Reviews

Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum Mouse Review – There Are No Strings On Me

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Logitech have arrived on the market with yet another new product in the form of a very expensive £135 wireless mouse that makes a bold claim; it has good enough performance to make it trusted by top-level E-Sports players. It’s a very confident attitude from Logitech considering hardcore gamers have always stuck to wired products because wireless, no matter how good it might be, always has that potential for the signal to be disrupted, even for a split-second. So let’s put this pricey piece of kit to the test, shall we?

Logitech sure do know how to package their stuff. The G900 arrives in a wonderful textured box with a hinged lid that opens to reveal the mouse itself sitting atop a molded insert. Underneath you’ll find the basic instruction and a small box containing the wireless dongle, a recharging cable that can be used to turn the G900 into a wired mouse as well, and a set of extra thumb buttons. More on those later.

Visually the mouse retains the “gamer” look that companies tend to go for with a few sharp lines and customizable LED lighting, but it’s done with a touch more subtlety than we typically see. Not that subtlety is the first thing you think of when you see the front end that looks suspiciously like a Lamborghini, and the middle of the mouse which features an odd gap between the buttons and the body which looks ugly. Still, some gentle curves toward the back help balance this out. It’s sleek yet still manages that “gamer” vibe I mentioned earlier that companies like Logitech seem to love so much. It’s far from my favorite mouse from a purely aesthetic standpoint, but I can’t say it’s particularly bad-looking, either. It doesn’t try to attract the eye with garish displays of insanity like Mad Catz do with their M.O.U.S.E. line, at least.

Contained within the box is the wireless dongle that slots into any available USB port on your computer and emits that wonderful black magic known as wireless. There’s also a reasonably long USB to micro-USB cable that’s used to charge the mouse. It can also be left connected to turn the G900 into a fully wired device in case you ever feel like the wireless performance isn’t quite up to snuff or if you just need to use it while it’s charging up. In case you have your computer sitting a bit further away than most people who lengthy cable can be connected to a small black box while the wireless dongle is plugged in at the other end, thus letting you place the dongle anywhere within a 3ft radius of your computer for better signal strength.

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Moving on to comfort factor there are no wings on the left or right side of the mouse for the thumb to sit on due to its ambidextrous design, but it does widen toward the rear in a gentle curve which does a surprisingly strong job of giving your fingers a place to rest when using the palm grip or even the claw grip. Rather than having thumb buttons on both sides to accommodate left-hand and right-hand users the G900 has removable magnetized plates so that buttons can be placed on either side with a blank piece filling in the opposite, or you could choose to have buttons on both if you feel the need. Either way the  thumb buttons sit perfectly for easy reach. I found that the rear makes my admittedly small hand sit a little too far back, resulting in my fingers resting quite far up the left and right flicks. Otherwise comfort is great. The only caveat is that the gap between the left and right clicks and the actual body of the mouse could potentially annoy some people.

The build quality and feel of the mouse is equally impressive. At a mere 107g this is one very light mouse, and yet there’s no give to be found within its plastic shell. The G900 feels built to survive an asteroid strike, or the far more powerful fury of a gamer who is damn sure they just lost because of some funny business. The left and right mouse clicks use a patented pivot design that means the quite short actuation distance is always consistent. They feel nice to use. The scroll wheel has been hollowed out and uses a spoked design to save weight, and has a rubber coating for extra grip. Like previous Logitech mice it has a button that swaps the wheel from notched to free-wheeling. The wheel can also be clicked left or right. The only slight flaw are the thumb buttons which feel a little hollow and cheap compared to the rest of the mouse, although they’re still reasonable.

So let’s tackle that ever thorny issue of performance. I say that because at a certain level increases in performance over other mice becomes damn near impossible for a human to really judge. The G900 runs on 2.4GHz wireless in order to produce a strong and consistent signal. However, if you’ve ever used a wireless mouse before then you’ll probably know that there’s almost always hiccups in the signal, little moments that can leave you angry when you’re trying to line up that perfect long-distance headshot in Battlefield or something. To my surprise this never happened with the G900, or at least if it did iot wasn’t disruptive enough for me to notice. This left me feeling like I could actually trust the mouse to perform perfectly, rather than constantly waiting for the moment when the signal would briefly weaken and leave me high and dry during a busy situation

So how does this sorcery work?  Firstly the mouse is capable of swapping between channels on the fly to ensure it’s using the least busy one available, thereby keeping the signal as consistent as possible. On top of that Logitech claim that the report rate is under 1ms regardless of whether you’re using it wired or wireless, which is a damn impressive claim if its true, although it’s pretty hard to test in real life. Toss in the ability to handle 40G of acceleration and speeds of up to 300 inches per seconds, neither of which a gamer would ever actually come near achieving, and you’ve got a mouse that theoretically should be able to compete on a professional tournament level. Again, all of this stuff is pretty much impossible to test or even notice when gaming, though. There comes a point in performance where a human can’t reliably judge it unless it’s making very obvious mistakes.

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Under the hood lives the beating heart of the whole thing; the PMW3366 sensor, which is widely viewed as one of the best on the market. It’s easy to understand why; every time I’ve ever used it the tracking has been absolutely superb The G900 was no exception, feeling accurate and responsive at all times.. The DPI range of this bad-boy runs from 200 all the way up to 12,000, a number that very few people will ever venture close to. Of course you swap between DPI settings on the fly using the two buttons located behind the scroll wheel, although there’s no dedicated “sniper” button.

Here’s the verdict on the G900’s performance, then; it’s bloody awesome. Now, I didn’t load up any software that’s designed to specifically test the mouse, rather I simply used it daily for several weeks and put it through its paces on The Division, Battlefleet Gothic: Armada, Far Cry 4, Dishonored and quite a lot more. I think that the highest compliment I can bestow is that I never once felt like the G900 was performing any less impressively than my beloved G502 Proteus Core, a formidable wired mouse in its own right that has often been hailed as one of the greatest mice available. The fact that I didn’t notice any loss of accuracy or speed is damn impressive. However, there is a small problem; during tiny, tiny movements the G900 seems to jump slightly in the wrong direction, thus I might move a fraction to the left but the cursor will jump up slightly instead. This did impact me a few times during precision sniping.

While you can just turn the mouse on and start playing games to get the most out of it you’ll need to install the Logitech software, a software suite that somehow still isn’t capable of simply detecting a new Logitech product without having to be reinstalled. Once you’ve got it up and running you can of course do a number of things. Firstly each button aside from the primary left and right clicks can have a macro command assigned to it, including keystrokes. Obviously, however, the relatively small amount of buttons available on the G900 means that MMO players or folk who like to have plenty of macros on hand might want to look elsewhere. You can adjust the DPI settings and choose how many adjustable steps there, which is to say how many different DPI settings you can swap between using the two buttons on the top of the mouse. Moving on you can play around with the mouse’s LED settings where there’s a massive range of colors to choose from and a couple of basic effects, like a gentle pulsation. There’s also the option to tune the mouse for the surface you’re using, a potentially handy option for anybody who wants to get the absolute most out of their equipment. ALl of these changes that you make can be saved using the profile system, with up to five profiles able to be stored on the mouse itself.

Of course from the software suite you can also check out the estimated battery life remaining. Logitech themselves claim that from a full 2-hour charge the G900 should be able to get 24-hours of continous use with the LED lighting enabled, and 32-hours with it turned off. Through my own testing I have no reason to doubt these claims, with the exception that even with the LED on the mouse seemed to last about an hour or two more than the company’s own predictions. Naturally as time goes on the amount of charge the mouse can hold will drop, but regardless the lifespan on a single charge is pretty good.

So in the end did the Chaos Spectrum top my beloved G502? No. It came extremely close, though. In the end the G502 may not be ambidextrous but its curved wing and body were a bit more comfortable for me and whatever performance boost the G900 can offer was almost impossible to perceive, at least not to myself. Of course it’s the black magic of wireless that the G900 uses as its biggest selling point and with good reason. Having a wire attached to my mouse never bothered me, however if you’ve ever wanted to free yourself of cables but have thus far been apprehensive about wireless performance then the G900 will be more than enough to persuade you that now is finally the time to make the jump. With all this said, do I think the G900 is genuinely a mouse for professional E-sports players? No. I firmly believe that a professional will stick to a wired mouse simply to ensure that there is no chance of even the smallest amount of signal interference costing him or her a match. But hey, how many of us are professional gamers? For us mere regular gamers, it’s very, very good.

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