A few years ago, Logitech hit on a winning formula with its MX Master mouse. This premium productivity peripheral wasn't cheap, but it provided everything power users needed to dominate a workspace: thumb buttons, a horizontal scroll wheel, gesture controls and a robust software suite. The Logitech MX Master 2S followed a few years later, with improved battery life and a fun new software feature.
The Logitech MX Master 3 mouse ($100) is not radically different from its two predecessors, but it's the most refined version yet. From its smart redesigns on thumb buttons and gesture controls and its extremely long battery life to its novel scroll-wheel technology, the MX Master 3 is probably the best premium productivity mouse you can buy.
The price might still be prohibitive, and I wish the software ran just a bit more smoothly, but Logitech has made a compelling case for the MX Master 3's utility in almost every common office program.
The MX Master 3 is a large, ergonomic, right-handed mouse, measuring 4.9 x 3.3 x 2.0 inches. The device weighs 5.0 ounces and runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. My only complaint here is that there's nowhere on the mouse to store the teeny-tiny dongle, which is just begging to get lost the second you remove it from a USB port.
Thanks to a high profile and a lot of helpful curves, the MX Master 3 is comfortable to hold for hours at a time. The palm and thumb rests are both lightly textured, and the matte finish is resistant to fingerprints.
There's also the button layout to consider, which is much better than the layout on the two previous models. The mouse still has a left-click, right-click, adjustable scroll wheel and the helpful horizontal thumb wheel. But this time, the thumb buttons are distinct, side-by-side models, rather than the confusing, cramped triangular models that Logitech used before. Furthermore, the gesture controls on the thumb rest have a distinct button to hold down, rather than just pressing down on the thumb rest and hoping for the best. Both innovations are extremely helpful.
However, the most interesting advancement is in the vertical scroll wheel. As before, you can click a button and change the scroll wheel between a tense, ratcheted mode and a loose, free-scrolling mode. (You can also disable the whole thing and repurpose the button if you really, really like one style of scrolling and really, really hate the other.)
What's cool this time, though, is what's under the hood. Instead of interlocking gears, which make a lot of noise and degrade over time, the MX Master 3 uses magnets. That means there's no noise, and no wear and tear; it's just a matter of reversing polarity. Electromagnetism can be a beautiful thing.
On the front of the mouse, there's a USB-C charging port (compare and contrast to the micro-USB charging on previous models), and on the bottom, there's a button to switch among three different inputs.
With Bluetooth and/or USB wireless, you can pair the MX Master 3 to three devices simultaneously, then switch among them almost instantaneously by pressing this button. It's a helpful feature if you have a desktop, a laptop and a mobile device close at hand during your average workday.
The MX Master 3 prides itself on various types of wireless connectivity. USB, Bluetooth, Windows, Mac, Android, even iOS (with a few tweaks) - it works with every system and both major connection protocols. Since you can pair it with three devices simultaneously, you won't have to pair and re-pair it too often; even then, the process takes less than a minute.
Logitech also claims that the MX Master 3 provides impressive battery life: 70 days on a full charge. We can't verify this as we've only had the device for a few weeks,but we haven't made much of a dent in the battery life yet.
The device takes three hours to fully charge, or you can get three hours of uptime from a one-minute quick charge. Upgrading to USB-C has had some tangible advantages.
It's worth discussing the horizontal scroll wheel and thumb buttons in more detail. If you install the Logitech Options software, these inputs can do some impressive things. The software comes preinstalled with a variety of profiles, which will change the inputs' functionality, depending on what program you're using.
For example, in Google Chrome, the thumb buttons will take you back and forward through web pages, while the horizontal scroll wheel will switch between tabs. If you tab over to Microsoft Word, though, the thumb buttons will undo and redo your last commands, while the horizontal scroll wheel zooms in and out.
Gesture controls can take you right back to the desktop, or tab to another program, or do anything else you program them to do. In fact, while Options comes with about half-a-dozen profiles preinstalled (Microsoft Office, Adobe Suite and the like), you can also customize your own profiles and have your extra buttons do just about anything.
You can assign keyboard commands, media controls and even 3D rotation. The options are helpful for anyone - from touch typists to graphic designers.
The only downside here is that Logitech Options itself is not as ironclad as it could be. At first, I couldn't get Options to recognize the MX Master 3 at all; I had to switch over to Bluetooth. Even now, when I use the USB dongle, Options won't give me battery estimates or let me use profile-specific commands. I also couldn't specify numbers for the adjustable DPI, relying instead on a vaguer "sensitivity" slider.
I assume Logitech will patch the software in the future, but it's not a good first impression, particularly since USB connections tend to be a little more reliable than Bluetooth ones are.
It's always a little difficult to gauge performance on productivity mice, since "productivity" can be a nebulous term. A graphic designer's job is very different from an accountant's job, and both are very different from a journalist's job.
Still, I used the MX Master 3 as my everyday mouse for the better part of a week, navigating Microsoft Word, Google Chrome, Slack, Thunderbird, VLC and other programs I use every day at work.
The mouse was extremely comfortable to use during an 8-hour workday, and the extra button commands came in handy, particularly in Microsoft Word. While writing this review, I zoomed in and out frequently, and made use of the thumb buttons to correct typos. I also tested the mouse with Excel, and am pleased to report that Logitech's claim that you can scroll through 1,000 rows in less than a second is accurate.
One thing I didn't really use was the gesture controls, although I imagine these could be a lot more useful if you dabble in graphic design or video production, where small, slight directional movements could make a big difference.
While Logitech Options could use a little spit and polish, the MX Master 3 is generally a beautiful, functional mouse that addresses some of the outstanding issues from previous MX Master iterations. Even though $100 is a lot to ask for a mouse, the MX Master 3 offers everything that productivity users need, and nothing they don't, regardless of the field in which they work.
If you're not big on extra features, you can get perfectly comfortable, functional productivity mouse in the $20 to $30 range. But if you want a top-of-the-line peripheral that might just help you get work done a little more efficiently, the MX Master 3 is the way to go.
Credit: Laptop Mag