Published: 01.04.2021 | Edited: 01.04.2021 | Tags: 100daystooffload

The most useful computer mouse

It looks like I use this as a daily log and I think I like it. My today's contribution would be Logitech MX Master 3.

Before I purchased this mouse, I have been using Dell WM524. It was my first Bluetooth mouse and I have been using far longer than the manufacturer intended it to. What I mean, I have replaced the mechanical button on it by de-soldering it and soldering a new one, because the click became unreliable. I tend to do this until the encoder in the scroll wheel become unreliable. This is a signal I need to throw the mouse away, because I did not found a way to replace the encoder yet.

With WM524, the encoder is still working. I really enjoyed it's Bluetooth nature, as I do not really like those mouse dongles. They block the USB port and also prevent notebook being placed in the bag gracefully. The Bluetooth mouse uses no dongle. But the mouse has other problems. It is quite portable, but this means it is far less ergonomic. What is worse, if you need to dual-boot for any reason, it becomes a nightmare with a pure Bluetooth mouse. There are ways to make the Bluetooth pairing work with both operating systems, but they are all quite hacky, at least as far as I can tell. The problem is, once the mouse is paired, the OS stores the data about the mouse and the mouse stored the pairing data about the OS. If you want to use the mouse on multiple systems, you have to overcome this by either unifying the data stored in the mouse, or what is usually simpler, the OS data.

The WM524 is special in a sense, that it has a control button on both its sides. This is quite different compared to most other mouses on the market, that has two buttons around the thumb are, that unless remapped, use as a forward and backward navigation buttons (it is also not standardized, so some vendors switch the two, causing havoc).

A hybrid approach

The Logitech MX Master 3 is offering a different, hybrid approach to connectivity. It offers not a single, but two Bluetooth channels. This makes dual-booting a breeze. It requires just pushing a small button on the bottom of the mouse, no hacks required.

What's more, it offers a third channel, that is mapped to the USB dongle. This is a special USB dongle called Unifying Receiver as it can handle multiple Logitech devices, for instance a keyboard and a mouse, so no need for multiple dongles for multiple wireless gadgets.

I know I have already stated that I am not a fan of the dongles, but this is a different scenario entirely. I am not a fan of the mouses that rely only on the dongle or only on the Bluetooth. MX Master 3 (and also other previous models) can be connected by either of the two, also providing a possibility to pair not one but two different computers (or operating systems on the same computer for that matter) in the same package.

The dongle here shines in two scenarios. First, I own the notebook dock. It is a basic dock for Thinkpad notebooks. But no matter the dock type, it's purpose is to stay on the desk. The dock is a great place for the dongle. Every time I undock the notebook, I place it in the bag. Naturally, I take the mouse with it, so a little bit of button pushing is just a habit and the dongle does not pose a hindrance for the bag, because it stays plugged in the dock. I will use the Bluetooth mode on the go. The reason to use the dongle on the dock as opposed to using the Bluetooth all the time is that it takes a few milliseconds for the mouse to get back from the sleep. It is not a big deal, but it is not present on the dongle mode.

The second reason where the dongle shines, and this is what inspired me to write this post, is on the devices that have no easy way to set up the Bluetooth. These are usually the Raspberry Pi type of devices, where unless you are really a command line ninja, you need a USB mouse to configure the Bluetooth (provided the device even has a Bluetooth and also that the desktop environment with a Bluetooth functionality is enabled). Today, I had to use a mouse for a few minutes on the industrial version of the Raspberry Pi I use, the Revolution Pi (or RevPi for short) and all it took was to move the dongle from the dock to the RevPi. The notebook has a touchpad, for the emergencies, so I am really glad I do not need any other mouse for situations like these. I remember, I had to carry an USB mouse (either dongled or a cable version around). Imagine I only had the WM524, I would be almost screwed up.

There are many other nice features of the MX Master 3 that I like, which I will not got into today, as I really wanted to focus on the connectivity side of the thing. It is a little bit pricey, but I do not regret a single penny. It i ssimply a great product that makes my life easier daily.

This is a 22th post of #100daystooffload.