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Old October 25, 2007, 01:28 PM
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AkG AkG is offline
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Post Reviewer Tryouts: Logitech G7 vs Logitech MX500

Logitech G7 vs Logitech MX500 mouse or A tale of the tail

Today we will look at 2 mice that I own and have used extensively: the Logitech G7 and MX 500. Logitech, or Logicool as our friends in Japan call it, is a Swiss Alps based corporation that got its start way back in 1981. Their first product was an “improved” version of a mouse designed by the EPFL. This EPFL mouse, called the “Smaky”, was its self a revised version of the ORIGINAL mouse created in 1974 by Douglas Engelbart. In 1982 Logitech release their improved version to the general public and called it the “P4”. It quickly set the stage for Logitech’s future designs and the rest as they say is history.

As you can see in these photos the P4 WAS generations better than the original and, while similar in style, it was more refined than the Smaky.
(please note these photos are not my own).

The First Mouse EVER:

The EPFL “Smaky” mouse:

Logitech’s P4 mouse:

Fast forward to today and it really is amazing how far we have come since the 1982 P4!

Today’s cutting edge mouse designs are cordless, BUT this does not mean that corded mice are dead. The reality is FAR from it in fact! The major short coming of any cordless mouse is that it relies on batteries. With batteries come MR. Murphy and his LAW. You and I both know that a battery WILL fail at the worst moment POSSIBLE! Usually costing you the game and 50 bucks in the side bet you placed. Even under optimum conditions it is doubtful if my G7 batteries will be around in 4 years. While a corded or "tailed" mouse usually won't fail due to lack of electricity (if treated right). However, this longevity comes at a price, as they do sacrifice freedom of movement. Some people even think that they give you a bad feeling of being tied to your computer. Pros and Cons to everything I suppose.

What are the pros and cons of these two top of the line (for their time) mice? Lets find out!
(Please note all these pictures ARE my own.)

G7 Pictures:

I rescued my MX500 from my parts bin (thus the funky pictures).

MX500 history:
The MX500 hit the market like a tsunami 2003. It was an optical mouse that supported a (then) amazing 800dpi, buttons that were seamless parts of the body and it could be had for under $50! As soon as I saw it I feel in love. Its closest competitor, the MS Inteliexplorer, seem outdated and clunky in comparison to this sexy and sleek beast. It was like comparing a 1960’s Jaguar MK2 to a Buick…any Buick…from any era. Yes both are cars and have 4 wheels and both will get you there…BUT the Jaguar has a style that a simple Buick can never have.

G7 History:
The G7 hit the streets in 2005 and I have to admit that I was hesitant over it. It looked like someone took a MX500 body and stuck a MX1000 cordless mouse in it. To add insult to injury they cut off the Forward button. Sacrilege! How would I surf the internet without a forward button! However after my initial misgivings I bit the bullet and replaced my MS Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 with it. It has been a rocky road but I am glad I got rid of the inferior 6000 and have been using it ever since.

Testing Methodology:
To give a fair and balanced test that would favor neither mouse I took the simple expedient of formating my C drive and reinstall the OS using only the keyboard and one of the mice. I then used that mouse for a day doing standard things like surfing the internet for an hour (65 minutes test 1 and 66 minutes test 2 to be precise), using it to edit 10 photos (23 and 22 minutes), install various software programs (45 minutes for both), and just generally playing with it to get a feel for it. At the end of the day I then used the mouse to again format my c drive. The following day I uninstalled that mouse and redid everything I had done the previous day just with the other mouse…except for formating the c drive. I did not feel the need to redo anything a 3rd time.

Both mice have very similar feel to them and they are about the same weight (MX 500 is slightly heavier but not enough to really be noticeable). You can tell however that the G7 is a refined version as it just “fits” the hand slightly better and moves nicer. This increased ease of use it due to its 3 huge PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) ultra low friction feet. It would be fair to say that the G7 has such a smooth feel to it that it is almost feels like it is gliding.

As for looks with such a similar body type it all comes down to ecstatics. With its carbon fiber look, the G7 beats the mx500s metallic gray.

All these improvements over the mx500 coupled with the G7’s (necessary) LEDs are IMHO make for a better user experience.

Winner: G7 hands down

Neither mouse really “needs” to have the accompanying software installed BUT the G7 is handicapped without it. It was much easier to install an OS with the MX500 than the G7. This is just personal preference but I find the 3 set default speeds to be “off” just enough to not be comfortable. Whereas the Mx500s standard sensitivity was closer to my comfort zone. Was it a huge difference? No, but it was enough that I DID notice the difference.

When the OS was installed and I was able to tweak the settings of each, the G7’s flexibility of 3-5 sensitivity levels did shine. However, to shine it really does need Logitech SetPoint software to be installed. To me SetPoint is a necessary evil. It has always been kludgey and can crash seemingly on a whim. Up until recently I loathed it; but thanks to a huge community of Logitech users, these mod’ers have taken the SetPoint software and improved on it IMMENSELY. “Uberoptions” takes SetPoints fairly wimpy set of options and turns it into a truly customizable piece of software that I can’t imagine doing without! The only down side is that the MX500 mouse is not supported. The newer 518 is supported, just not the older models. <sigh>

Winner: G7 BUT only IF you use Uberoptions, otherwise it is a tie.

The MX500 while older tech is still a very viable option. It’s a basic mouse and it doesn’t have many “bells and whistles” by today’s standards. You may consider this a Pro or a Con, it all depends on what you USE your mouse for. While it needs to be plugged in it does have a long cord that doesn’t get tangled very easily. Overall, its still a very nice and user friendly mouse.

The G7 has almost everything the 500 has and then it adds horizontal scroll. At first it felt gimmicky but after a few moments in Excel I really started to notice its absence on the 500. The one thing the G7 does NOT have is a Forward button. To me this was a big oversight as it does make web navigating slower. However, Uberoptions comes to the rescue and with a simply modification my mouse wheel "click" is now a forward button!

Winner: Once again G7 with Uberoptions leaves little room for improvement.

In this area the clear winner has to be the older corded tech. The G7 is great but it is an energy hog and its batteries are to small to cope with the drain. I find it extremely frustrating that the batteries don’t last more than 7 hours. This added with the fact that Lithium Ion batteries DO have a finite number of charge cycles means that in 2 years the 500 will still be going strong while my G7 will need new batteries.

Winner: MX 500

In many ways a 4 year old mouse is still a very good choice. It is reliable, has no batteries to wear out and doesn’t need any special mod’ed software to get the best out of it. However, the G7 IS the mouse I use on my main system, and it IS the mouse that I rely on when I am editing images. Its on the fly sensitivity changing makes it very responsive regardless of what I am doing. Yes it has its quirks but like a fine Ducati bike its quirks ARE outweighed by its benefits. I would never give up my cordless G7 mouse…unless it was to upgrade to the new “Revolution”…which I will be reviewing later this month (or the following at the latest).

MX500: 3.5 out of 5

G7 w/ mod’ed software: 4.5 out of 5

G7 w/ std software: 4.1 out of 5
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