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.
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.
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.
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.