Hands-on Review – Logitech G502 X Plus Mouse

Gaming on PCs has been a fast-growing industry for a while now, however the rapid release of so many gaming consoles, and of course, the surge in VR gaming brought about by Oculus/Meta, PlayStation and Pico (to name the major players only) has made a significant impact on the humble PC’s ability to stay as a leading platform. Still, if you want to be able to customise your gaming gear to any significant degree, there’s no doubt PC is the way to go. To that end, Logitech G has updated their leading G502 series mice with the G502 X range. There are a few units in that range, but this review will only focus on the G502 X Plus, since that is the unit I received for review.

Available in two colourways – black and white-and-grey – the mouse is stylish and relatively discrete, with less of the angular ‘alien spaceship’ look that some brands have favoured in recent times. Looking at this unit doesn’t give you the worry that you might cut yourself if you grab it incorrectly, the way some manufacturers’ offerings have. While for some this may not be quite the drawcard, many will find the aesthetic to be pleasingly ‘techy’ without veering into ‘dangerously angular’ or ‘alienesque’ which for me is a huge turn-off. I took one look at this mouse and sighed in joy. At last, a mouse big enough to fit my hand comfortably, removing any need to make the ‘claw of crampingness’ that so very many mice force my hand into. However, not all is joy when it comes to this newest iteration.

A mixed-blessing is the sheer number of buttons they managed to fit into this little package. There are the usual left/right mouse buttons of course, plus two under your thumb – default settings have these as previous/next (aka forward/back) page which is so very useful for web browsing. In front of those is a nifty button that I will go into shortly. Above them, along the top-left edge of the mouse – perfectly placed for your right-index finger to tap (often accidentally) are two more buttons that allow you to swap between up to five DPI settings (Translation: the mouse’s speed across the screen) and I found these to be possibly the most frustrating buttons on the unit, as I keep hitting them by accident when trying to do a simple left-click. There are also two buttons on top, behind the scroll wheel. The rear one is set to cycle through onboard profiles while the forward one swaps the scroll wheel between stepped-scroll and free-wheeling. Like many high-end mice, the scroll wheel is also a third mouse-click button, but with gentle sideways pressure from your index and middle fingers, it can be pressed sideways to give you horizontal scrolling too – perfect for those fast side-steps during combat for gamers, but also for scrolling wide frames in web browsers and spreadsheets – to name the most predominant usage scenarios. For me personally, being a heavy user of spreadsheets, this was an absolute winning feature.

Now… that strange little button at the front of the left-side, ahead of the back/forward buttons. This is, by default, set as ‘return to default DPI’, meaning that while gaming, if you have clicked-up to the highest resolution in order to give yourself maximum-movement in-game, rather than down-click through the five-steps, you can simply reach forward with your thumb to reset back to default speed. This is great… for those that would use it. It really is a vital shortcut for any gamer who needs to get back to normal-speed instantly. For those who would also use this in a ‘work’ scenario, it’s a mixed blessing. However, Logitech came up with an interesting solution. Rather than use software to disable the feature when not wanted, they instead provide a novel button-cap that can be flipped over to move the effective contact-point of the button forward or backward, to suit your thumb. If you decide the button isn’t required at all, you can even remove the cap entirely and replace it with a smaller cap that doesn’t activate the button at all – effectively, you replace the button with a non-functional cap and the button ‘disappears’ from under your thumb entirely.

The mouse also comes with a USB-C cable that you can use for recharging it, turning it into a wired mouse for a while, and a neat little adaptor that turned the Type-C plug into a Type-A socket… to plug in the dongle. Yup… though wireless, the mouse does not support Bluetooth at all, instead relying on a proprietary WiFi communication channel instead. A silly, and irrational flaw in the design, in my mind. Anything above Bluetooth 4 has more than enough bandwidth to cope with the data transmitted between the mouse and the PC, and is quite capable of carrying programming data as well, so to avoid this all-pervasive and well-matured technology for a specialist dongle is simply incomprehensible to me, though I will admit that very little information is provided as to why exactly this decision was made. I’d love to know the rationale behind this design choice, but so far no joy has come from enquiries with Logitech. So for now, I have to chalk it up as ‘one of those things’ and move forward. Thankfully, it’s not a huge deal-breaker for me, but some users may feel otherwise. Because my laptop is my main workhorse, and comes with me when I travel, I have a carry bag that fits my laptop very snugly, to avoid it moving around in transit. This means I can’t have extra bits sticking out the side when I travel, so the dongle has to come out of the laptop and go… somewhere. This has been factored in, and on the base of the mouse there is a small, circular hatch that you can pop open and store the dongle inside. You may see reviews that claim the dongle just sits loose in there and rattles around in transit – ignore them. The dongle does indeed sit snug in a form-fitting space and will not rattle around as long as you push it into place. There is a void underneath one end of the dongle, which allows you to push on the end and the dongle will then rotate into a position where it becomes easy to remove. The circular cap is just a magnetically-attached cover which you can replace with an induction coil, allowing the mouse to charge wirelessly in-use if you buy one of Logitech’s specialist mousepads with charging functionality. Really only useful for those who plan on running epic gaming sessions and refuse to go tethered.

Reassigning functionality to some of the buttons can be achieved via the G-Hub software package that is free to download from the Logitech website, which is a central app that allows you to coordinate multiple devices under the same family, such as keyboards, mousepads and speakers. Changing the functions of the buttons is as simple as opening the list of functions available and dragging the chosen function onto the label of the button you want to assign it to – so simple! This is also where you can configure other devices that utilise Logitech’s technology such as LightSync, wherein you can assign your own colour schemes to the units. For gamers, this is always going to be a popular feature, and I have to admit even as a more work-oriented user, having some control over the colours of the onboard LEDs is kinda cool. Even though my laptop doesn’t use Lightsync, it has a backlit keyboard and it is nice to be able to choose my own colours on the mouse to match those of the keyboard.

However, there are some usability issues with the software, in that the UI is somewhat confusing to a degree. When you open the app, you are presented with a list of all the compatible devices detected, and each has a small image of the device and a couple of configuration icons to the right. However, the majority of the configuration options are to be found not by clicking an icon, but the thumbnail of the device itself. Having the majority of the options ‘hidden’ by the lack of an icon misled me for a while – it took an accidental click to find them, whereas logic would have had all options to be found by clicking the “Device Settings” icon. Instead, the “Device Options” menu only allows you to tweak a few of the more basic settings, and is actually more of a “Device Status” display instead – showing you battery level (which was already displayed on the main page anyway), power consumption ratings, firmware version and a couple of basic lighting settings. For such a well-established company with a long and strong track-record for high-end hardware, this is a strange UX decision, to say the least.

Power usage is a huge factor with this unit, in that it’s surprisingly energy-efficient. A full charge on the mouse will last you anywhere up to 130 hours if you turn all the lights off, or around 42 hours if you opt to have all the pretty lights on, depending on your usage profile. Heavy users will drain it faster, of course. So if you are planning an epic gaming marathon, expect to get the best out of this beast by using in cable-connected mode to avoid your avatar suddenly falling still mid-combat due to battery drop-out. Another thing to keep in mind if you go the tethered-mouse route is that when you power off your PC, if you forget to turn off the mouse, and it’s connected, the mouse will drain power even when inactive. I found the best way to use it is cable-free and simply plug it in to charge overnight while connected to a power-providing source. Since my laptop is powered up almost 24-hours under most circumstances, this only affected me when I went mobile and took the laptop travelling with me. There’s a simple power switch on the base of the mouse, and it isn’t a big deal to flick it off when I walked away from the laptop. It’s a habit I already have thanks to using a cheaper wireless mouse previously, so it doesn’t prove to be a significant issue at all. Your usage profile may vary, so you’ll need to find your own path to walk on that score.

It is worth noting that I also have a power USB 3 hub in my system, used to connect a couple of extra screens and some external hard drives to the laptop when I am in the office, so I thought it would be a simple matter of plugging the mouse’s dingle into the hub so it’s always ‘there’ but left the laptop’s onboard USB 3 ports open for other devices, however the dongle was not auto-detected by the laptop (under Win 10) when I plugged it into the hub. It was only functional when plugged directly into the laptop itself… and that was by far the biggest annoyance I found. Sorry to say, it is a significant flaw in the dongle’s architecture that it failed to work as it should. USB is a very well-established technology that works extremely well, so this is definitely a design flaw, not a tech-fail. Here’s hoping a future firmware update will resolve this significant failure.

The unit overall is fairly lightweight, though gamers might disagree – it weighs in at around 105g (which is strange since the official specs state 89g which is simply incomprehensible to me) which is more than light enough for me, but does provide a tiny bit more resistance to sudden movements than other gaming mice. This places the unit a little more central on the scale between gaming and day-to-day hardware. However, to offset that, the DPI rating (aka speed) can be wound right up to a simply stunning 25,600 DPI. To put that into perspective, I run four monitors on my system, in an array three-across with a central screen below. That means that, because I run my screens at 1920×1080 each, my desktop is 5,760 pixels wide by 2,160 pixels tall… when I ramp the DPI up to maximum, the mouse needs a ‘mousepad space’ only a little over 150mm wide by 70mm tall. That’s insanely sensitive, so I tend to use a DPI range of between 1200 – 2400 DPI for daily use, and only ever ramp it up to about 12,000 DPI when I play games.

I should also mention the ‘LIGHTFORCE Hybrid Opto-Mechanical Switches’ under the two primary buttons. These have the feel of mechanical switches, which will appeal to gaming purists, but are actually optical switches that give you much better response times and increased durability. This won’t mean much to most users, but it’s an interesting development of the technology that I am curious to see the evolution of in future series. They certainly feel good, have that sound that lets you know that yes, you have indeed activated that particular button and should see a result, and don’t have any detracting features that I have discovered to date. It’s a real feather in Logitech’s cap that they have developed this hybrid technology and I can’t wait to see it rolled out to their range of keyboards as well. That will be where it really makes its bones.

As a final note, while I don’t normally make a big deal about packaging, but in this case it’s worth mentioning that all of the packaging is paper-based, thus fully recyclable. No plastic anywhere except in the mouse itself, which is sure to please all those who have a focus on eco-awareness.

Overall, while not the bleeding-edge tech it may at first appear to be, this is indeed a solid mouse that will impress those who want a sturdy workhorse mouse by day and a gaming wizard by night. Despite being pitched mainly to the gaming market, those who want a good mouse with some great features and functions to improve workflow will find this to be an excellent upgrade from the regular hum-drum ‘normal’ mice. It is well priced for both markets, though it might feel like a bit of a reach for the working user’s wallet… until you have spent a couple of hours tuning it ‘just right’ for you. Once you have it set to your needs, and then ‘flip it’ into gaming mode with the press of a single button, you’ll understand why it is priced the way it is – it’s almost two mice rolled into one. My biggest piece of advice is – be patient in the early stages. The default configuration is not going to suit everyone, in fact I would almost go as far as to say that your very first task, after unboxing and charging the mouse up, would be to get stuck into the configuration options and adust almost everything. The ability to store profiles on the device, and swap between them with a single button press, will be the salvation of your sanity. I now have two main profiles stored in the mouse’s onboard memory – a ‘work’ and a ‘play’ – in working mode all the fancy lights and DPI adjustments are switched off to maximise battery life and minimise accidental annoyances, while the ‘play’ profile activates all the bells and whistles… and lights… to give me all the fun stuff. There are even some app-specific commands stored in the G-Hub software for things such as Discord, Overwolf and OBS (whatever that is), and you have the ability to design and designate your own macros as well. The biggest ‘playtime’ feature has to be the Lightsync. Pro Tip: Ignore the presets – they’re kinda boring – and instead go play with the “Freestyle” tab – you have total control of all of the 8 LEDs individually, giving you endless customisation possibilities.

Rating:

Posted in partnership with: KIWIreviews.nz

Disclosure Statement: This unit was supplied by Logitech expressly for the purposes of review. No fee was offered or accepted for this impartial review.


G502 X is the latest addition to the legendary G502 lineage. Redesigned to achieve an impressive weight reduction down to 89 grams. Featuring our first-ever LIGHTFORCE hybrid optical-mechanical switches and HERO 25K sub-micron sensor.

You can read the original press release [-here-]

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