Building a Better Mouse

Published: 20 Sep 2006

I recently had lunch with Bob Walt, President of Walt & Company, a local PR firm in Silicon Valley. Bob represents Logitech, one of the major computer accessory companies. He told me that he wanted me to review Logitech’s new "notebook mouse."

My first thought was an image of a tiny little external mouse that would feel terrible in my hand, not work properly, and be a total waste of my time. My second thought was, "Oh come on, how can you make a better mouse? After all, the only real improvement in the mouse in the last 20 years is making it cordless."

Bob smiled in a guilty kind of way and replied, "Gerry, I know this is just a mouse, but I want you to be open-minded about this. I think you’ll find it surprising how much innovation can actually be brought into something as simple and basic as a mouse."

A few weeks later, a box arrived at my home office. I was impressed with the packaging; I could actually open it without getting pruning shears from the garage. More importantly, the new Logitech VX Revolution notebook mouse immediately felt better in my hand than any mouse I’d used before. It’s more molded than other mice, and the way in which it glides over the mousepad surface is also better than any mouse I’ve tried before.

Here is a summary of the major enhancements that Logitech has provided in the VX Revolution:

  • The packaging is slick – the materials are above normal. The figures and printing on a black background convey a high class, solid, luxurious product.
  • I could open it without taking a crowbar to it. Retailers may over package it, but it was a relief to me that I could actually get the package open without much effort.
  • Logitech included a Duracell battery, which was a nice touch since most products that require a battery include a small notice: "battery not included."
  • I was concerned that since the package said it was for "notebooks" that it would be too small to fit in my hand, like some other small portable mice that have been produced that I found totally unusable. The VX Revolution is about the same size in my hand as my Microsoft Optical mouse – kudos to the Logitech team for designing a mouse with great "hand-to-mouse" feel.
  • The screen layout for the software is well designed. I really like that it’s personal and pleasing and not, quite frankly, a more typical Windows user interface.
  • Logitech provides "zoom in/out" buttons that make it easy to enlarge the display in software that allows for image size adjustment on the screen. The VX software works directly with a number of applications to leverage specific features such as this.
  • The VX has a search button on the top of the mouse, and you are able to set it to any one of a number of search engines, including Google. The user simply highlights text and then hits the search button. The browser is launched and the search results are displayed.

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