To register how deeply disappointed I am by Logitech's G500 gaming mouse, you have to understand how much I really love Logitech's gaming mice.
A Brief History Lesson
The original MX500 is the sliced bread of mousing ergonomics: The form factor is so good Logitech won't fuck with it more than six years and countless iterations later. The perfectly balanced ergonomic arch and thumb groove precisely straddle the line between suggestive and aggressive, so it feels just right, like Zach Morris.
The MX500 evolved into gamier, glossiers variants with boosted tracking engines, the MX 510 and still available MX518. That, in turn, gave us the original laser-based G5, which saw the loss of a thumb button through leprosy, and had a janky scroll wheel. Logitech fixed it with another take on the G5, adding back the missing thumb button and giving us a scroll wheel that worked, making the mouse great again. That brings us to the G500.
Let's Start with the Good
Like I said, there's a reason Logitech has kept the basic MX500 silhouette around for so long, through at least six other mice: It just works. There are some minor tweaks with the G500, which actually feels slightly more symmetrical, with a wider but less pronounced thumb groove that flows more smoothly into the body of the mouse, but it's basically the same. It's a little more texturally vivid than I'd prefer, with sides that feel like rubberized sandpaper for gripping, but I got used to it fast enough.
The laser engine inside now pushes 5700dpi, or exactly 100dpi more than Razer's latest laser engine. Logitech peeing on the pissing match, in other words. It also polls at 1000Hz, the same speed as Razer's sytem. (FWIW, I couldn't discern any difference between Microsoft's 500Hz polling and Razer's 1000Hz in actual gaming sessions.) The G500's tracking and accuracy is excellent, both on cloth pads and my fake wood desk.
The reason I dragged you through a brief tour of Logitech mouse history is because Logitech repeats it with the G500. The original G5 screwed up on the thumb buttons and scroll wheel, and the G500 manages to screw that up spectacularly too.
It's the first
gaming mouse MX500 descendant Logitech has graced with the hyper-scroll tech that's been in its high-end consumer mice for a while—it's got a toggle button that lets you pick between regular clicky (but still speedy) scrolling or the hyper-infinite scroll, where one flick of your finger spins the scroll wheel almost forever, shooting you down a million lines in Excel in half a second. Which is great, if you spend a lot of time in Excel or zipping through web pages—not so great if you're flicking through a handful of weapons in Left 4 Dead. Even when it's not in hyper mode, the scroll wheel's still pretty fast and loose—though that's something that you can mitigate with careful scrolling.
What really murders the scroll wheel, though, is that middle-clicking is an act requiring damn near surgical skill. Half the time you attempt to middle click, and you think you have, you've actually just left- or right-scroll clicked. Which is not the same command. Meaning, if you've mapped middle click as a lightning fast shortcut to get back to your main gun after you've tossed out a proxy mine, you're gonna get shot in the face trying to pull out your gun.
The thumb buttons are almost as bad. Instead of two clearly distinguishable buttons, we've now got a nearly seamless button strip that actually contains three buttons for you to press. And, just like the scroll wheel, you'll go to click one button, and wind up hitting a different one, particularly the new "middle" thumb button. You don't know how many people got backstabbed by Spies in Team Fortress 2 after I tried to hit the forward button to yell at them via voice chat but tapped the wrong button.
Gaming gear, in theory, should be all about precision. That's why Logitech tells us the dots per inch the mouse's sensor can handle and how fast and how often the mouse gets data from the laser sensor. That's why I can adjust the dpi rating on the fly. That's why Logitech includes weights with the mouse, so you can even adjust how much it weighs, down to the gram. Yet two buttons that people use a lot are huge failures in precision. Whole buttons. That negates basically everything else that's good about the mouse, which is a lot, like the heavy braided cable, or built-in profile storage, so you don't have to redo your settings everytime you take it to a different computer.
So, my advice? If you're dedicated to Logitech, wait for the next G500, or the surely inevitable wireless variant. Logitech will probably fix the problems in the revision, just like they did before. Or, just stick with the actually good G5, which is $20 cheaper, at $50. You don't really need 5700dpi anyway. If you're open to other mousemakers, in the same price range, I'd suggest Razer's DeathAdder, which recently got beefed up with Razer's newer tracking engine and a less flimsy cable, Microsoft's wireless SideWinder X8, or SteelSeries' relatively frill-free Ikari.
Classic Logitech ergonomics still great
Crazy fast sensor tracks really well
Scroll wheel design is not great for games
Thumb buttons completely screwed up