At high levels of play, massively multiplayer online (MMO) games can be demanding titles, requiring pinpoint precision with a multitude of buttons. While MMO players may wonder why a keyboard wouldn't suffice, the $79.99 Logitech G600 MMO Mouse can replace a lot of traditional keyboard functions. A comfortable design and a wealth of customization options make this mouse an appealing prospect, but the sheer number of buttons can be superfluous or intimidating for all but the biggest diehards.
In terms of comfort, the G600 is a delight for anyone with a palm grip. Since the thumb controls 12 of its 20 buttons, there is no groove for the thumb. Rather, the index finger controls the left button, the middle finger controls the right button and the ring finger rests on a third button that activates the mouse's macro controls.
At 4.69 ounces (133 grams), the G600 is a bit heavier than the standard gaming mouse, and at 4.6 x 2.9 x 1.6 inches (118 x 75 x 41 mm), it's quite a bit bulkier, too. However, the heft makes the mouse feel substantial and satisfying to use.
Those who prefer to use claw or fingertip grips should take heed: This is not the mouse for you. To accommodate the 12 thumb buttons, Logitech made the mouse tall, and you have to stretch your fingers across it. Claw users will find their grip inefficient, while fingertip users won't be able to click the left button at all.
The thumb buttons themselves are the mouse's main draw, but what they offer in versatility, they lack in distinctness. Each button has a slightly different feel, but not quite different enough. Learning to navigate among 12 buttons with just one digit takes some time; doing so when the buttons differentiate themselves only through very subtle contours means that you'll be making lots of mistakes at first.
The G600 is a comfortable mouse overall, but its main draw — its plethora of buttons — takes some getting used to, and could have been easier to use. The mouse is also available only in a right-handed conformation, so left-handed users are out of luck.
Like its thumb buttons, the G600's software is a mixed bag. The software is unbelievably deep and customizable, but only the most patient users will explore everything it has to offer.
The G600 has six available profiles: three stored in the mouse, and three stored on the computer. Eighteen of its 20 buttons are programmable; the two nonprogrammable buttons are the standard left and right mouse buttons (although users can reverse these, if desired).
Unfortunately, users cannot switch among all six profiles at will. When you open the Logitech G600 software, you'll have to decide whether you want to use the profiles stored on the mouse or those stored on the computer. It's easy to adjust in between games but functionally impossible during play.
When a user holds down the third mouse button, it switches to a secondary profile. For example, by default, a thumb button might correspond to the number 1 on the keyboard. Holding down the third button could switch it to Shift-1, Ctrl-1, F1 or a letter. Since users can cycle through three different profiles at will, this effectively gives them access to 108 buttons available at a second's notice.
Aesthetically inclined players will be happy to know that you can choose any color for the mouse's LED buttons to go along with a profile. If you want green buttons while playing MMOs, blue buttons while typing away in Microsoft Word and hot-pink buttons while fragging foes in "Call of Duty," the G600 is happy to oblige.
Users can also change dots-per-inch (DPI) inputs on a whim — to anywhere between 200 and 8,200 — to change how quickly the cursor tracks across the screen. This can be helpful when differentiating between an endgame raid in "World of Warcraft" and a leisurely game of "Civilization V."
You can program each profile with multiple DPI settings and then switch them by pressing a mouse button (you can program which one). For example, you might want to switch between two or three DPI settings rapidly in a game with on-foot and vehicle segments, or keep your DPI constant when working with productivity software.
Having too many options is never a bad thing, although tweaking hundreds of possible buttons, DPI settings and color combinations can be intimidating. It might not even be necessary to do so, as the G600 can download and use premade profiles for games ranging from "BioShock Infinite" to "World of Warcraft."
The primary advantage of an MMO mouse like the G600 is that your right thumb is one of the few fingers that isn't doing much from the beginning. Assigning a skill to each button leaves your keyboard hand free to focus on character movement, or vice versa.
We tried the G600 with "World of Warcraft," which relies on multiple toolbars full of varied skills. Assigning our most frequently used skills to the top three and bottom three buttons was incredibly effective, and freed up our left hand to keep our character moving during heated battles. Not having to reach across the keyboard for skills mapped to the 6, 7, 8, 9, 0 and minus buttons was also a relief.
Tracking presented no issues whatsoever. The cursor responded to our movements with perfect fidelity at every DPI setting, with no discernable jitters or inaccuracies.
The Z-axis tracking leaves something to be desired, however. Lifting the mouse off of a surface caused the cursor to jump upward slightly. This could have potentially devastating effects in a high-stakes first-person shooter, but rarely means life or death in an MMO.
As an all-purpose gaming mouse, the G600 is surprisingly useful in some cases, and a bit of a hindrance in others. For example, while playing "StarCraft II," we were delighted with how easy it was to assign different units into squadrons and access them without ever having to grapple with the keyboard.
On the other hand, the extra buttons added nothing to first-person shooter "BioShock Infinite." While the mouse itself was responsive and functional, its unwieldy shape and unusual size made it marginally harder to aim and fire. You could use the G600 for general gaming, but it's designed with one genre in mind, and doesn't make many concessions to others.
Having more than a hundred button combinations at the tip of your thumb is a useful and versatile feature, especially for high-level MMO players. That said, familiarizing yourself with the Logitech G600's sea of buttons and tweaking them to perfection require a great deal of time, effort and patience. Dealing with the mushy middle buttons also makes hitting the right one during a pitched battle a little tougher than it should be.
Gamers who need every advantage they can get for high-level MMO play would be wise to check out this mouse, but an alternative with more distinct buttons, like the $79.99 Razer Naga, might better fit the bill. Those who subsist on a more diverse diet of game genres — including first-person shooters, real-time strategy and MMOs — will want to stick with a more traditional mouse.
Laser Depth: 2 mm
DPI: 200 – 8,200
Size: 118 x 75 x 41 mm
Weight: 133 grams
Grip Type: Palm