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Logitech Unveils Two New Mice That Work On Almost Every Surface

August 20, 2009

New Logitech Mice Work On Any SurfaceIf you’ve ever used a laser mouse, you know how frustrating it can be to use pointing devices on particularly smooth surfaces when your mouse pad is missing in action. After a few minutes of trying to get the device to track properly, you reach for the closest magazine or book to stop the cursor from jumping all over the screen or disappearing completely.

On Wednesday, Logitech unveiled two new mice the company says will work on most surfaces in your home. The regular-sized Performance Mouse MX and more portable Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX use Logitech’s new, hyper-sensitive Darkfield Laser technology, which the company promises will work on most table and countertop surfaces including glass, granite, and lacquered wood.

The reason computer mice don’t work well on uneven surfaces is because most laser mice need a smooth surface with some minor but noticeable rough spots. The mice use these imperfections as reference points to figure out where the pointer should appear on your computer screen. But with particularly smooth surfaces, there simply aren’t enough irregularities for a typical laser mouse to detect. Darkfield, on the other hand, detects microscopic particles and tiny surface scratches as reference points making it a more accurate device than a regular laser mouse, according to Logitech.

Logitech’s Performance Mouse MX has a suggested retail price around $100, features four thumb controls, and comes with a micro-USB charger. The notebook-sized Anywhere Mouse MX will sell for about $80. Both mice are wireless and feature dual-mode scrolling with a hyper-fast and regular scroll mode, and both devices work with Logitech’s Unifying receiver — a tiny USB device that can connect up to five wireless devices to your computer.

The new Darkfield mice are part of a new breed of pointing devices adaptable to any surface. Last fall, Microsoft unveiled its BlueTrack system for mice, which Redmond says works on a range of surfaces from carpet to granite countertops. But before you get your hopes up about Darkfield, Logitech says for glass the new technology needs a surface at least 0.15 inches thick to work properly. Darn, and to think I just spent all that money on a glass tabletop only 0.10-inches thick.

So, in conclusion:

Logitech on Wednesday expanded the company’s line of high-end mice with two models that offer enhanced scrolling capabilities. Thanks to the company’s new Darkfield Laser Tracking, the desktop Performance Mouse MX and the portable Anywhere Mouse MX can be used on virtually any surface, including glass, granite, and lacquered wood. According to Logitech, whereas standard optical and laser mice rely on visible irregularities on the mousing surface to detect movement–an approach that makes glass and glossy surfaces difficult to track–these new mice use dark-field microscopy to detect microscopic particles and scratches.

The two RF-wireless mice also feature Logitech’s dual-mode scroll wheel that works in either the traditional one-click-one-line mode or a special freewheel mode. Both also use the company’s new Unifying receiver, a tiny USB dongle for wireless connectivity that supports up to six Unifying-compatible keyboards and mice simultaneously. This means, for example, that you need only a single USB dongle for both a keyboard and a mouse. (Compatible Logitech models include the Keyboard K350, Keyboard K340, Marathon Mouse M705, and Wireless Mouse M505.)

The $100 Performance Mouse MX is a right-handed, full-size model with an ergonomic design, four additional customizable buttons, and force-sensitive side-to-side scrolling. A micro-USB port lets you recharge the mouse’s battery via your computer or the included power adapter, even while using the mouse. The $80 Anywhere Mouse MX uses a symmetrical design, although the mouse’s two thumb-activated buttons are designed for righties.

Both models should be available in stores later this month, but are available for pre-order now.

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