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Manufacturer: Logitech
Min OS X: Any Version    Requires: USB Port

Logitech MX310
August 13, 2003 | Galen Wiley

Click to enlarge
Logitech announced the MX300 for casual users not in need of fancy bells and whistles attached to their hardware. Using MX Optical Engine technology and bundled with all sorts of extra productivity features, the MX300, like its older brothers in the MX family, delivered quality for a very reasonable price. The MX310 featues an all new design, an additional internet navigation feature, but with all the same native MX optical technology. Is the MX310 a success, or a complete miss? You'll just have to read this review to find out.

Optical Technology
One of the key features that sets the MX310 apart from any other $30 mouse is its patented MX Optical Engine, first introduced in the first edition MX300/500/700. What exactly is the MX Optical Engine, you ask? Well, I could just bore with numbers and fancy terms, like how the MX310 uses a revolutionary 800 dpi sensor, capturing at over 4.7 megapixels a second, but I'll give you the Reader's Digest version: it makes whatever mouse that has it installed incredibly accurate.

Does the technology actually do what it says, or is it just some sort of farfetched gimmick? To tell you the truth, I really couldn't tell. Don't get me wrong, the mouse was incredibly accurate, but not so much as I could tell a dramatic difference. However, the mouse did seem to run flawlessly over a completely black (read pattern-less, something that most optical mice refuse to work under) tabletop, something that my other mice would not do.

The important part is, the technology, while not very noticeable to myself, seemed to work as it should have, and thus, I encountered no real problems with precision during the MX310's evaluation. A job well done.

Comfort & Design
Switching from my Kensington Optical Elite to the MX310 was a tad awkward feeling, to say the least. Because the buttons required much less stress to operate, I found myself needlessly applying pressure whilst clicking, the left mouse button ceasing to depress any further.

Another odd feature that threw me off was the somewhat uncommon indent on both sides of the mouse. While their intent was clearly to hold the thumb and pinky in place while the remaining three fingers rested on top, the design felt incredibly gawky for someone who had, until this point, used only smooth sided mice.

All the anomalies aside, I was able to adjust in a relatively quick amount of time, and while I wouldn't say the MX310 is the most comfortable mouse I've ever handled, it certainly is acceptable.

Button layout was much more familiar, however. You've got your conventional left and right mouse buttons with scroll wheel, flowing effortlessly, in the middle. Some new "Logitech exclusive" features found on the mouse are the quick application switcher, located directly below the scroll wheel, and the two internet navigation buttons — controlling the back and forward buttons in a browser —equipped on each side of the mouse.

Unfortunately, while the mouse's standard buttons worked without a hitch, both the quick application switcher and internet navigation buttons felt entirely unnatural to me. I found myself having to withdraw my fingers from the left and right buttons in order to reach the app switcher. As for the internet navigation buttons, the "back" button (on a right hander, mind you) worked great, but I could for some reason never quite hit the "forward" button with my pinky, no matter how hard I tried. From there, I was forced to, once again, take both hands off the left and right buttons in order to hit the troublesome "forward" navigational button successfully.

Maybe I'm just being entirely too picky, maybe my hands are too weak, or too small, but what good is a feature on a mouse if it interferes so much with how you handle it? What's the point in making quick navigational features if they're more of a hassle than a help?

Turning things around a little, there is one thing that Logitech has done incredibly well with the MX310, and that's style. This mouse is one slick piece of plastic and parts, and is sure to complement your office or home equipment beautifully. I won't go on, simply because all the answers lie in the screenshot at the top of this page, but if there's one thing that this mouse really impressed me with, it's gotta be the look.

So there you have it, the MX310 might take a while to get adjusted to, button layout is somewhat awkward, yet there's something about it that just screams "class." Left handed users can operate the mouse flawlessly with some minor adjustments in the Logitech Control Center.


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