The Revolution Will Be Computerized
Teaching an old accessory new tricks
By Daniel Canale-Parola
There's something odd about calling an unassuming device like a mouse "revolutionary". Despite visions of Speedy Gonzales in a Che Guevara t-shirt, I took Logitech's MX Revolution 2.4 Ghz Wireless Mouse for a test spin and discovered that the name is actually well-deserved. Logitech has added some nifty new functionality to the wireless mouse that represents a sizable step forward.
When it comes to evaluating a mouse, my key criteria is simple: is it accurate, comfortable, does it make navigation more efficient and quicker and does it look cool? The MX does well on all accounts. Here's a quick rundown on the mouse's three biggest innovations:
Windows users - picture in your mind how you currently switch between windows. You probably either move your cursor from the active window down to click on the desired tab and then back to the center of the newly active window, or you use the hold-down-"alt"-and-hit-"tab" method. The MX revolution accomplishes the same task without requiring any big movements — gently thumbing the mouse's side scroll button brings up a small window of available windows, select the one you want by highlighting it and pushing in the scroll button. It's a neat trick that saves time - particularly when cutting and pasting between documents.
Remember the satisfying feeling of turning over a skateboard and rolling the wheels with your hands? The Logitech designers incorporated that same smooth rolling action into this mouse's scroll wheel. Move it slowly and you get the familiar "click-to-click" movement, let loose with a good tug and the wheel scrolls freely for up to 7 seconds. Pages whiz by until you stop the wheel with your finger — very cool. Tilt the scroll wheel left or right to scroll horizontally — a useful feature for spreadsheet users.
Highlight a word, click on the little button just below the scroll button and a search is run on the term on any site you specify. Use this to run searches on search engines, check definitions on online dictionaries or search for products you're reading about on your favorite ecommerce site.
The highly stylized mouse is built around Logitech's laser-based tracking engine, which delivers precise control, and is fueled by a rechargeable battery with an illuminated battery meter. Also included with the mouse: a recharging station and a 3-year warranty.
The MX Revolution is bit pricey, but if you value high quality tools, and saving time when working with long documents or in multiple windows, think twice before letting this revolution pass you by. Carpal Tunnel sufferers might also want to enlist as the mouse's more efficient ergonomics can translate to reduced hand strain. The mouse works with Windows XP and Mac OS X 10.2.8 or above (although, strangely, it only ships with XP drivers — Mac users have to download software from the Logitech website). A laptop version is also available. A final caveat — left-handed revolutionaries on either platform will have to look elsewhere.