As many of you know, I made the switch to Mac, at least for laptops, almost a year ago with the MacBook Air. The most significant change it’s done for me when using Windows-based laptops is, frankly, scrolling. Everything else is very similar, at least to me, but scrolling is a huge UI function that many overlook. In fact, most mouse functions on today’s Windows-based laptops are frighteningly bad. How could it ever get to this?

The good news is that there are plenty of mice to remedy poor state of mouse functionality, but few do a good job when it comes to combining that improved UI with portability. For anyone who travels aplenty or lives on the road, it’s often easier to just carry around a full-size mouse that meets your needs. I really believe that Logitech has filled that gap with the M600.

The M600 is a simple one-button mouse with one very important feature: a capacitive panel. Like today’s smartphones, which read presses on the screen instead of tying on physical keys, the M600 is essentially one large capacitive panel on top of the most basic, simplified ergonomic and ambidextrous mouse design possible. The combination of this touch-sensitive panel and included software changes that way mouse interface works by magnitudes. That is to say, it’s a massive improvement.

Take, for starters, your traditional scrolling. Windows has a simple system, when pages scroll when users actively scroll up or down. On a Mac, there’s a physics-based system so if you scroll fast and let go, it’ll continue scrolling based on the speed at which you scrolled. The latter is more intuitive, to say the least. Macs also have swipe gestures like back and forward on web pages, switching between open apps, etc. Windows has similar functions, but they are generally mapped to specific buttons. Only Microsoft’s own capacitive mouse had unique swipe functionality, like to minimize all windows or tab through selections. Logitech’s system doesn’t do any of that. It just provides smooth scrolling.

In many way this is fine. The truth is most computer users don’t take advantage of the vast majority of computer functions like alt-tab or minimize all. But it’s only fine, when the mouse could provide so many more functions with it’s design.

Sadly, Logitech didn’t include anything else with this package. The software automatically updates after plugging in the unifying USB adapter in (which is extremely convenient), but users don’t have access to the drivers. There are no settings to adjust, no options to change, nothing. The M600 is WYSIWYG and only that. For $70, users expect more than just the ability to smooth scroll. Especially for more than just web browsers.

The mouse itself is, thanks to extremely simplistic hardware, very good. The design works well for both hands, though in my testing I had to replace the batteries twice under moderate use over a three week period. I expected slightly better battery life from a non-rechargeable mobile mouse.

The software is what really gets me, or lack thereof. Even the video, a blatant ripoff of this generations favorite company, shows how very little the mouse actually does. Mac users may be used to this sort of treatment, but PC users need more. The M600 may be small, but there is certainly room for more multi-touch functions. Without it, there is no reason not to just get Logitech’s own Anywhere Mouse MX, which has a frictionless scroll wheel that is infinitely better than smooth scrolling. And the MX works for Macs too.

Editor’s Rating:

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Average

Bottom Line: A decent but expensive and large mobile mouse that offers smooth scrolling for browsers only.

Pros:

  • Simple design
  • Smooth scrolling is very convenient, but…
Cons:
  • …it’s only available on browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome specifically)
  • Large build for a travel/mobile mouse
  • Capacitive panel doesn’t do anything besides for smooth scrolling and going forward or back
  • Expensive compared to Logitech’s own line of mice



James Pikover

 
Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.