From the number of thumb buttons on the side to the number of LED colors on the palm rest, gaming mice have never been more versatile. Do we really need another one?
Logitech's answer is an enthusiastic "yes," as made evident by its two brand-new mice: the G403 Prodigy ($70) and the G403 Prodigy Wireless ($100). They're both part of Logitech's new Prodigy line, which aims to provide peripherals for new PC gamers who aren't yet ready to commit to more hardcore tech.
The two mice are perfectly comfortable and functional enough for up-and-coming PC gamers. However, the wired G403 is priced just like any other gaming peripheral, the design is overly familiar and the buttons lack brio. The G403 is still a rather good mouse in the grand scheme of things, but I'm not sure why it'd be friendlier to newcomers than most of its competitors and counterparts.
When I first tried out the G403, I thought that it felt extremely familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on why. A few minutes later, it hit me — it's a lot like the Razer DeathAdder. While the DeathAdder looks more angular and streamlined, the G403 feels extremely similar: an ergonomic, right-handed mouse with a gentle thumb groove, a broad thumb rest and a medium height. (The G403 measures 4.9 x 2.7 x 1.7 inches; the DeathAdder, 5.0 x 2.8 x 1.7 inches.)
The DeathAdder is hardly a bad design; in fact, it's one of my favorite mice. But the DeathAdder has inspired countless imitators among both first- and second-rate manufacturers, and Logitech has never tried to make a similar mouse before. To its credit, Logitech has pulled off the design very well, but it's not nearly as distinctive as something like the company's G502 Proteus Spectrum, or the G303 Daedalus Apex.
The G403 keeps things simple with just six buttons: a right button, a left button, a clickable scroll wheel, a dots-per-inch (DPI) sensitivity shifter and two thumb buttons. The thumb buttons in particular were a letdown after the positively gorgeous ones on Logitech's G Pro gaming mouse. The two thin plastic buttons feel flimsy, and deliver a shrug-worthy click rather than a really satisfying one. They're big and easy to differentiate from each other, though, so that's good.
The G403 runs on Logitech Gaming Software, as does every other modern Logitech gaming peripheral. I've expressed my admiration for the software in the past, as it's robust, easy-to-use and doesn't demand much in the way of system resources.
With the software, users can alter the mouse's DPI (between 200 and 12,000), program buttons, link individual profiles to games, change the illumination color and, on the wireless version of the G403, monitor the battery life. The color in particular is worth mentioning, as the G403 is a full RGB mouse, and can even sync up with other Logitech products for a coherent color pattern. The mouse also has three onboard profiles, which could be good for players getting their feet wet on the competitive scene, or just setting up shop at a friend's house.
The wireless version of the G403 also deserves a mention for its excellent fidelity. If you've used the nearly flawless G900 Chaos Spectrum, the G403 has the exact same wireless sensor, and you can expect more than 20 hours of battery life on a single charge. Just don't lose the sensor; it's tiny and black, which can be a deadly combination in any kind of crowded computer station setup.
When it comes to gameplay, the G403 is beyond reproach. I tried it out with Overwatch, StarCraft II, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Marvel Heroes, to give it the full spectrum of first-person shooter, real-time strategy, action/adventure and massively multiplayer online games.
The performance was good across the board, whether I was soaking up fire as D-Va in Overwatch, or hurling my shield at baddies as Captain America in Marvel Heroes. There was no particular standout genre; the G403's programmable buttons made it equally suited to commanding armies in StarCraft as to exploring shipwrecks in Rise of the Tomb Raider.
My only complaint was that the unsatisfying thumb buttons made me stick to the keyboard as much as possible. Not every gamer needs thumb buttons — generally speaking, I don't use them unless I'm testing a mouse — but the G403 does little to encourage newer players to adopt them.
Logitech wants the G403 to be an approachable mouse for novice PC gamers, and in that, it's succeeded. My only question is whether it really succeeds any better than the cheaper Daedalus Apex, the same-priced G Pro or the only-$10-more-expensive Proteus Spectrum. The G403 is not easier to use in any way that I can determine, and whether it's more comfortable depends largely on your personal tastes.
The G403's wireless variant deserves a nod for being an affordable wireless gaming mouse in a field where its competitors can often exceed $150. Otherwise, the G403 is good at what it does, but it's just one mouse among many.