The least expensive mouse with a MicroGear wheel but not the best. (August 22nd, 2008)
Product Manufacturer: Logitech
- Excellent wheel and nano receiver.
- Clip is steady and works well.
- Very long battery life.
- Relatively attractive.
- Not as comfortable or full-featured as the VX despite $10 difference.
- Slightly disconcerting simultaneous button presses.
- Using the clip is an all-or-nothing affair with complicated removal.
the notebook clip
The V550's signature trick is its notebook clip, which in theory saves hassle of carrying the mouse in a separate hand or bag. Logitech goes out of its way to make sure this reinforced when one opens the box. There are not only silver and black clips to color-coordinate with most notebooks but also a metal case to hold all the accessories.
In actual use, the clip works well; it has a satisfying, stable grip and is tiny enough to be placed just about anywhere without tearing into a case or interfering significantly with the look of a given computer.
However, the clip does lose a substantial amount of its worth through the permanence of the option. The clips attach only through an adhesive and aren't reusable. Make a mistake applying the clip, or decide against using it later, and the V550's defining feature is rendered moot. Even removing the clip is slightly complicated and requires a special tool (included with the mouse) to remove without leaving a significant amount of adhesive on the notebook.
That does, ultimately, hurt the usefulness of the clips themselves. Much more conscious thought has to go into using one, and the removal process may be a deal-breaker for those concerned about maintaining the look.
battery life and the nano receiver
Logitech claims a battery life of up to 18 months with the V550. That's far longer than some of these mice have claimed in the past, and it's a figure impossible to test in a review. Having said this, the review VX Nano from last year is still working well after over a year of light use, so there's every reason to believe the new mouse should meet its target.
The Nano Receiver, as always, is a treat whenever it appears. It's less intrusive and is short enough to stay attached to a notebook without snapping free. With the V550, the receiver still stows away and has a clever compartment underneath the (easily removable) bottom shell to stow it away for a trip. The mouse is smart enough to switch on when the receiver is ejected and switch off when the receiver comes back, though there's a power button to manually override this if the receiver stays permanently attached.
As a straightforward notebook mouse, the V550 is a very capable device; it tracks well, has one of the best scroll wheels in the business, and has outstanding power management. It would be hard to discourage someone putting the V550 on a short list, especially as it's the most affordable way to get these features without turning to a much larger desktop part.
However, the mouse's real flaw is its very creator. Simply put, the earlier VX Nano is too much of an improvement for a small $10 difference: it's more comfortable and has two extra buttons that could be vital for frequent web users or those who just want more control.
And while the clip is particularly useful for desktop replacement-class notebooks or power users who rarely use their portables without an external mouse, the care required to place and remove it means that it's not for most people. Rather than try to separate the V550 from the pack with a one-off trait, Logitech would have served itself better by dropping the feature entirely and dropping the price low enough to create a clearer gap between the high-end VX and this new peripheral.