In today's digital age, it sometimes feels that hardware has lagged behind the software that drives our devices. Button of the month is a monthly look at how some of those buttons and switches are on old and new devices, and it is meant to appreciate how we handle our devices on a physical, tactile level
Logitech & # 39; s MX Master 3 is perhaps the best mouse ever made. Or at least it's the best mouse I've ever used. There are many good things about it, but what raises it above the nest of other mice is – without a doubt – the scroll wheel, unmatched by another.
The MX Master series has always had great scroll wheels, going back to the original model in 2015. But the recently released MX Master 3 improves on that with a new magnet-driven scroll wheel mechanism that is faster and more accurate than the old model, such as and almost completely silent to boot.
I am not going too deeply into the technical aspects of the changes that Logitech has made here with the magnetic mechanism (I strongly recommend this profound breakdown of Bolt that goes into the nitty-gritty), but the end result is an almost flawless scrolling experience.
Like all MX Master mice, there are two scroll wheel modes here: a precise, rattling scroll mode that lets you scroll up and down exactly through a web page or document, and a freewheel mode that lets the wheel fly as fast as it does can. Which, considering the almost frictionless magnets, is quite fast. You can also activate the free spinning mode by tapping the scroll wheel quickly while you are in the more precise, rattling mode, which is oddly fun to fiddle with.
The new mechanism feels incredibly good to use. Each tap of the scroll wheel has a soft, subtle step that makes the magnets smoother and quieter than the moving parts of an ordinary mouse wheel. It's hard to describe, but the end result is a lighter scroll that doesn't take much effort to push.
That does not mean anything about the free scrolling mode, which, thanks to the new system, has the feeling that it can continue to run forever. The heavy weighted steel construction is also a pleasure to work with, especially if you tap it exactly to turn off the ratchet mechanism and fly down a page.
It also appeals to the benefits of a tactile system like this: the notched ticks as you scroll through each step on the wheel, the feeling of the mechanism being turned off to release. These are experiences that you simply cannot get on a touchscreen or even a trackpad. Even if the end result of a page scroll down is still the same.
This is usually the part of this column where I talk about how the button changed the way we think about how we use a device, or was the hallmark of a larger paradigm shift in the user interface over time. But I don't think the MX Master 3 scroll wheel does one of those things – not exactly.
I can't say that with the MX Master 3 I scroll with my mouse more often than I already do, or that this is a dividing line in the sand for the way we build mice. But I still think it's a fantastic button – not because of all the potential it has as a smart object, but because it's just an elegant, focused piece of technology that is great to use. Not everything needs to be an adaptable piece of hardware connected to the internet. In fact, the uni-tasking character is often what makes hardware buttons stand out in the first place compared to their more functional touchscreen and software-based counterparts.
It is an incredibly good scroll wheel. And sometimes doing just one thing very well is just a button.