Logitech MX610 Cordless Laser Mouse

Aron Schatz
October 12, 2005
Logitech MX610 Cordless Laser Mouse
Logitech calls its MX610 "The World's First Smart Mouse!" With its new features, does this mouse have what it takes to stand out in the crowd? Read on...

Page 1: MX610

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"The World's First Smart Mouse" is the tagline that <a href="http://www.logitech.com">Logitech</a> uses on their latest addition to the Laser line of mice. I'd say that it's a universally accepted fact that Logitech makes some of the best input devices and peripherals for home computers. The MX610 is the first of its kind in that it provides "program notification" to the user without cluttering up the Windows desktop. (Now we can clutter up the mouse.) Read on to find out what exactly this means.



Logitech's packaging is obvious and stands out on the retail shelves, with its eye-catching green and white color scheme.



The package includes the mouse, the receiver and USB to PS/2 converter, the manual and the CD. There is a simple setup guide that entails plugging in the mouse and installing the drivers. I doubt many people NEED instructions on how to plug a mouse in, but the guide goes over installing the batteries and other subtleties as well.

Note that the mouse that I have is slightly different than the one you may purchase. The notification LEDs on mine are Blue/Orange, but on the newer ones they are Green/Blue. I like the Blue/Orange because orange is a color not seen too often on computer peripherals.

<b>The Mouse</b>:

<center>Side View</center>

I have already shown the forerunner of the MX610. If you recall the »MX3000 review, the mouse featured in the set is dubbed the MX600 which would be the "dumb" version of the MX610. The mouse is basically the same, but there are slight variations in regards to button and notification placements. As it stands, the MX610 is the consumer mouse for the laser line of mice that Logitech puts out. It's cheaper than the »MX1000 yet arguably does a bit more.

<center>Notification Buttons</center>

"The World's First Smart Mouse" provides two-way communication between the mouse and the computer. In other mice, the device sends data to the computer only. Logitech claims that the MX610 includes a "powerful microprocessor that runs at 8 million instructions per second (MIPS)." Compared to the original IBM PC, which ran at .33 MIPS... hey, that's 24 times more powerful! Well, no - not really. MIPS is a bad way to judge overall speed because instruction sets are very different for each processor. For example, the mouse 'benchmark' could be using a set of NOP to benchmark the fastest one cycle/instruction case. The IBM PC might very well be slower overall but could do more each clock tick. MIPS is generally not that good of a benchmark without other facts taken into consideration (such as the ISA and benchmarks use with the compiler options and such). Also of note is the fact that this mouse uses the 2.4GHz spectrum that is nearly oversaturated with cordless phones, microwaves, and wireless networks. Still, I had no problems getting a clear signal to the computer and back.

<center>Side 2</center>

Regardless of the actual speed of the "smart" mouse, its purpose is to send back notifications when certain events happen on the computer. Typically, getting an email or new IM creates clutter on the desktop when the helpful (but annoying) notification popups are displayed. They tend to interrupt the flow of the computing experience. This mouse takes away some of the clutter on your desktop while allowing you to be notified in a typical fashion. This is analagous to most modern phone systems. Most businesses have phones that will flash an LED when a new message has arrived. This "smart" mouse functions in the exact same way.


So, how useful is the light notification feature when you are sitting by the computer? Well, other than the reason previously stated... not much, really. But, this mouse can be taken nearly 30 ft from the computer to give you a heads-up when your 'important' email or IMs come in. I don't understand why you would want to carry a mouse away from the computer unless you wanted to get out of a dull meeting with an original excuse. "Yeah, I have an important email to read... See the glowy little light on my mouse?"

Battery life of the MX610 is okay at about 3 months of typical use. If there is a more powerful processor in the mouse, it would explain why it cannot stand up to the 6 months offered by its "dumber" sibling, the MX600. There are some nice tricks that make this 3 months come into play. Since the mouse receives data from the computer, it knows with it is in use or off. If the computer is off, the mouse is off. If you want to turn off the mouse, there is an on-off switch on the bottom. The mouse has a battery indicator on top to let you know when the battery needs replacing. It blinks red at about 10% of power remaining. A steady green light indicates a nominal charge.

There are an array of buttons on the mouse. Volume and mute buttons are a welcome addition to the mouse and are quite usable when sitting back in a chair and grabbing the mouse to make these adjustments, instead of reaching for the top of the keyboard (boy, we've gotten lazy these days, haven't we?). The standard forward and backward buttons are in a decent enough position. The notification LEDs are buttons are well-placed and have nice tactile feedback. The scroll wheel takes care of the usual scrolling business, and also has the newer tilt feature built in as well.


The MX610's tracking is great, as is every laser mouse I have tested so far. You get the occasional lag when the mouse needs to 'wake up'. Other than that, tracking is nice and smooth. The notification feature of the mouse are a bit lacking. It was disappointed when I found out that only Microsoft's messenger programs are supported as is only Outlook or Outlook express. I use Gaim and Thunderbird so both notifications are null. Notification is only supported with USB. If you use the PS/2 adapter, there is no feedback channel. The notification is nice and subtle. The LED will slowly gain intensity and slowly fade out: very sharp looking.

SetPoint has a bunch of options to make the mouse do whatever you want. Sadly, the middle click still screws up in Firefox and it is annoying. Shutting down SetPoint fixes the problem, but then the notifications are all lost. Since I don't use MSN messenger, that notification didn't get tested. It would be nice to allow the mouse to notify on different things. I would like to be able to set a time or times for the mouse to blink to tell me to get off my big ass and away from the computer, for instance. How about if there are Windows updates and the notification LED would blink? These would be nice features that still could be added by Logitech. I also don't like how the acceleration and movement changes when SetPoint is on. I couldn't get it to 'feel' right. Without it, it is fine. The volume and mute also work without the software running, as does the email button.


The MX610 is a perfect addition to the laser line of Logitech mice. The MX610 is targeted at the general consumer and is priced accordingly. The mouse is <a href="http://stat.dealtime.com/DealFrame/DealFrame.cmp?BEFID=1696&acode=159&code=159&aon=^238&crawler_Id=810464&dealId=xHd0DuTq0boFd3ovd5ZOkQ%3D%3D&prjID=ds&searchID=At2T4EYxg0&Mrt=^^^^^^&url=http%3A%2F%2Flandingstrip.dell.com%2Flandingstrip%2Fls.asp%3FCID%3D8290%26LID%3D230185%26DGC%3DSS%26DGStor%3DDHS%26DGSite%3DSHP%26Conum%3D19%26K%3D6VP00%26DURL%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Faccessories.us.dell.com%2Fsna%2Fproductdetail.aspx%3Fsku%3DA0403865%2526cs%3D19%2526c%3Dus%2526l%3Den&DealName=MX1000%20Laser%20Cordless%20Mouse&MerchantID=9228&HasLink=yes&frameId=-1&category=77&AR=2&NG=4&GR=0&ND=1&PN=1&PT=0&RR=1&ST=7&DB=sdcprod&MT=nym-pmt3-1&MN=MT&FPT=POV&NDS=17&NMS=17&NDP=4&MRS=&PD=25388304&brnId=3807&lnkId=3002062&IsFtr=1&IsSmart=0&crn=USD^USD&DlLng=1&istrsmrc=0&isathrsl=0&dlprc=76.95&TstId=&CT=3">$20-$25 cheaper than the MX1000</a>. <a href="http://images.aselabs.com/adlink.php?do=adlink&id=7">At around $50 it is a nice mouse overall</a>, especially if you use Microsoft's email and IM programs. If not, the »MX1000 or the »MX3000/»MX3100 are the things to look at. I am still using my »MX3100 to this day. Make sure to »post in this thread to enter in our fourth year contest for cash prizes.

I'd like to thank Kate from <a href="http://www.logitech.com">Logitech</a> for making this review possible.


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