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Logitech MX Master 3 for Business review: But is it the best mouse for you?

Logitech added its new Bolt wireless technology to the MX Master and other lines to create a class of devices hardened against interference and unwanted intrusions. Let's see how this extra feature affected one of the most popular productivity mice available today.
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Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer on

Logitech's MX Master line has long been its flagship solution for business users. The line's customizable inputs, ergonomic design, and simple Logitech Options companion software have created a strong following through three generations of full-sized mice and laptop-centric offerings in smaller sizes.  

The third full-sized MX Master was released in September 2019 to almost universally positive reviews. Its better-than-ever ergonomics, intelligent scroll wheel, and rock-solid build quality brought in even more followers than its predecessor.

This is why Logitech chose the MX Master 3 as one of the flagship products to launch its collection of "for Business" solutions. The MX Master 3 for Business and all "for Business" offerings support Logitech's proprietary Bolt receiver, a revamped wireless connection technology that is designed to provide increased security against wireless intrusions and flawless operations in spaces with too much interference for most wireless peripherals to maintain a stable connection. 

Let's take a fresh look at the MX Master 3 for Business, including its Logi Bolt technology and its performance as a mouse for office workers, creatives, and casual browsers. 

Like
  • Comfy ergonomics
  • Extreme customizability
  • Thumb scroll wheel's diverse applications
  • Long-lasting battery with fast USB-C charging
Don't Like
  • Mediocre mouse glides
  • Flaky Logi Flow software
  • Limited availability
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Michael Gariffo

Form and build quality

The Logitech MX Master 3 for Business is a large, relatively heavy (141g), and sturdy-feeling mouse designed to nestle into your hand and fill your grip from palm to fingertip. The ergonomics of the third generation are the best yet, placing your mousing hand into a natural-feeling position with enough tilt to reduce wrist strain. 

The device features a total of seven programmable buttons: left, right, and middle mouse buttons; forward and back buttons; a Mode-Shift button to toggle the scroll wheel between Ratchet and Free-Spin modes; and a Gesture Command button that can be used with mouse gestures to add up to five additional functions. On top of these more common offerings, the MX Master 3 for Business also retains the line's well-loved thumb scroll wheel. 

Located just above the back and forward buttons, this secondary wheel can handle everything from horizontal scrolling, to zoom levels, to switching between desktops. 

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Michael Gariffo

On the bottom of the mouse, you'll find four skates, the sensor, a USB-C "quick charge" port, a power switch, and a three-way "mode switch" button that allows the MX Master 3 for Business to simultaneously connect to up to three devices using any combination of Bluetooth and Bolt receivers. 

All in all, the MX Master 3 for Business screams quality. It feels solid and stable in-hand, all buttons and wheels feel precise, and it glides across most surfaces effortlessly. I do wish Logitech would adopt the pure PTFE feet it uses in its gaming mouse lines for its business-centric offerings, but the more traditional glides found on this model are fine for most users. Aside from this minor gripe, I really can't fault any aspect of the MX Master 3 for Business' design or feel. 

Software 

The MX Master 3 for Business is compatible with both MacOS and Windows, via either Bluetooth or the Bolt receiver. 

Users can control the mouse's functionality via Logitech's Options, or new (still in beta) Options+ software. While there are some differences between the two, they primarily stick to offering the same selection of button and wheel reassignments, cursor and scroll wheel sensitivity adjustments, and access to Logitech's Flow software. 

Button and wheel assignments

All of the mouse's buttons, even its primary left and right clicks, can be reassigned. The options for assignment include everything from traditional mouse functions like forward and back, to system functions like copy and paste, and keyboard shortcuts of the user's choice. Depending on your operating system, the software can also trigger things like Windows' desktop switching, Mac's Expose and Launchpad interfaces, and similar functions. 

This same pane within Options and Options+ also allows you to control what the main and secondary scroll wheels do. Built-in options for the secondary include horizontal scrolling, zoom in/out, volume up/down, switching browser tabs, brightness controls, and more. 

The number of customizations available here is staggering and made even more versatile due to the ability to create discrete sets of functions for individuals apps currently installed on your system. Imagine using the thumb wheel as a quick way to switch tabs in Chrome, a zoom controller in Photoshop, and a volume dial in Spotify, and you'll understand how dialed-in the mouse can be for users willing to put in the time to fully customize it.

Cursor and scroll sensitivity 

This allows you to change how much your cursor will move based on the physical movement of your mouse. Unlike the Logitech G Hub software that the company distributes with its gaming mice, which uses a DPI setting for its sensitivity, Options relies on a simple percentage system for its cursor speed.

The simplicity of this might be attractive to users that are unsure about their preferred cursor travel speed. However, for someone only familiar with the preferred DPI speed they've been using across other mice, translating that speed to a percentage-based metric can be a frustrating experience. I would have preferred an option to set cursor speeds using DPI, or at least an included guide translating traditional DPI settings into a percentage. 

On the scroll wheel side of things, users can control the scroll speed, direction (standard or inverted), and whether or not the primary scroll wheel uses Logitech's SmartShift technology. SmartShift allows the scroll wheel to automatically switch from Ratchet mode, where you feel every click of the wheel's rotation, to Free-Spin mode, where a single flick of the wheel can keep it spinning for several seconds, depending on how fast you scroll. 

The ability to switch up and back automatically is something that's set the MX Master line above competing mice, including Logitech's own offerings that rely purely on manual switching. SmartShift works better than ever on the MX Master 3 for Business.

It definitely takes some getting used to. But, once you've accustomed yourself to how hard of a scroll it takes to get into Free-Spin mode, you'll very rarely have to manually control the scrolling mode afterward. That said, manual toggling can be achieved via the small button on the mouse's top, or via any other button you choose to map that function to in the Options software. 

Flow

This software is almost worth a review of its own. The goal of it is to allow a user to seamlessly move from one device to another with no more difficulty than dragging your cursor across a multi-monitor setup. Using Flow, users can connect to multiple devices, set their physical orientation, and determine how Flow will behave. Moving your cursor to the edge of your main PC's screen will automatically swap your mouse to controlling the device adjacent to that edge of the screen, whether it's a PC or Mac. 

Better yet, moving your cursor between computers brings any Flow-equipped keyboards along for the ride, essentially eliminating the need for a second set of input peripherals or a KVM switch, for many users. 

While this concept seems like a dream, on paper, its actual execution is far from perfect. Don't get me wrong, when it works, it's blissful, making you feel like all of your connected PCs are just one giant system. Unfortunately, its ability to continue working over long periods of time was inconsistent for me. 

More: Best silent mouse: Quiet clicks, fewer distractions

Things like switching my laptop to another Wi-Fi network and back almost inevitably broke the Flow function until I manually restarted the app or the entire PC. Similarly, restarting would sometimes require me to manually launch Flow, even if Options was set to automatically launch at startup. 

However, the worst issue is that Flow would just stop working for no apparent reason. It could be following one of the involved systems entering standby, or even just in the middle of an active session. I attempted several supposed fixes, but never reached a level of reliability where I felt like it was worth the constant effort it took to maintain Flow's functionality. 

Thankfully, most of the same capability is duplicated in the easy-switch button found on the mouse's bottom, and it works far more reliably. Tapping the button consistently switched between the three connected systems, producing a solid connection across either Bluetooth or the Bolt receiver, within just a couple of seconds.

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The little receiver that makes it all possible.

Michael Gariffo

Performance 

As mentioned just above, the MX Master 3 for Business has two ways to connect: Bluetooth and the Bolt receiver (seen above). Obviously, Bluetooth has the advantage of not requiring any PC-side hardware and being compatible with devices that don't include USB-A ports, like many recent MacBooks and other ultra-thin laptops.

While all of those benefits are present for the Bluetooth connection of the MX Master 3 for Business, I still ran into several of the same issues more budget-friendly Bluetooth mice tend to suffer from. These included occasional disconnects, minor cursor stutters, potential security vulnerabilities, and the constant sense that the cursor was lagging slightly behind my inputs. To be clear, these are all common Bluetooth drawbacks, and nothing that should be blamed directly on this mouse. 

That said, the presence of those issues made it all the more pleasant when I plugged in the Bolt receiver and used the MX Master 3 for Business via its specialized connection. The tiny USB dongle might be a near-twin to Logitech's much older Unifying Receiver, but its performance is very different in environments with wireless signal congestion. 

I tested the MX Master 3 for Business in a room with a Nest WiFi router, several smart home bulbs and switches, multiple other wireless mice and keyboards, and even a couple of wireless headsets. I realize this was something of a torture test for the technology, but Logitech is marketing the "for Business" line specifically to users in busy offices with open floors that can include just as many wireless devices competing for airspace. 

More: 6 tech upgrades to make your house even smarter 

I'm happy to report that the MX Master 3 for Business performed flawlessly when connected via the Bolt receiver, even under these strenuous circumstances. I wasn't able to get the full 33-foot range Logitech claims for congested spaces, but anything within 15 feet was extremely reliable and responsive enough for any productivity or creative applications. 

While I didn't have a master hacker handy to test out Logitech's claim that the mouse's Security Level 4 Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) compliance would prevent outside intrusion, the affirmation of its interference resilience claims certainly gives me confidence that the transmission protocols in the Bolt receiver are indeed superior to Logitech's standard fare. 

Price

The MX Master 3 for Business comes at a premium. The addition of the Bolt receiver raises its cost above the standard MX Master 3. For this reason, I should clarify that there is no other benefit to purchasing the MX Master 3 for Business over the standard model, aside from its enhanced Bolt connection. 

If you've never struggled with wireless interference and never use your mouse outside of the security of your own home, save yourself the cash and buy a standard MX Master 3. It can usually be had for about $100, and, as this review should have suggested, is one of the best productivity mice out there. 

Meanwhile, the MX Master 3 for Business is hard to even find an MSRP for. That's because Logitech chose to sell it exclusively via its Sales department, requiring potential buyers to contact its staff to make a purchase. Amazon similarly limits its sales to business accounts only. 

Thankfully for unlucky souls like myself that work in a constant sea of RF interference, even at home, the MX Master 3 for Business is available for retail purchase at Staples.

It does, however, come at a premium of anywhere from $10 to $20 over its standard counterpart. Nonetheless, it is more than worth this extra cost for the freedom from stutters, disconnects, and latency its Bolt receiver offers to the right user. 

Wrap up

The MX Master 3 was already an excellent mouse, and the addition of Logitech's Bolt technology makes it an ideal solution for a any users struggling with interference, and those anxious about the security provided by wireless peripherals. Although this upgraded version isn't necessary for everyone, its existence further cements the MX Master line's place as one of the best series of productivity mice out there. 

More: ZDNet Recommends: The best products for every office

Hopefully, Logitech will begin selling the MX Master 3 for Business, the Bolt Receiver, and the other "for Business" versions of its keyboards and mice at the full range of retailers. Those struggling with interference issues in their homes and offices would likely appreciate the extra hardening against unwanted wireless disturbances, and everyone could benefit from a little extra security. Thankfully, until Logitech sees the light, you can grab this excellent mouse via the link provided above. 

Alternatives to consider

  • Logitech G604 Lightspeed - This versatile mouse from the gaming space has even more customizable buttons than the MX Master 3, a similarly versatile (albeit manually switched) main scroll wheel, and multi-device support for a little over half of the MX Master 3 for Business' price.
  • Razer Pro Click - Razer's closest equivalent to the MX Master 3 is a business-focused, ergonomic mouse with a few less buttons, but additional support for up to four devices across Bluetooth or its own 2.4GHz wireless dongle. It also provides 400 hours of battery life per charge. 
  • Razer Pro Click Mini - Almost all of the same features as the full-sized Pro Click with one less button and a smaller, lighter shape for on-the-go users. It also includes Razer's new Hyperscroll scroll wheel to match Logitech's fast-spinning wheels.
  • Logitech MX Anywhere 3 - If you want something smaller but prefer Logitech over Razer, this model squeezes the MX Master pedigree into a package that's easy to toss into a laptop bag. 
  • Logitech G502 Lightspeed - Want something that's just as versatile as the MX Master 3 that can also help you get in some after-hours gaming? The G502 Lightspeed has tons of customizable buttons, a dual-mode scroll wheel, and ergonomic shape with a sensor that's right at home in any competitive shooter. Check out our full review.

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