Trust me — I like a bargain as much as the rest of you. I believe that sometimes you get more than what you pay for. Sometimes, though, you just have to spend a little more money to get a quality product.
That’s the idea I’m pinning my computer mouse hopes on with the Logitech M510 wireless mouse with nano receiver.
A Brief History
Seven months ago I wrote about the Rosewill 8500, a notebook-sized mouse with a nano receiver. The “nano” part is an unofficial industry term for the doo-dad that plugs into your computer and receives the signal from your wireless mouse. Before the nano receiver, wireless mouse receivers were very big and prone to bumps and breakage. The nano is very small and fits almost flush against your computer.
A Logitech “nano” receiver plugged into my laptop
The 8500 had two key features I was looking for: a smaller notebook mouse size, and forward/back buttons on the side. I paid $20 shipped for the Rosewill 8500, and I bought four. One for work, and three for the house. That’s about the price of one decent major-brand mouse.
Unfortunately the 8500s started showing signs of wear and tear within three months. The most annoying was a faulty scroll wheel that has hit three out of four of my mice. Two of my mice have habitual problems with a less-than-responsive left mouse button. This is particularly irksome when trying to double-click, or when trying to select units while playing StarCraft 2.
It was time to find a replacement, but I still wanted to find a mouse that meet my ideal criteria:
- RF wireless, not infra-red or Bluetooth.
- “Nano” USB receiver dongle that was small enough to leave in the laptop full-time.
- A smaller size, often called a “laptop” mouse.
- A forward and back button in addition to the usual left and right buttons.
- A scroll wheel, although I didn’t care if it was click- or smooth-rolling nor did I care if it could act as a third mouse button.
- Less than $30 shipped each.
I guess I needed to add another requirement: it wouldn’t fall apart within a reasonable amount of time.
I wound up discovering that unless you find something on sale, you can’t buy a mouse that meets my criteria. You can either get a laptop-sized mouse, or a mouse with forward and back buttons. But you can’t get both unless you’re willing to spend about $45 on Logitech’s M705 Marathon Mouse (more on that in another review).
I had to settle for the Logitech M510 mouse, and it’s good enough for now.
Size and Ergonomics
The M510 is in the middle, size-wise, from a laptop mouse and a full-sized desk mouse. It is thin and long, which is good if you have wimpy, delicate hands like mine. I preferred the form factor of the Rosewill 8500, the Logitech Marathon Mouse, or the older Logitech Nano VX. All of those mice are shorter, but have a wider bottom so that it fits the human hand better.
All of the mouse buttons have a much better feel than the Rosewill 8500. There is a satisfying click to them all. I wonder if there is a rubberized membrane underneath the buttons that help to give it a positive click without feeling cheap and “plastic-y.”
The M510 has very accessible forward and back buttons on the left-hand side. They protrude far enough out to be easily manipulated, but not so far that they got in the way.
The scroll wheel is acceptable, and great if you don’t care about side-clicking or the differences between a clutched and non-clutched scroll. If you don’t mind scrolling a little bit at a time, the M510′s wheel is right up your alley. In short, it’s a basic scroll wheel.
Installation, Reception, and Usage
Installation was super easy. Plug the nano receiver into any available USB port on your computer. Remove the plastic battery guard tab, and turn the switch from “off” to “on.” Nothing to it. There are no drivers or software to install if you are running Windows 7.
Reception is pretty good. Range has never been a problem for any wireless mouse I’ve owned. However, the M510 doesn’t do very well on wood surfaces. Since I use my mouse entirely on wood surfaces, this was a little disappointing. The Logitech M510 “skips” a little bit and exhibits sporadic performance on my wood kitchen island, dining table, and desk. All of the wood I work on has a dark stain finish, so your mileage may vary on lighter-stained wood. I wound up having to use a mouse pad.
Aside from the tracking issues, so far so good. I’ve owned the M510 for about a month, and I liked it enough to buy two more. I am going to save my Logitech M705 Marathon Mouse review for another day, but I really wish that it was $10 cheaper.
The M510 is a solid, basic mouse. The M510 is still small enough to be portable if you have big hands and don’t want a small laptop-sized mouse. The scroll wheel is nothing fancy, and you can’t program any of the mouse’s buttons, but for about $32 before shipping on Amazon it is a decent deal for a basic wireless nano mouse.