Many PC gamers are inherently suspicious of wireless mice. After all, when a split-second decision can make or break your entire game, why take chances?
That said, as gamers look to PCs as alternatives to living-room consoles, high-quality wireless mice are not so easy to ignore. The Logitech G602 provides the same high quality that players have come to expect from Logitech's wired mice, with only a few design foibles to hold it back.
Most Logitech mice are extremely comfortable, and the G602 is no exception. The device is asymmetrical, featuring a large, textured thumb rest and a textured spot for the two outermost fingers. The center of the mouse features a rubberized section to prevent palms from slipping. As such, the mouse slightly favors players with palm grips (and larger hands), but we found it perfectly suitable to claw grips as well.
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Click to EnlargeThe G602 sports 11 programmable buttons: a left button, a right button, a clickable scroll wheel, two dots-per-inch (DPI) sensitivity buttons and six buttons centered around the thumb. The scroll wheel lacks the standard endless-scrolling mode endemic to most Logitech mice, and as a result, is much easier to use. The DPI buttons are also out of the way, but easy to reach.
However, the thumb buttons leave something to be desired. Asking the thumb to handle six buttons -- especially when the buttons feel almost identical and are crammed very closely together -- is a challenging proposition. The buttons do offer satisfying clicks and moderately different shapes, but it's all too easy to click the bottom-center button when you meant to click the bottom-left, especially because the average user's thumb will rest right between them by default.
Questionable button placement aside, the G602 feels substantial and easy to grip, with a design sure to delight palm-grip players.
Click to EnlargeThe G602 runs on the Logitech Gaming Software common to all Logitech mice. Currently, this is one of the best such programs on the market, as it combines a user-friendly interface with a robust feature set. When it comes to gaming mice software overlays, only the Razer Synapse 2.0 can compete with the Logitech Gaming Software.
Users can create custom profiles for individual games, although the G602 can only store one profile in its internal memory. When storing profiles on a computer, users can create as many as they want, and the Logitech software will help by automatically detecting and creating profiles for all installed games. From there, users can customize button commands and DPI settings for each title.
One of the best features of the Logitech software is that when it detects a game, it gives users a list of game-specific commands from which to choose, such as "Attack-Move" in "StarCraft II" rather than just "A." Assigning commands is as simple as dragging them from the menu and dropping them onto the desired button.
The G602 does have one fairly sizable drawback, though: its limited range of DPI options. While other Logitech mice can range as low as 200 DPI and as high as 12,000 DPI, the G602 only offers settings between 500 and 2,500 DPI. In all fairness, this is a very comfortable range for most gamers, but it offers less granular control for those who prefer extremely slow or extremely fast tracking.
As a wireless peripheral, the G602 occupies an unusual place in the hierarchy of gaming mice. The mouse comes with a dongle as well as a long USB cable, so gamers can position the dongle where it's most receptive. A nonprogrammable button below the scroll wheel switches the mouse between a high-energy Performance mode and a low-energy Endurance mode. Logitech claims the G602 has a battery life of 250 hours in Performance mode and 1,440 hours in Endurance mode.
In practice, we did not notice much variation between the Performance and Endurance modes, as the only functional difference is a polling rate (how frequently the computer processes input data from the mouse) of 500 Hz for Performance and 125 Hz for Endurance. This makes a difference at high-level play, but not for everyday gaming. Otherwise, the G602 did not appear any slower or less responsive than its wired counterparts.
Click to EnlargeWe ran the G602 through the standard Tom's Guide lineup of games: "BioShock Infinite," "StarCraft II," "Batman: Arkham City" and "World of Warcraft." During our tests, we found that the mouse was responsive, precise and accurate in both Performance and Endurance modes, but the thumb buttons felt indistinct.
In "BioShock Infinite," the extra buttons were useful for our most frequent commands, like Use and Crouch. The limited DPI settings were something of a sticking point, though, as very fine DPI adjustment is a boon for high-level play in first-person shooters.
"StarCraft II" and "Arkham City" also worked well, but we often mistook one thumb button for another. With sufficient practice, we're sure that telling these buttons apart would be no more difficult than pinpointing buttons on a keyboard, but it's hardly as intuitive as a mouse with more distinct buttons, such as Logitech's own Proteus Core.
The buttons were most useful in "World of Warcraft," where we had a whole action bar's worth of skills to assign. The game's relaxed pace (compared to the other three games) also helped us get better acquainted with the buttons. While 11 buttons may not be enough for die-hard massively multiplayer online players, the G602 appears to be a good choice for casual-level play.
The G602 features a liftoff range of about a millimeter, but only when it's tilted to the left or the bottom. As far as wireless mice go, the G602 performs better than most in Z-axis tracking. Picking up the mouse and replacing it will cause the cursor to move only slightly.
Click to EnlargeThere's nothing about the G602 that makes it a better option than comparable wired mice, but as far as wireless peripherals go, it's one of the better ones. The design is comfortable, the reception is flawless and the software is some of the best on the market. The anemic thumb buttons are a sticking point, but if you're willing to deal with a learning curve, the G602 is one of the better choices for living-room gaming PCs right now.