-to-click to hyper-fast scrolling (you just hold down the wheel), along with a thumbwheel for side-to-side scrolling and page switching, which is great for spreadsheet jockeys.

That scroll wheel and its smooth, precise nature is one of the components that helps justify this mouse's premium price. To bring back the car analogy, the mouse handles more like a luxury vehicle than a standard midrange sedan. It's not a huge difference, but it's noticeable. It just feels good to drive.

It's worth noting, however, that this mouse is for right-handed operators only -- there's no left-handed option. (Logitech says it tried a left-handed mouse a few years ago but it was a major flop; apparently, lefties use their right hand for mice, or opt for the trackpad.)

With so many options it does take some time to figure out what buttons do what, and how you want to best program them for your needs.

Conclusion

Not everybody wants -- or needs -- to spend $100 on a mouse, and the MX Master may be overkill for a lot of people. But if you're a so-called "power user" who's moving between documents, spreadsheets, and any number of content-creation apps, you'll certainly appreciate what this mouse has to offer. It's also a good choice for someone who needs to switch between multiple computers on the fly.

I currently use a trackball with the Windows PC I use at work and an Apple Magic Trackpad with an iMac I have at home. While both cost less than the MX Master, my time with it has left me pondering a switch. I don't know if that makes this the best mouse ever, but it's certainly worth considering if you're in the market for a premium mouse.

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8.3

Logitech MX Master

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 9Performance 8