review: Logitech MX Anywhere 2

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I finally got fed up of the wired Microsoft Compact Mouse I’ve been using at my desk since I started this job. It’s an entirely competent mouse for most people, but I have very specific mousing preferences - I like my mice fast and accurate - and the Compact Mouse wasn’t holding up at all.

I’ve long been a fan of Logitech’s MX Series, all the way back to the MX500 which is still a phenomenal mouse. So, I decided to pick up an MX Anywhere 2, and see if the MX reputation is still well-deserved.

I chose the MX Anywhere 2 for a couple of reasons: Firstly, I’ve never actually used a non-Apple Bluetooth mouse and I wanted to see how well a mouse from another manufacturer worked: I don’t have a lot of USB ports to spare for mouse dongles on some of my machines. I was also curious about how well Logitech’s implementation of hyper-fast scrolling in such a small mouse would work. I’ve used it on the MX Master and the M705, both of which I really enjoyed working with, but I wasn’t sure how well the mechanism would translate to such a tiny piece of hardware. Finally, It looks like a tiny MX Master! Why would you not want a baby MX Master on your desk?!

Actually, let’s talk about those looks for a minute. It does look good. Logitech have always been pretty good at making attractive mice, and the MX Anywhere 2 is no exception. It retains the same subtle gold accent of the MX Master, with an interesting triangular pattern on the thumbrest: It’s a mouse that’d catch a few eyes in a meeting, for instance, but not in the same way that some of the more garish high-end mice would (I’m looking at you, The Gaming Mouse Industry™).

That triangular grip pattern isn’t just pretty, either: the mouse feels satisfying to hold (although it’s not quite weighty enough, in my opinion) and it’s very easy to get a secure grip - even if you have enormous hands like mine! Unlike the MX Master, the MX Anywhere 2 is ambidextrous, however if you are left-handed be aware that the back/forward thumb buttons will fall under your pinkie.

Speaking of buttons, the MX Anywhere 2 has a very conservative but incredibly useful complement. There are a pair of thumb buttons that are bound by default to back/forward, the scrollwheel tilts side-to-side, and there’s a “gesture” button under the scrollwheel. Note that there’s no middle-click by default - the reasons for which we’ll cover in a minute - so I rebound the gesture button to Mouse3. This took some getting used to, but it works. All the buttons are re-bindable using Logitech’s “Logitech Options” software, available to download on the Logitech website. It’s not documented anywhere but this rebinding seems to be happening in software instead of on the mouse itself, since bindings didn’t seem to come with me between OSes/devices. Bare that in mind if you want to use the mouse on Linux or another operating system which the Logitech software won’t run on.

Showing its belly

The mouse is paired using a button on the underside of the device, which is accompanied by another button used to switch between three connected devices: I found this feature very useful, since (most of the time) I use two computers, one at work and one at home. There is also a power switch which I made a point of turning off before I threw the mouse in my bag; If I forgot, the phantom mouse movements/clicks on my MacBook Air soon reminded me.

So, about that scrollwheel I mentioned earlier. This thing is a godforsaken abomination, and the first in quite a few weaknesses of this mouse. In “hyperfast”/”clickless” mode, the tension on the wheel is way too low; even normal mousing movements will cause the wheel to rock slightly, scrolling whatever is under the mouse a little and causing plenty of clicking mistakes. “Click-to-click”/”ratchet” scrolling mode isn’t much better: The software makes no distinction between click-to-click and hyperfast scrolling, and so when you release the scrollwheel it’ll adjust slightly and again scroll whatever is under the mouse slightly, a colossal annoyance. I do like the fact you can “throw” the mousewheel around in click-to-click mode which is great for scrolling in long documents, but this doesn’t make up for the fact that scrolling on this thing is imprecise and frustrating.

By far the worst thing about this scrollwheel, however, is the way you switch between hyperfast scrolling and click-to-click. Remember how I mentioned that the scrollwheel has no button? Logitech, in their infinite wisdom, decided that instead of having a dedicated button like the M500, you should press down on the scrollwheel. It’s not a defined click, either; it’s a long, mushy press that doesn’t provide any feedback as to whether it’s actuated or not, combined with some random scrolling for a second or so thanks to how damn spongey the mechanism is. Despite being a lover of hyperfast scrolling, I keep this mouse in click-to-click mode 100% of the time because that’s the only thing that makes it usable.

The tracking on the MX Anywhere 2 is phenomenal, mind. I have not yet found a surface this mouse won’t track on! Logitech insist their “Darkfield” laser sensor can track on glass thicker than 4mm, and whilst writing this review I reached out to try the mouse on the window of this coffee shop (single-pane glass about 5mm thick): it tracked perfectly. Seriously, with a little improvement (maximum tracking resolution is only 1000 dots per inch, which is a far cry from my 3600DPI comfort zone) this sensor could well be the sensor to end all mouse sensors.

I originally wasn’t impressed with the tracking: the mouse seemed to stutter and “miss a beat” every so often. I eventually tracked this down to the fact I had the mouse connected over Bluetooth; another of this mouse’s increasing number of Achilles’ heels. The Bluetooth implementation on this thing is not impressive; If you’re connected to a 2.4GHz wireless network, the mouse becomes next to unusable at anything but low pointer speeds. I thought this might have been an issue with my MacBook Pro (Late 2013, Retina, 15”) but after testing on a 2012 13” MacBook Air and a Dell Latitude E7440 with and without a connection to a 2.4GHz network, I can confirm this is an issue with the mouse. Fortunately, with the unifying receiver - also 2.4GHz, what gives? - these problems disappeared and I was able to enjoy how well this little thing tracked.

On Charge

Charging is accomplished with a microUSB port which is very sensibly placed in the same spot you’d find the “tail” of a wired mouse. It’s possible to use the mouse whilst charging, which is a massive bonus, and the battery life lasts well over a couple days of normal (9-5) usage. I do wish the mouse presented itself as a USB mouse with the USB cable plugged in, but this is a very minor complaint.

the verdict

The scrollwheel issues alone ruin this mouse for me, and that’s a shame because this is otherwise a really nice mouse! It tracks incredibly, it’s comfortable, it’s a great size and it looks fantastic, but I work with 20-page long documents all day and I can’t get by with a scrollwheel which is as good as useless.

Would I recommend you buy this mouse? No.