Logitech might have a firm grasp on luxury mice, but the gaming-mouse market is much more competitive. We like Logitech's £50 G500 Gaming Mouse, but we can't say that it's a better product than its chief competitor at this price, Microsoft's SideWinder X8 Mouse. Each mouse has different strengths. Thanks primarily to a more powerful polling rate, the G500 will appeal to the more performance-orientated shooter fan. For role-playing and strategy gamers who lean toward less twitchy styles of play, the choice is less obvious.
Old favourite gets facelift
Essentially, the G500 is a revamp of Logitech's G5 Laser Mouse, our gaming mouse of choice since its release in 2005. You still get the customisable weight kit, the comfortable grip, the smartly positioned, customisable buttons, and a very high, 1,000MHz polling rate in the laser sensor to ensure smooth, accurate cursor tracking. On top of those tried-and-trusted elements of its mouse formula, Logitech has added some compelling new features to the G500.
Firstly, Logitech has carried over its dual-mode scroll wheel from its higher-end general-purpose mice. Dual-mode scrolling lets you press a button to change the scroll wheel from its standard, ratcheted scroll-wheel motion to a fast, free-spinning motion that's perfect for navigating up and down long documents quickly. We can't really think of a gaming mechanism that would benefit from the G500's free-spinning scroll wheel, but you'll quickly find it indispensable for more general-purpose mousing.
As with mice from Razer, as well as Logitech's G9 Laser Mouse, Logitech has also added on-board memory to the G500, which means you can store custom profiles on the mouse itself to take with you between different computers. The G500 has 8KB of profile storage -- room for only one profile. Higher-end mice give you room for five. We suspect this feature will only be useful to the more mobile among PC gamers, but the convenience of only having to set up your control schemes once is an obvious benefit to those who need it.
Logitech has also joined Razer and Microsoft in the ever-escalating laser-sensor arms race. We're no longer impressed by sensor ratings above 2,000 dpi, as, even on a 30-inch display at maximum resolution, we fail to see a difference in scrolling speed. For those among you with supernatural reflexes, perhaps these high-dpi sensors offer some benefit. The G500's 5,700dpi upper limit is just 100dpi beyond Razer's most recent effort, the 5,600dpi Mamba. Great, we guess.
Whether you'll prefer the G500 or the X8 will probably depend upon what types of games you tend to play. Shooter fans and other twitch gamers will favour the G500's 1,000MHz polling rate, as the X8 only goes up to 500MHz. For players of The Sims, World of Warcraft and other games where reflexes are less important, 500MHz is sufficiently accurate, and Microsoft sweetens the deal with on-the-fly macro recording and its proprietary BlueTrack sensor, which lets you use the mouse on pretty much any surface apart from transparent or mirrored glass.
Aimed at PC shooter fans, the Logitech G500 Gaming Mouse is a great wired mouse, but we wouldn't blame gamers who don't require top-of-the-range responsiveness for having second thoughts.
Additional editing by Charles Kloet