If you take a laptop with you around campus and carry a mouse as your preferred method of input then you probably know that all mice and all table surfaces are not equal. For instance, if you’ve ever encountered trying to use an optical or laser mouse on a glass surface you know it’s impossible. Any type of transparent or shiny surface, such as a polished table or granite counter, will mean a laser mouse will either not track or be extremely intermittent to the point of useless. Enter the Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX 2, a mouse that uses a technology called “Darkfield” to enable the mouse to work on any surface. Glass, fabric, granite, you name it, it tracks movements and works. For students who encounter various campus locations where work has to be done, a mouse that guarantees it’ll work on any surface can be a tempting purchase, in this review we’ll cover whether the Logitech Anywhere 2 Mouse, available for $50 on Amazon, justifies the higher than average price you’d pay for a mouse.
Out of the box, the Logitech Anywhere 2 Mouse MX comes with the following items included in the packaging:
The fact you get a nice protective pouch included with purchase is an indication this isn’t your typical commodity mouse, this is a premium product. The pouch is great to have and works well to protect the mouse from scratches when in your backpack. Also, note that the included batteries are high-quality Duracell brand and not some off-brand nobody has heard of.
The design of the Anywhere Mouse MX is very professional looking, it has a grey and charcoal matte finish along with a brushed nickel strip on top within which rests the scroll wheel and middle button for application switching. The side of the mouse has rubber grips that make it very comfortable and ergonomic. On the bottom of the mouse are four glossy feet to ensure easy gliding over surfaces and an on/off switch that’s nice and large and easy to toggle.
There are a few aspects to usability that are important to note with a mouse:
First and foremost, the left and right-click mouse button quality and feel are what can make or break a mouse. The left and right-click buttons on the Anywhere Mouse are generously sized and give a very satisfying audible click along with click vibration feedback so you know exactly when you’ve pushed the button. The on/off switch button on the bottom is also worth noting, it is extremely easy to toggle with just one hand. Between the left and right-click, buttons is a middle button, by default it shows all of your application windows that are open when pushed. On the left side of the mouse are a “forward” and “back” button that, as you’d expect, make it easy to go forward or back to whichever web page you were previously viewing. You can use the Logitech Set Point software to remap the button to perform just about any shortcut you wish.
The scroll wheel on this mouse has a hyper-fast scroll function that makes it easy to fly through long PDFs or web pages. By default, the wheel has click scroll which gives you very fine vertical scroll control, but if you push down on the wheel it turns into a free-spinning “hyper-fast” scroll wheel and you just give it a spin and it keeps on spinning until you stop it. This makes it very easy to quickly scroll through long documents. It also has horizontal scrolling built-in, just push it over to the right or left like a joystick and you can scroll horizontally through things like wide spreadsheets.
This mouse is designed to travel so it is relatively compact and might not suit users with very large hands. However, I am a male with average-sized hands and it fits my digits just fine. I don’t have any issues with hand cramping and the gripped sides and shaping for fingers make it ergonomically friendly. I have seen comments from larger pawed users that say it is too small for their liking, I can see how that might be true for some but the bottom line is this mouse is designed to be easily portable as well as usable — you can’t have it all.
The Anywhere Mouse is plug and plays easy, you simply plug the wireless receiver into your notebook, and a few seconds later the necessary drivers are automatically installed by the Mac or PC and you’re ready to go. You can download or install from the provided disk the SetPoint software that allows you to configure the mouse more precisely, such as adjusting scroll speeds and remapping buttons.
Overall the Logitech Anywhere 2 Mouse is a pleasure to use, the feel is great and all of the buttons and input are well designed.
The Anywhere Mouse has a unique receiver technology. First of all the size is what Logitech refers to as a “nano-receiver”, which means that it’s so small you can just stick it into your USB port and leave it there permanently. There’s no need to take the receiver out, but should you do so the receiver can be stored inside the bottom of the mouse, just slide off the battery cover and there’s a small compartment to store the nano receiver in securely.
A second unique feature about the receiver with this mouse is that it’s compatible with other Logitech peripherals such as keyboards, Logitech dubs this their “Unifying Functionality”. That means you can use one receiver to interface with both a mouse and a keyboard. You are limited to a few other Logitech products that can use this receiver, you can see the full list of Logitech Unifying products on this page. This is a feature more suited to desktop computers where you will need both a mouse and a keyboard and it’s nice to have just one wireless receiver, but all the same, it’s good to know the functionality is there should you need it with a notebook computer.
The range on the receiver is very good, I used it from over 20 feet away without issue. I can’t think of too many scenarios where you would want to use a mouse with a laptop without being next to it, but hey, the option is there!
The ability to use the mouse on any surface is the true selling point with this device. If you come across a glass conference table there’s no need to cringe and worry about whether this mouse will work, it will. Interestingly, the only surface this mouse won’t work on is a perfectly clean shiny or transparent surface, so long as there are some dust or dirt particles the Darkfield technology can pick up movement and translate it to cursor movement on the screen. That’s right, now you have an excuse to let that glass table at homestay dusty and dirty! You can read more about how Darkfield works here, or just believe me that it’s a better than a laser-quality mouse that can track your hand movements on any surface, so long as you don’t live in a clean lab where every surface is glass! This is a great feature for students who have to work in a variety of settings and cannot predict if they’ll have a proper desk or not.
Anywhere Mouse uses two AA batteries, many mice use smaller AAA batteries, so right off the bat you can tell the mouse will be weighed down a bit by the larger battery size and it implies this mouse is more battery hungry. In my usage the average battery life is 2 – 3 months, that’s shorter than the 6 – 8 months of battery life I get out of the Logitech V450 wireless mouse I also have. You might consider using rechargeable batteries with this mouse so you don’t have to go out and buy new batteries every couple of months. One nice nugget of information is that the mouse only needs one battery to operate, this can be advantageous for reducing weight. However, it does mean you have 50% of the battery life.
Logitech Anywhere 2 Mouse MX on the left, Logitech V450 on the right
So is the Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX worth the extra bucks it costs over a regular laser mouse? That of course depends somewhat on your tolerance for higher prices and how much you rely on a mouse. If you need to use a mouse to be productive with your laptop, then the Anywhere 2 Mouse ensures that you will be in business no matter where you are forced to work. Whether you have to sit on the floor of a building hallway or in an airport while traveling, this mouse will work on the floor no matter what it’s made of. If you get placed in a conference room with a glass table, no worries, the Anywhere Mouse will work there too.
So for peace of mind and a mouse that is simply wonderful to use and attractively designed, the Anywhere Mouse MX is worth the extra dough. The only downsides are the slightly heavier weight than I would like (which can be remedied by removing one battery) and the more power-hungry nature of the mouse — it eats through batteries at about twice the rate as other laser mice I use. Outside of those minor complaints, I consider the Anywhere 2 Mouse MX the perfect travel mouse for my needs and one that will be coming with me wherever I go.