PC multitaskers who want navigation shortcuts in the palm of their hand will appreciate the Logitech MX610 laser cordless mouse. Though good mice such as the Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse 5000 are available for less than the MX610's $59.99 price, none offers its combination of cordless functionality, laser optical engine, media controls, and visual alerts.
Setup of the MX610 laser mouse was simple, and Logitech gets props for providing two AA batteries. We popped them into the mouse, plugged a tiny USB receiver into our PC, and the mouse worked right away. You'll need to install Logitech's included SetPoint software to take advantage of the MX610's e-mail and instant-message (IM) alerts, however. SetPoint is easy to navigate and includes a wizard that walks you through different setup options. We took the QuickTour and learned that you can set the e-mail-notification button to do nothing, to light up when you get new messages, or to open a particular file or Web page. SetPoint also lets you select your preferred IM and e-mail clients, the length of time the notification lights stay on, and whether to ignore certain IM senders.
The black-and-silver MX610, designed for right-handed users only, is shaped so that your hand rests in an upright, neutral position for better ergonomics. Two volume buttons, a mute button, and the e-mail and IM buttons are lined up on top of the mouse; two programmable buttons are placed further down on the side for easy thumb access. The rubbery scrollwheel moves smoothly and also lets you scroll horizontally. There's a small on/off button on the bottom, and the mouse shuts off automatically when the computer shuts down or sleeps. A battery-indicator light on top of the mouse lets you know when you're running low on power.
The MX610 feels more comfortable than a run-of-the-mill hockey-puck-style mouse, but a larger model would better support bigger hands. Unfortunately, clicking the two main mouse buttons demanded more pressure than our weary index finger appreciated, and the MX610 felt wobbly on our curvy ergonomic mouse pad. The MX610 responded to our movements and clicks without any problems, and we didn't experience any loss of signal or errors in tracking. The lights promptly alerted us to incoming instant messages, but only when another user initiated a new conversation, not when we received new messages in an existing chat. Though the IM light was reliable up to 25 feet from the receiver, the e-mail-notification light occasionally failed to turn on when we received a new message.
Logitech covers the MX610 with an amazing five-year warranty--four years longer than most input-device warranties. Desktop help is available in the form of a QuickTour and the searchable SetPoint HelpCenter. The Logitech Web site offers user forums, a knowledge base, and an e-mail form to contact the company. Logitech also supplies tips on how to properly position your body at the computer to prevent repetitive-stress injury.