Logitech might have a firm grasp on luxury mice, but the gaming mouse market is a much more competitive space. We like Logitech's new $70 Gaming Mouse G500 quite a bit, too, but we can't say that we find it an unequivocally better product than its chief competitor at this price, the Microsoft Sidewinder X8. Each mouse offers different strengths. Thanks primarily to a more powerful polling rate, the Logitech G500 will appeal to the more performance-oriented shooter fan. For role-playing and strategy gamers who lean toward less twitchy styles of play, the choice is less obvious.
Essentially, the Logitech Gaming Mouse G500 is a revamp of Logitech's G5 Laser Mouse, a CNET Editors' Choice winner and our gaming mouse of choice since its release in 2007. And wisely, Logitech has kept that strong foundation. You still get the customizable weight kit, the comfortable grip, the smartly positioned, customizable buttons, as well as a very high 1,000MHz polling rate in the laser sensor to ensure smooth, accurate cursor tracking. On top of those tried-and-true elements of its mouse formula, Logitech has added some compelling new features to the Gaming Mouse G500.
First, Logitech has carried over its dual-mode scroll wheel from its higher-end general-purpose mice. Dual-mode scrolling lets you press a button to change the scroll wheel from its standard, ratcheted scroll wheel motion to a fast, free-spinning motion that's perfect for navigating up and down long documents quickly. We can't really think of a gaming mechanism that would benefit from the G500's free-spinning scroll wheel, but for more general-purpose mousing, you will quickly find it indispensable.
Similar to mice from Razer, as well as Logitech's own G9 gaming mouse, Logitech has also added onboard memory to the G500, which means you can store custom profiles on the mouse itself to take with you between different computers. The G500 has 8KB of profile storage, which is room for only one profile. Higher-end mice give you room for five. We suspect this feature is only useful to the more-mobile PC gamers, but the convenience of only having to set up your control schemes once is an obvious benefit to those who need it.
Finally for new features, Logitech has joined Razer and Microsoft in the ever-escalating laser sensor arms race. We're no longer impressed by sensor ratings above 2,000 dpi, as even on a 30-inch display at maximum resolution we fail to see a difference in scrolling speed. For those among you with supernatural reflexes, perhaps these high dpi sensors have some benefit. Comically, the Gaming Mouse G500 and its 5,700dpi upper limit puts it just 100dpi beyond Razer's most recent effort, the 5,600dpi Mamba. Great, we guess.
With all of these new features only adding to the Editors' Choice-winning G5 formula, it might seem like we should just hand Logitech another award for the G500. Microsoft and its Sidewinder X8 disagree. Shooter fans and other twitch gamers will favor the Logitech's 1,000MHz polling rate (which you can adjust in the software), as the Sidewinder X8 only goes to 500MHz. For more deliberate gamers, like players of the Sims, World of Warcraft, or other games where reflexes are less important, 500MHz is sufficiently accurate, and Microsoft sweetens the deal with wireless, cable-based USB charging (so no downtime during recharges), as well as on-the-fly macro recording and Microsoft's proprietary BlueTrack sensor, which lets you use the mouse on pretty much any surface but transparent or mirrored glass.
The G500 is a great wired mouse aimed at performance-oriented PC shooter fans, but we wouldn't blame gamers who don't require that level of top-of-the-line responsiveness for any second thoughts.