Gadget regret: Cordless mouse

I usually do plenty of research before buying gadgets so there are very few purchases I regret, but this year there’s one that I feel really bad about. My Logitech MX1000 laser mouse. Not because it’s a bad mouse, quite the contrary in fact, but because it lacks a tail.

I’ve probably spent more than half my professional career with a Logitech mouse in my hand. They’re great. Even the cheap Dell-relabeled ones are a pleasure to work with. Except for my last one, an LX3, which had trouble with the smooth white surface of my desk. I looked into high-end mouse pads to solve this but ended up getting an MX1000 instead because it was on sale and the laser sensor would probably solve the problem as well. And it did, but at a cost…

Pros and cons

Most people buy cordless mice for one of two reasons. Freedom of movement and reduced desktop clutter. In return you get the hassle of having to charge the mouse’s batteries and increased weight.

Weight
Because of the batteries, cordless mice are heavier. This one isn’t particularly bad, but some cause noticeably more strain on your arm. I prefer my mice light and nimble, so this was a step backwards from the LX3.

Charging
The MX1000 comes with a cradle, which is very convenient. When fully charged the mouse will work for several days. No batteries to load and swap, so it’s almost as comfortable as working with a regular mouse. Now if only the cradle wasn’t so ugly…

Freedom of movement
I think that most people who have trouble moving their non-cordless mouse around should try two things. One is to clean up their desk and the other is to put a small piece of adhesive tape over the cord at the back of the desk. This will keep the rest of the cord from pulling at the mouse. With that little tweak I’ve never had any trouble with regular mice. So for me the MX1000 isn’t any better because it lacks a cord.

Clutter
The MX1000’s cradle needs wires to be plugged into a power socket and into your computer’s USB port. So instead of a single wire that connects the mouse to my computer I now have two, as well a hideous plastic mouse stand on my desk. If anything it has increased the amount of clutter.

Help, my mouse is killing trees!

But why I really feel bad about getting this mouse is that although it (for me) offers nothing extra over a good cord mouse it does come at a cost to the environment. For one thing it needs the power adapter to be plugged in to charge. In practice this means that it’s plugged in 24/7, and these little power bricks are notorious for leaking power. And when the battery inside the mouse wears out, I’ll need to replace it. Probably the whole mouse in fact, causing toxic waste as the batteries contain all sorts of nasty metals.

So compared to a USB mouse it consumes more power and causes more waste. Probably not a lot by absolute standards, but you have to consider that there are a billion PCs in use worldwide. If all of them would switch to cordless mice the pollution would really add up.

So if you’re in the market for a new mouse, please consider getting one with a tail. Most of us only move the mouse within a couple of square inches and have no real need for it to be wireless. This is even more true for keyboards. There are a lot of instances where a cordless setup can be very handy, but if you, like me, are a regular desktop user, chances are you’ll be just as happy with regular mouse. And the environment will thank you.

14 Comments

  1. Wow I didn’t know about the disadvantage of cordless mouse till I read this. I always thought that they were cool gadgets. I guess I’m still better off with the regular mouse or just be contented with the laptop’s trackball or mouse pad for scrolling and selection. Thanks for sharing this!

    Comment by Busby SEO Test Gary Viray — December 17, 2008 @ 7:05 am

  2. I really prefer the cordless mouse. I like all my peripherals to be cordless – it is aesthetically pleasing as well as easier to use IMO.

    I am not sure about the enivironmental issues involved either. There is less waste with cordless IMO. You only have to plug in the charger when you charge, as opposed to draining power the entire time your corded mouse is in use. Plus the battery in my cordless mouse has lasted for multiple years – no sign of it dying yet. Then there is the actual piece of cord saved.

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    Comment by Ted — December 17, 2008 @ 7:49 pm

  3. Thanks for the review. I think my borther was looking at buying this one so I will definatly have him read your reviewfrist. I myself prefer wireless but I certainly agree that having to plug in 2 cords is too much.

    Comment by Gary Pollock — December 18, 2008 @ 3:36 pm

  4. I’m with you on the power leaking.

    Just one suggestion, if you still use it, well two actually. First try sticking the “clutter” charger to the bottom of your desk (underneath). If you can charge it on the charger under the desk so much the better.

    Comment by Daniel Massicotte — December 18, 2008 @ 5:07 pm

  5. @Ted. A corded mouse uses very little power, and non whatsoever once the computer is off. In terms of power consumption the leaking issue is by far my biggest concern.

    @Daniel. I’m not quite sure how that would work. This particular cradle pretty much relies on gravity to keep the mouse in place, so it would have to be attached in the upright position.

    I’ll continue using it btw, it’s a very good mouse. I’ll just never buy a cordless one again…

    Comment by Roy — December 18, 2008 @ 7:09 pm

  6. I’ve got the same mouse. But the surface is terrible. The abrasive surface peels off.

    Comment by Wandtattoo — December 31, 2008 @ 10:34 am

  7. Good review.

    I used to use the earlier version of this series, excellent piece of machine….I must say… mine though runs on AA batteries and I have to say it has been a real pain in the behind to keep recharging them…

    Currently I use Dell Bluetooth keyboard and mouse with my desktop, whereas I would have anyday preferred a wired one, but, I was forced upon it since the user was someone else at first… now I am stuck with it.

    Anyways…. My next mouse would be wired… anyday…. but if you use a mac, mightymouse is pretty awesome and the battery consumption is pretty marginal too.

    and I love your ‘about’ paragraph, may I use a similar version on my site?

    Ciao

    Comment by Ankush Mittal — January 1, 2009 @ 7:53 pm

  8. I’m also a MX1000 user, bought mine almost 5 years ago, about 2 weeks after it was first mentioned on Tom’s Hardware, what can I say, I’ll never use anything else again, batteries are still good, it’s still as sensitive as it was 5 years ago and it’s still clicking unlike other mice of which the click sensor stops working after a year.

    If you’re worried about power leakage, unplug the charger when it’s not in use, I only charge mine overnight once a week even though I spend about 20 hours a day working on my computer.

    I’m not sure about the batteries, but it looks like a modified cellphone battery (yes, I have opened it to see what it looks like on the inside as well as to clean it), if mine ever dies, I’ll fix it and continue using it!!!

    Comment by Re@PeR — January 2, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

  9. @Ankush: Although I’d recommend tapping into your own creativity, feel free to nick my ‘about’ thingy.

    @Re@PeR: It is a nice mouse. I wonder though whether Logitech’s more expensive corded mice don’t use the same sensor, and therefore will be just as nice. Good to know that it’s durable though.

    Comment by Roy — January 3, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

  10. Link: Logitech MX400 corded laser mouse | Roy Tanck's weblog
  11. Hey , i love my Logitech Cordless Click! Plus. Thing is i bought two of them on sale ;D One is always in its cradle loading its batteries. While i use the other one ;D

    Comment by Poul — March 4, 2009 @ 4:34 pm

  12. however, cordless mouse offers freedom of moving :)

    Comment by fun2me — March 10, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

  13. I have this mouse, it was retired from daily use a couple years ago in favor of the G7 by Logitech, but it was/is a good mouse. I do agree about the charger hassle, having to plug into two places really does add the unnecessary clutter. However the battery life is wonderful! The G7 was a better fit for my hand (I have small hands), but its receiver/charger wasn’t much better. Got rid of the power cord bit and the battery was charged via the usb, but the built in battery was replaced by 2 cartridges, which you could change out when one needed charging. Anyway now they’ve both bit the dust! The MX1000 just won’t charge anymore, idk why, and the G7 receiver was chewed up by the dog. Needless to say Logitech doesn’t sell the receiver separate, and I am not buying a whole other mouse just to get another receiver. So I’ve decided now to nix the Logitech idea of cordless b/c with a bluetooth laptop why should I have to have a receiver anyway??

    Probably gonnna go corded with the next one, my only thing is I have to have that side back button, I love that! Use it ALL the time…

    Comment by Shea Cooper — March 17, 2009 @ 1:22 am

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