Hands-On: Logitech MX Vertical and MX Anywhere 2S Mice

Two mice from Logitech - one a radical new idea in ergonomic design which might provide some relief for people who have hand/wrist problems from using a mouse, and the other a more traditional compact design.

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Logitech MX Anywhere 2S and MX Vertical

Images: Logitech

I'm always on the lookout for interesting and useful new pointing devices (mice and trackballs), and I haven't actually tried anything completely new and different for a while, so I decided to have a look at a couple of Logitech mice that I haven't tried before.

The first, shown on the left above, is the MX Anywhere 2S, and is marketed by Logitech as a "Wireless Mobile Mouse". Hmm. As I will explain below, I have a bit of a quarrel with that description.

The other, shown on the right above, is the MX Vertical, and is described as an "Advanced Ergonomic Mouse". I have no problem with that, this device really is very innovative. As you might be able to tell from the picture above, it has a sort of mesa that rises in the middle, which positions your wrist at a much more natural (and presumably more comfortable) angle.

mx-anywhere-2s-side.png

Image: Logitech

OK, continuing in that order... The MX Anywhere 2S is a pretty typical desktop mouse. The shape and feel are very comfortable, and with the exception of the Forward/Back buttons on the left side, you could easily use it either right- or left-handed.

While it is fairly small (especially compared to the MX Vertical), I certainly wouldn't say that it is small enough to be noteworthy as a mobile/portable device. Also, it doesn't have a place to store the wireless receiver when it is not in use, and it doesn't come with any kind of carrying case or bag. Previous Logitech portable/mobile/travel devices have had one or both of those features. So I'm not sure why it is promoted as a "Wireless Mobile Mouse".

That is about the only thing I can criticize the MX Anywhere 2S for, though. Physically and functionally it is a first-class device.

It can connect either via the Logitech Unifying Receiver (one is included), which means it can be combined with up to 5 other Logitech devices on a single USB port, or via Bluetooth Low Energy. It can be paired with up to three different systems, selected by a button on the bottom of the mouse and indicated by an associated LED, and each connection can be either Unifying or Bluetooth.

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A couple of other notes and comments about the connectivity. Both the mouse and the Unifying Receiver are in pairing mode when you take them out of the box, so if you just plug the receiver into a USB port and turn on the mouse, they will pair to each other and you'll be ready to go. If you're going to use it on Linux, you will probably want to install the Solaar package so that you can manage the connectivity and monitor the battery status.

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Image: Logitech

It has seven buttons and a scroll wheel (which actually counts as two more buttons on Linux systems):

  1. Left mouse button
  2. Middle mouse button
  3. Right mouse button
  4. Scroll wheel up
  5. Scroll wheel down
  6. Scroll wheel tilt left
  7. Scroll wheel tilt right
  8. Forward button
  9. Back button

The scroll wheel has a press/click switch which changes from a mechanical step-scroll to a free-wheeling smooth scrolling. The "cursor speed" button (on Windows), located at the top center of the mouse, between the scroll wheel and the power LED, is the middle mouse button (2) on Linux systems.

The MX Anywhere 2S is powered by an integrated rechargeable battery, which Logitech says can last up to 70 days on a full charge, and which will charge sufficiently for a full day's use in just three minutes. Charging is done using a USB cable (one is included in the package), and the micro-USB plug is on the front of the mouse, so it is possible (and not terribly inconvenient) to use the mouse while it is charging. The LED on the top of the mouse blinks while it is charging, and changes to solid green when the battery is fully charged.

The optical sensor has a nominal rating of 1,000 dpi, and in my use and tests so far it has lived up to its "Anywhere" name -- I haven't found any surface on which it does not track easily and accurately.

The MX Anywhere 2S is a fairly pricey mouse; it lists for CHF 99.90 (€89.90/£79.99), but it's not difficult to find it for a bit less than that. I paid CHF 69.- for mine, which is a lot better but is still not anything like cheap.

mx-vertical-front.png
Image: Logitech

Moving on to the MX Vertical, things get a bit more interesting -- at least visually. I said above that this device has a mesa rising from the center. Wikipedia describes a mesa as an elevated area with a flat top and sides that are usually steep, and that fits the MX Vertical very well.

When you grip the mouse (right-handed only), your thumb rests on the curved area shown here. The left and right mouse buttons are then under your fingers, as is the scroll wheel/middle button. The Forward/Back buttons are just above your thumb.

mx-vertical-angle.png
Image: Logitech

The ergonomic/comfort benefit of this design is that your wrist sits at what Logitech describes as a "natural handshake angle", rather than having to rotate to horizontal as it typically does when you use a mouse.

When I first saw the MX Vertical, I thought this was probably more of a "gee-whiz" than a significant factor, but I have been using it for a while now and I have to say honestly that my wrist and hand feel noticeably more comfortable on it.

I was also a bit skeptical about using the buttons and wheel with my hands and fingers in this position, but it took me less than a minute to get used to that.

The MX Vertical is also powered by an integrated rechargeable battery, this time Logitech says it can last up to 3 months on a full charge, and will charge sufficiently for three hours of use in just 1 minute. Charging is done using a USB cable (one is included in the package), and the USB-C plug is on the front of the mouse, so it is possible (and again not terribly inconvenient) to use the mouse while it is charging. There is an LED on the side of the mouse, next to the Forward/Back buttons, which blinks while it is charging, and changes to solid green when the battery is fully charged.

One other interesting note about the USB cable; when it is plugged in, the MX Vertical actually works as a corded mouse, and disables the wireless connection. Cool. The MX Anywhere 2S doesn't do this; it connects via Unifying Receiver or Bluetooth only.

The buttons on the MX Vertical are not as varied and versatile as the MX Anywhere 2S:

  1. Left mouse button
  2. Middle mouse button (click the scroll wheel)
  3. Right mouse button
  4. Scroll wheel up
  5. Scroll wheel down
  6. --
  7. --
  8. Forward button
  9. Back button

There is no left/right "tilt" function of the scroll wheel, and the "cursor speed" button in the flat part of the top does nothing at all on Linux systems. That's unfortunate. The scroll wheel also does not have the free-spin mode.

mx-vertical-bottom.png
Image: Logitech

The rest of the technical specifications of the MX Vertical are the same as for the MX Anywhere 2S. It can pair via Unifying Receiver (included) or Bluetooth Low Energy, with up to three devices, controlled by a button and LED on the bottom. There is also an on/off switch on the bottom.

The MX Vertical is even more expensive than the Anywhere 2S, list price is CHF 129.- (€109.99/£92.99). I was able to get one for CHF 99.- here.

However (and this is a pretty big however), if you are thinking of getting the MX vertical because of the ergonomic/cofort aspects, I would suggest very strongly that you also take a look at the Logitech MX Ergo Trackball. It is functionally almost identical to these two mice, and I find it to be more natural and comfortable to use than either of them. But then again, I am a long-standing trackball user, and some people just can't stand trackballs, so your mileage may vary.

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