Not to be outdone by Microsoft and its BlueTrack laser tracking technology, Logitech recently introduced the Anywhere Mouse MX with the new Darkfield laser sensor. Darkfield tracks on almost all surfaces, including non-mirrored glass, a surface on which Microsoft's BlueTrack doesn't work. The mouse also uses the company's Unifying technology, which lets you connect up to six Unifying-compatible keyboards and mice to the same USB transceiver. Both innovations boost the usefulness of the Anywhere Mouse, but we can't really recommend a £65 mobile accessory, especially when Microsoft's £25 Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 works just as well on almost every other surface.
Comfortable and small
The Anywhere Mouse is meant to be the travel-sized companion to the Logitech Performance Mouse MX, but with a few key differences. Firstly, the device is smaller and easier to fit into a laptop bag. Secondly, unlike the sculpted form of the Performance Mouse, the Anywhere Mouse is perfectly symmetrical, to accommodate both left- and right-handed users, although we suspect that lefties might stumble over the two thumb buttons on the left side. The mouse is very comfortable to use -- the shape easily conforms to your hand and the surface is covered with a thin, lightly textured coating that makes it easy to grip and move around.
The scroll wheel sits between the two main buttons and moves from side to side, as well as up and down. Pressing the scroll dial itself changes the scrolling between ratcheted and smooth. The button directly below the wheel is preset to activate the Windows Vista Flip 3D overlay, with which you can quickly view all of your open windows in a digitally organised stack. As with most mice, you can reassign all the buttons with the included SetPoint 4.8 software.
On the bottom of the mouse, you'll find the Darkfield laser tracking unit and a power switch to preserve battery life when it's not in use. After testing the unit on a variety of surfaces, including mirrored glass, carpet and a pair of rigid denim jeans, we're happy to report that Darkfield really fulfils its promise to work on almost anything, with no obvious degradation in accuracy or speed during Web browsing.
Two AA batteries, included in the package, power the Anywhere Mouse. It doesn't support rechargeable batteries, but, according to Logitech, two alkaline batteries will power the mouse for 15 months, with help from its 'smart sleep' mode, which automatically lowers its energy consumption during long periods of inactivity. Another feature that Logitech doesn't advertise is that the mouse can run on a single battery, just in case you run out of juice or can only find one battery.
If you're completely dedicated to the Logitech brand of peripherals, you'll be happy to hear about its Unifying receiver. This new technology lets you connect a single USB plug to six compatible Unifying-family mice and keyboards. Each device comes with its own Unifying receiver, so you can conceivably leave the receivers plugged into several different computers at home and work. It also frees up USB ports formerly occupied by keyboards and mice. If you ever need to take it out, the USB micro receiver fits into a compartment underneath the mouse for convenient storage.
Logitech doesn't include any third-party software in the bundle, but it does offer its SetPoint for Windows and Mac app, which enables the side-to-side scrolling, as well as extra customisable functionality for the middle button.
The Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX is versatile and convenient, but whether you'll want to fork out £65 for a portable mouse is a different matter.
Additional editing by Charles Kloet