Logitech V550 Nano

Truth in the matter is, trackpads are an awful solution to navigating a computer. I’ve never enjoyed using one, and I would hate to ever have to work with one for long periods of time. The computer mouse has so far been the only method of cursor navigation that is truly productive and attempts to innovate them and improve them have usually been met with failure. Touch screen technology is not quite there yet but it will be interesting to see how it displaces the use of a mouse in the coming years.

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Until then, we will continue to use the mouse with our desktops and our notebooks because anything else right now is just sheer frustration. Logitech, long time innovators in the peripheral market launched the V550 Nano last year and I’ve spent the last few weeks testing it out and using it as my main desktop mouse.

The compact design is ideal for travelling with your notebook, and included in the packaging is an adhesive that you stick on to the lid of your notebook for you to attach your mouse to. Hooking your mouse on to your notebook may not be for everyone, but could prove to be handy for you if you’re often moving from desk to desk or office to office.

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With a grey and blue colour scheme, the V550 Nano is pleasantly modern in looks with a minimalist design that focuses on the core basic functionality for any mouse – comfort and accuracy.

Because this is a notebook mouse, you won’t find loads of shortcut buttons. Instead there’s just the one right below the scroll wheel. This button can be customised using the Logitech control panel software to operate any number of functions for your OS of choice. For my Mac, I’ve got it to activate Expose for previewing all open windows.

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Something I haven’t seen on any of the previous mice I’ve used and tested is a rolling scroll wheel with accelerometer. Its use requires a slightly different take on the use of the middle scroll wheel. Rather than having the clicky scrolling feedback (available if you push the middle button down) you also get the ability to flick the scroll wheel and it just keeps on scrolling until it slows down to a stop. I’ve found this to be particularly useful in scrolling long documents or websites. Rather than continuously scrolling, I just give the wheel a flick and it does the scrolling for me until I stop it. It took some getting used to and at first I didn’t really like it, but if you spend some time using it and fine-tune the sensitivity levels to your preference, you’ll find it hard to go back to just a normal scroll wheel. Another useful innovation that I’ve discovered on this laser mouse.

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It wasn’t until I took a bit more notice of the control pane settings that I realised you could also customise the left and right push of the scroll wheel. Whilst this isn’t anything new, the left and right push functionality is usually reserved for moving left and right in documents, which it does. However, I’ve got it set to activate Spaces and to hide all windows. This is a clever way to add another two shortcut buttons without actually adding any buttons.

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Inside the battery compartment holds two AA batteries which are supplied with the mouse. There’s also a small compartment for holding the wireless sensor. The wireless sensor that attaches to your USB port is the most miniscule receiver I’ve ever seen for a wireless device of any sort. Normally, they’re in the shape of USB sticks that stick out of the side of your machine in an ugly fashion. Not so with the V550 Nano. The wireless receiver is so small that it only sticks out by about 1cm from your machine. This means you can leave the receiver attached to your USB port, further eliminating risk of losing it or having it damaged whilst in transit. You might be wondering if the miniscule size of the receiver impacts the range or sensitivity levels of the mouse. To test this out, I moved the mouse way beyond my desk boundary and out of the room and it still continued to work free of delay and remained accurate.

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Using the V550 Nano for everyday computing has proved that simple design does work. It doesn’t have lots of grooves and it isn’t moulded around the shape of a hand, but somehow it still remains comfortable and useable after several hours. And because the mouse is so small, it’s very lightweight so it prevents muscle strain in your hand and offers nippy movement over your desk.

Included in the blister pack is the mouse and receiver along with a USB extension cable/receiver dock, notebook holder and the two AA Duracell batteries. I’m not sure that Logitech really needed to include the USB extension cable/dock because unless you’re using this for a desktop PC and you don’t want to have to reach around the back of your computer, then there’s really no need for it. With hindsight, they could have made it a dual USB connection so that we can share one USB port for both the mouse and keyboard.

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Logitech claims that the two AA batteries will last 18 months. Having used the V550 Nano for a month, the Logitech control panel is reporting that the battery level is at 95% and this is with the mouse switched on all the time. I never use the power button to switch it off – however I suspect there is power management built-in that automatically switches it off when idle for a certain period of time. If that is the case, I haven’t really noticed any delay or lag on first use. Based on my current usage. the control panel reckons I have another 519 days of power left – which equates to about 1.4 years. If it lasts until the end of this year then I won’t have any complaints.

2009-03-28 Onwah Tsang

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