A pre­ci­sion-point­ing desk­top heavy­weight


THIS IS THE IPHONE X of mice. Let us ex­plain: When a new Apple phone comes out, packed with fea­tures, and high­fa­lutin suits get wind of their col­leagues get­ting one, IT de­part­ments the world over get tick­ets de­mand­ing an up­grade. De­nial of­ten re­sults in mys­te­ri­ous break­ages, pre­vi­ously func­tional iPhone 7s mak­ing their way down flights of stairs or un­der Lexus tires. If the ap­pear­ance of this mouse on desks doesn’t cause a rise in fraud­u­lent point­ing de­vice but­ton-snap­ping or latte spillages, we’ll be sur­prised.

Not that it’s the per­fect mouse for ev­ery­one. For ex­am­ple, the MX Mas­ter 2S lacks the Light­speed con­nec­tion tech that’s been ex­cit­ing us so much re­cently, fall­ing back on Logitech’s older Uni­fy­ing Re­ceiver mod­ule—still per­fectly speedy and OK for gam­ing, but not the twitchy win­ner that gamers crave. Un­less you con­fig­ure it, there’s no DPI switch­ing on the mouse it­self, with that func­tion trans­planted in­stead into Logitech’s Op­tions soft­ware suite. The mold­ing de­fi­antly pitches it solely at right-han­ders. Fans of light mice may also be dis­suaded. This is a heavy thing that re­ally feels it; it glides smoothly and calmly, re­sponds in a slick man­ner, tracks al­most de­li­ciously. We’re not en­tirely sure of the phys­i­cal rea­son for its cata­ma­ran-style base, other than look­ing a bit cool, and separat­ing the sen­sor and as­so­ci­ated func­tions from the wing pieces—the MX Mas­ter 2S moves per­fectly well with­out any ad­di­tional aero­dy­nam­ics.


It’s the fea­tures that’ll make it so busi­ness-at­trac­tive. Let’s move down from the top. Two acous­ti­cally in­de­pen­dent main but­tons, com­pletely sep­a­rate from the main up­per shell. A rub­ber­ized, but not sticky, metal mouse wheel, weighted and smooth, with the op­tion to switch be­tween ratch­eted and free­wheel­ing modes. That ratch­et­ing isn’t a phys­i­cal thing, ei­ther—hit a but­ton, and it elec­tri­cally ac­ti­vates a mild catch; spin the wheel fast, and the ratchet dis­en­gages, drop­ping back into place when you’re done spin­ning. Sounds weird, but split­ting fast scroll fa­cil­i­ties with the know­ing chunk of a clicky wheel feels re­ally good.

On the left edge, there’s a syrupy smooth thumb wheel, use­ful for scrolling side to side, or any other func­tion you want to con­fig­ure it for. Be­hind that, re­al­is­ti­cally too far be­hind to com­fort­ably reach with your thumb, is a pair of sliver-thin but­tons that we’ll skirt over, be­cause this is the bit where we tell you what’s great about the Mas­ter MX, and they’re re­ally quite aw­ful. On the thumb rest, a hid­den ges­ture con­trol but­ton. Down the wire—an en­tirely op­tional USB con­nec­tion, use­ful only re­ally when charg­ing—is the afore­men­tioned Logitech Op­tions driver, which lives up to its name with a cor­nu­copia of con­fig­u­ra­tion choices. Fur­ther on from that, Logitech Flow, a mul­ti­plat­form rip-off of Syn­ergy, which en­ables you to seam­lessly move the MX Mas­ter 2S’s cur­sor be­tween mul­ti­ple ma­chines, even go­ing so far as to copy and paste be­tween them. You can hook up sev­eral de­vices with­out it, too—the mouse it­self saves con­fig­u­ra­tion of up to three in­di­vid­ual ma­chines, ei­ther via the Uni­fy­ing Re­ceiver or Blue­tooth.

It's an ab­so­lutely gim­mick-laden pack­age, then, in a well-built, at­trac­tive, com­fort­able shell. It’s easy to see how those fea­tures would be highly at­trac­tive to cre­atives, pro­fes­sion­als, and desk­top users, and in­spire scur­rilous envy in those who don’t get to play with them. It re­ally is an iPhone mouse. But like Apple’s hand­sets, it brings with it a cou­ple of neg­a­tives. First, the ecosys­tem: Un­less you’re happy to stick with the stock set­tings, you ab­so­lutely must use Op­tions, and we had a cou­ple of is­sues with soft­ware crashes and in­com­pat­i­bil­ity on our trav­els. Sec­ond, some­thing of a nar­row fo­cus. Those side but­tons are al­most un­us­able, and the thumb wheel is of ques­tion­able value to all but a spe­cific sec­tor. The MX Mas­ter 2S does more than enough to de­serve the "Mas­ter" des­ig­na­tion, but a few de­sign tweaks might have seen it earn an even stronger su­perla­tive. –ALEX COX

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