IFA 2019: This New Logitech Mouse Has a Magnetic Wheel That Feels Like Magic

By Sam Rutherford on at

Thanks to PC gaming, fancy mice with high with DPI sensors and tactile mechanical keyboards have become a lot more popular. Yet when it comes to productivity, Logitech’s MX-series mice are pretty much unmatched, and with the new MX Master 3, Logitech has propelled its flagship mouse into a class of its own.

That’s because Logitech might have just perfected the scroll wheel with the MX Master 3. On previous MX mice, Logitech added the ability for the mouse wheel to spin freely, which made it easy to scroll through long documents super quickly. However, it seems Logitech wasn’t quite satisfied with those wheels, as spinning them sometimes felt rough and often caused the whole mouse to vibrate.

This wheel is a huge step up over pretty much other mouse on the market.

For the MX Master 3, Logitech completely redesigned its mouse wheel using electromagnets instead of traditional gears, and now it’s downright magical feeling. Everything about Logitech’s new MagSpeed wheel feels silky smooth—almost buttery. When you’re scrolling slowly, the bumps are simply a gentle reminder that yes indeed, the wheel is moving. It’s like riding over a pothole in a car with nice suspension. Meanwhile, when you gotta go fast, the wheel can spin freely with essentially zero resistance or noise, allowing you to skip through 1000 lines in about a second.

At slow speeds, Logitech uses magnets inside the mouse to precisely control the wheel’s resistance. But if you give the wheel a bit of flick, those magnets reverse their polarity and zoom, off it goes. I admit this might sound like overkill, scrolling is scrolling, right? But for anyone who spends a lot of time parsing long documents, it’s damn near impossible to overstate how nice this is. And like everything else on the mouse, settings like scroll speed, resistance, and more can all be customised.

Elsewhere, Logitech has refined the MX Master 3's design by improving the scroll wheel on its side, making it smoother while also rearranging the placement of its two side-mounted buttons so that they are easier press and identify without needing to look at them.

The other big improvement comes by way of Logitech’s Options app, which now has the ability to scan your computer for installed apps, and then map the most commonly used shortcuts to the MX Master 3's buttons. That means in Chrome, the two buttons are set to navigate forward and back through web pages, while in Photoshop, those same buttons automatically become undo and redo buttons.

<Logitech tweaked the MX Master 3 (right) to make its buttons easier find by feel alone.

Same goes for the wheel on the side of the mouse. In Chrome, it’s used to switch between various tabs, while in Microsoft Excel, the wheel is used to scroll left and right through a spreadsheet. This might not sound like much, but in practice, it means you can speed less time setting up and customising how your mouse works and more time actually working.

The way Logitech came up with these shortcuts was by analysing the most popular commands used on previous MX mice for each program and then assigning them to the mouse by default in the Options app. Currently supported software includes Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Photoshop, Premiere, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge. Logitech plans on adding support for more apps in the future, and if there are any shortcuts you don’t like, you can always create your own in the Options app.

Sometimes these pre-set commands can be a tiny bit confusing though. For example, if you open a spreadsheet in Google Docs in Chrome, the side wheel still navigates through tabs instead of scrolling left or right, because technically you’re still in a web browser, not a proper spreadsheet. At least you can tweak things in the Options app.

Besides being pre-programmed the new MX Master 3 includes support for Windows, macOS, and Linux, a new USB-C port for recharging, and even better battery life, which Logitech claims can last up to 70 days on a charge.

Meanwhile, alongside the MX Master 3, Logitech is also releasing a new wireless keyboard, the MX Keys. The MX Keys features the same general design and layout as the £180 MX Craft from 2017, but for half the price and without Logitech’s Creative Input Dial.

With a base made from a single slab of metal, the MX Keys feels super stable despite its slim design. It also uses Logitech’s PerfectStroke keys, which is one of the few membrane keyboard switches that can rival the feel of a nice mechanical keyboard, especially one with low-profile keys. They are deep, reassuringly springy, and like the mouse wheel on the MX Master 3, exceedingly quiet.

The MX Keys also has proximity and ambient light sensors so that it can automatically adjust the keyboard’s backlighting depending on ambient conditions and if anyone is actually nearby. Logitech says the MX Keys will last up to 10 days on a charge with full backlighting, or up to five months with the backlighting turned off. The MX keys will even make sure to reserve some juice so that when it hits 10 percent, the keyboard will disable its lighting and flip its indicator light to red, which should allow the keyboard to last another week before it fully dies.

For someone who was sceptical about how much better its flagship mouse could be, the MX Master 3 feels like a revelation. And while the MX Keys isn’t all the new, it’s great alternative to the MX Craft for people who didn’t need the dial or want to shell out £180 for a keyboard.

The MX Master 3 and MX Keys go on sale today for $100 each (UK pricing TBA), with an optional memory foam wrist rest available for another $20.