It's been quite a while, but we previously reviewed one other G-series Logitech mouse—the famed G5—back in June of 2009 (if you're curious, GN's Steve only just recently replaced its teflon feet and the mouse itself, giving it a total life of four years). That's a pretty long time ago in tech years and things have changed substantially during our Logitech hiatus; Logitech has steadily continued innovating, increasing their maximum DPI, overhauling configuration software to be more user-friendly, and the mice tend to look more-and-more like stealth bombers.
Mice can't be judged on any form of objective benchmark, though -- it's not like a CPU cooler or case -- as peripherals that constantly interact physically with the user, they must have well-placed buttons and be comfortable enough to be used for hours on end. Ideally for a number of years, as was the case with the G5.
Logitech G600 Specs & Features
It's pretty easy to make jokes about how the mouse looks like it has an old-style cellphone keypad on it, or how you could bind your numpad to your left thumb, or how -- by using macro profiles -- you could actually bind the entire keyboard to the mouse. It'd be easy to make those jokes, so we won't. The point is, though, that the mouse looks quite a bit different from the traditional "gaming mouse" design; gaming mice have historically been fitted with mice that are unusable due to distance or are just downright uncomfortable, and given Logitech's past history for proper ergonomic design, it's apparent that they tried to remedy this with their thumb-based keypad.
The mouse is fat toward the left- and rear and is painted with a matte paint, giving it a very sleek look and a smooth-but-grippy surface. We'll talk more about the look, feel, features, and ergonomics below. Let's hit the hard specs.
The G600 comes well-equipped for gaming. Here's what the specs look like:
- Resolution range from 200-8200 DPI.
- 11.25 megapixels per second image processing.
- 30G maximum acceleration.
- 160 in. (4.06m) per second maximum speed.
- Up to 1000Hz reporting frequency.
- 133 grams without cable, 148 with.
- 6.5 foot/2 meter cable.
Additionally, Logitech claims the main buttons are good for "20 million clicks" and that the teflon feet will hold-out for 250 kilometers. If anyone reaches either of those milestones, go ahead and send us a message--I'd love to see how it turns out.
Speaking strictly to aesthetics, Logitech's made the choice pretty easy: it's either all black (our review model) or white with black trim. The thumb panel buttons on the side of the mouse are backlit by programmable multi-color LEDs, able to illuminate any color you like, with adjustable brightness and white/black levels.
Three profile modes can be set up, each with different DPI, color, and keybinds/macros, and we'd recommend assigning different LED color combinations for profiles to avoid confusion when in-game. Each mode has on-the-fly adjustment capabilities with buttons for DPI cycling, DPI shift, and G-shift.
The user selects up to four different DPI levels and then assigns one level to be the "default"-- 2000 DPI, for instance--and one as the "shift," which we'll say is 400 DPI. The mouse is naturally at the default level, but the user can cycle through up to four total levels they have preset by hitting the DPI cycling key; users can also hold down the DPI shift key to temporarily revert to the predefined "shift" DPI setting (optimal if you're scoping with a sniper rifle and need to momentarily improve precision control).
Then there's the G-Shift key. The G-Shift key, if held down, provides a second set of functions for the 12 G-keys on the side of the mouse, much like the function key found on some laptops or the macro bind presets found on Logitech's dominating G-series keyboards.
As a mouse made specifically for MMOs, the G600 has a lot of buttons—20, not including secondary functions triggered by G-Shift. The full list is: 12 "G" buttons, left- and right-click, ring-finger click, middle-mouse click (scroll wheel), scroll up/down, scroll left/right (tilt/lean for gaming), and two buttons on the very top-center of the mouse (one raised, on depressed - this reduces user confusion). The mouse ships with functions assigned to all buttons and three modes already preconfigured, so if you're hopelessly confused by now, don't worry about it -- you can use the default config as a template to build upon.
Theoretical Application of Features
The mode system is intended, as far as I can tell, to provide an easy way to completely change settings between different games or game types. It's very unlikely that you'll need more than 32 functions from your mouse or more than four simultaneous DPI levels, so we'd think one mode should be sufficient for similar games. Perhaps having an FPS mode, an MMO/RTS mode, and an everyday mode would be useful, but only if you use drastically different mouse settings in each situation.
The 20+ button design caters to gamers that want to use macros like crazy. Keeping one hand on the keyboard and one on the mouse is the ideal arrangement, and by binding multi-button combinations to a single mouse key, that becomes possible; this also expands the total number of key combinations to allow deeper MMO key assignment, so if you're running out of keyboard keys and need to combine shift+[ to trigger some ability, well, that is easily bound to a button on the mouse. This obviously places it more within reach and reduces user input latency between issued commands, hopefully improving effectiveness in intense PvP matches or dungeons. 24 functions can be performed by the thumb keypad alone, making it simpler and quicker to perform different tasks, if you can memorize everything...
Logitech G600 Real-World Tests & Use Case Scenarios
Sadly, more buttons does not necessarily equal more gaming prowess. Were that the case, I'd just plug in a couple more keyboards and be ranked top of the SC2 ladders.
The 12-button thumb pad is "meticulously designed for quick and easy no-look navigation," with angled faces and raised marks on a couple of the keys in similar fashion to home-row key demarcations. This doesn't work for me. Undoubtedly I could memorize the layout of the buttons if I put some effort into it, but frankly, it's much easier to bind things to the familiar territory of the keyboard, where keys are easily visible and I already know what I'm doing. And that's part of the problem: When it's more efficient to slam shift+[ in an intense situation, that's what you're going to do; you can't risk the extra few milliseconds it takes to process a newly-macro'd key.
As with anything, it takes practice and regular use. GN's Steve used the mouse to play Rift (the MMO) and asked me to add his thoughts to this review:
"The buttons are interesting. I've been testing the Genius Gila, DeathTaker, and Thermaltake's Level 10 mice for the last few weeks now, and this one definitely fits comfortably in between all of them in terms of pure functionality. The two front-most rows of G-keys are most useful and I'd bound them two my secondary hotbar for use in Rift PvP, but it took time to memorize; the layout of the competing Gila mouse [review soon] is much more intuitive and helps the brain associate functions by separating the keys into two distinct-but-reachable corners of the mouse. The Logitech mouse just sort of vomits them all onto the left side -- a decision that is much less intuitive to the user and less compatible with split-second decisions. I did eventually learn the buttons, but I find the back two rows of the G-Keys to be almost entirely useless; the backmost row is simply uncomfortable (my thumb doesn't flex that well without locking awkwardly or losing precise control of the mouse) and the row above it is just hard to get to. I ended up simply using the front two rows of G-Keys."
Back to me. I'm not enamored with the button layout, which is a bit sad, as it's the main feature of the mouse. I'd like to add, though, that I do not play many (if any) games that require so many keybinds. If you think you'd be able to use the twelve side-buttons -- or six, per Steve's note -- and their twelve possible secondary functions, and you think that you'd want all of those buttons on your mouse, under your thumb, go ahead--I wish you luck.
The most useful feature of the mouse by far is, in my opinion, the DPI shift key. Being able to temporarily change the DPI rather than toggling it makes a big difference when switching to a sniper rifle or entering any situation where delicate movements are required. It also facilitates normal system usage when twitch action isn't required. The whole system of using modes and shift keys is very clever, albeit nothing new, and it makes the mouse more globally useful in diverse situations.
Comfort & Ergonomics
Now for my favorite part: Ergonomics. Something more tangible.
The G600 is very, very comfortable. It's a palm-grip mouse, which is what you'd expect from a mouse designed for time-consuming MMOs, and there isn't really any other way to hold it. The shape of the mouse and button placement encourages a full grip (better for your wrist, anyway) and prevents manipulating the mouse with just your fingertips. However, even as a traditional claw-gripper, I'm perfectly fine with that. The large button on the right provides a convenient resting place for the ring finger, while the pinkie holds the textured rubber side of the mouse or drags on the mouse surface, and the thumb extends along the keypad on the left. I was content with the weight of the mouse, but it isn't adjustable as other mice are (including the G5), so make sure you're happy with 133 grams before you buy.
The only downside, comfort-wise, was the placement of the G buttons; although the six buttons near the front of the mouse are easily reached, the six rear buttons require the thumb to bend unnaturally or the entire hand to shift, which causes loss of precision in twitch scenarios. Problems are easily avoided by not using those buttons, but it still feels like a waste of the mouse's potential; perhaps Logitech could take a page from Genius' book and place buttons toward the upper-left and upper-right corners of the top of the mouse.
Logitech G600 Drivers & Macro Software
The G600 comes preconfigured with the earlier-mentioned key bindings. The drivers are available on Logitech's website for free, of course, and are definitely worth the download. The settings menus are intuitive and include guided photos for those of us who think reading directions is for the weak.
As soon as you launch the software you're given the option of using profiles saved on the computer or the mouse's internal memory. That might not sound very exciting, but when using profiles stored locally, a scan is performed for games compatible with Logitech's prebuilt profiles. The list consists of 260 seemingly random games, but it has the potential to include more in the future; profiles can be downloaded from other users on the web in addition to the list of prebuilt options. Once a game is selected, Logitech provides a list of necessary functions (for instance, V.A.T.S. in Fallout 3) that can be dragged-and-dropped onto a mouse button of your choice.
If you find yourself playing a game that is not included on the list, you can either spend time setting the mouse up yourself or download a suitable profile in XML or LGP format.
The menus are self-explanatory, with 3D pictures of the mouse and clear labeling for every option. It's possible to assign custom key combinations, with several common ones (e.g. ctrl+x, ctrl+c) already set as default options.
All-in-all, it's a far cry from the days of the G5, and it appears Logitech has successfully addressed complaints and problems with their previously unimaginative software.
Logitech G600 MMO Mouse: Value & Conclusion
The G600 sells for about $80, but it's usually on sale for less somewhere ($75 on TigerDirect for black or white); if you play a lot of MMOs and value comfort and ergonomics, then it's worth the cash. Given our four-year tenure with the G5 (and it's still usable, just needs a second teflon feet replacement), we'd expect the G600 to last for a long time yet. It's almost always worthwhile to invest in quality components -- better to buy once every 4-5 years than once every year.
Personally? I like it, and I can recognize that it's a good mouse, but it isn't the right mouse for me. Mice are very personal and will vary in usability dependent on many key factors, like the user's hand size, games played, and ergonomic requirements. I play Team Fortress 2, indie games, and type up articles, none of which require more than three or four additional mouse buttons. Steve did the MMO testing and already left you with his thoughts above, so obviously different playstyles will require different mice.
It's fun to use and the DPI shift does come in handy, but there are better mice for my purposes at the same or lower prices. All told, Logitech makes a good mouse, and unless you really don't like those thumb buttons (which is totally reasonable, they can annoy me too), you won't be disappointed--but, if you feel that you won't use all the features you're paying for, just buy a cheaper mouse or wait for our impending Gila review.
- Patrick Lathan.