On the Road Again... with a Logitech V220
Dec 30, 2007 (Updated Nov 12, 2010)
Review by Steven Mrak
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:economical, versatile, ergonomic
Cons:huge download file required for special functions, small size negates ergonomics, short useful life
The Bottom Line: The Logitech V220 Cordless Notebook Mouse is one heckuvan improvement over a touchpad, but might be just a little underpowered for heavy business users. Downgraded for short lifespan.
A "necessary evil," I'm told, is "something that is evil but is required to create good in another area." I tried looking up that definition on the web not long ago, certain that I'd find a picture of a laptop touchpad prominently displayed next to it. I was disappointed – but not half as disappointed as I am every time I'm reduced to using a touchpad on my (or anyone else's) laptop. There is surely a special place in Hell for whoever designed the touchpad, for it's certainly evil – unfortunately, is also pretty much necessary: a Necessary Evil – right? Regardless, we finally sprung for a travel mouse to accompany the household's new laptop (a Dell 1420, anaconda [or is it avocado?] green) on trips. Long since tired of wrangling cords and cleaning mouse balls, we had just a couple of criteria that it had to meet: cordless and optical. Otherwise, the sky was the limit. OK, maybe a reasonable price, too…
Recommend this product?
We checked out Kensingtons and Microsofts both before settling on a Logitech V220 Cordless Optical Mouse, a model designed specifically for notebooks (although not necessarily for travel). Here's some basic specifications:
• the mouse operates on a single AA battery (wonder of wonders, included)
• it's plug-n-play under Windows XP or Vista (32- or 64-bit) or Mac OS X
• a USB port is required for the receiver
• it's approximately 3.5" long, 2.25" wide, and 1.5" high
• it's ergonomically shaped, contoured to fit in the palm of the hand with soft rubber grips and indentations on both sides for the thumb.
• an internet connection is required to download software to activate the special features
• the optical mouse has 1000 dpi resolution,
The V220 is a two-button mouse with a scroll wheel that can be programmed to act as a third button, though doing so requires the download of the Logitech drivers (not included in the packaging). The single AA battery loads from the top, although the release button for the battery compartment cover is on the bottom. A battery-function LED light is built into the upper surface; it glows green briefly after the mouse is turned on; when the battery is low it glows red. Logitech claims a six-month battery life under "normal" use. The USB plug, sometimes called a "dongle," that contains the receiver slips into a space on the underside of the mouse, which automatically turns off the power. There's an eensy-beansy switch – about the size of a DIP switch – on the bottom that allows the user to turn the unit on or off by hand while leaving it plugged in.
Special programming features: If one downloads Logitech's setpoint program, the mouse performs additional non-standard functions. By default, the mousewheel is programmed to scroll right-left for content that is wider than the current window – this is activated by tilting the mousewheel laft and right. Press and hold the mousewheel to activate a zoom function, which visually enlarges/reduces the content of the current window. Both of these actions – tilt or press – can be re-assigned to several other functions, one of which is volume control for the speakers.
Living with the V220:
Installation is dirt-simple, since it's plug-n-play. There's no software included in the packaging; Logitech supplies no drivers for pre-XP or OS X operating systems. Our system's Vista, and the mouse worked immediately upon installation.
Download: The download software (Logitech's Setpoint software) is HUGE; it compresses to a 53 MB self-extracting file! It includes the Yahoo toolbar, which can be rejected at install, but has no other switches. Installing the software (on Vista, at least) creates a desktop icon and a tray icon, both of which pull up a rather crude-looking GUI. It duplicates the mouse controls normally found in the control panel – handedness (right vs. left), the number of lines scrolled per spin of the wheel, and cursor sensitivity and speed. It also controls programming of those special mousewheel functions, so you can't get around downloading it if you want that functionality.
Physical stuff: The receiver projects about 1.75" out from whatever USB port you choose, but it's otherwise pretty unobtrusive.
Range: It's at least ten or twelve feet from the receiver, at least with fresh batteries. That'd certainly be useful for presentations.
Surface Sensitivity: It's worked fine on a plain countertop, rubber mousepad, magazine surface, newspaper, cloth, and wooden desk without any tracking problems. I didn't have a glass-topped table to try it on, but suspect that will be every bit as undependable as any other optical mouse.
Portability: It's quite compact, though it still weighs about the same as a conventional corded mouse (a few ounces).
Buttons: Many add-on mice come with extra buttons under the thumb and ring finger for additional controls; if you're used to them, you'll not find them here. If you're not, you probably won't care.
Is it really Ergonomic? Well, that might depend: the V220 is rather chunky, in keeping with its intended use as a notebook mouse. It's shorter and narrower than most conventional mice (such as the stock Dells on my desktops at home and work), but sits slightly higher. Personally, I like the larger mice better and wonder why, since the thing weighs the same as a larger mouse it couldn't be larger and have additional hollow space.
good battery life
compact and fairly light
the special functions
The Not So Good:
the size of that download file
inclusion of that silly Yahoo toolbar
lack of additional buttons
receiver sticks halfway out of the base when stowed, a rather precarious-looking arrangement
comes without a storage bag, exposing the USB plug on the receiver to whatever gunk's in the bottom of your laptop bag
not available for older versions of your operating system
Overall: A nice little mouse with a few shortcomings. Logitech sells nicer ones, but they cost more. The V220 will be perfectly fine for light to medium users, especially ones who spend most of their time at a desk; but probably will not stand up as well to heavy travel use as more expensive models. Recommended for home and school use; less so for business.
Whatever the case, it's a lot better than a touchpad!
<b>Updated:</b> this mouse lasted about eighteen months before going belly-up. My opinion and, therefore my rating, dropped at taht time.
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Amount Paid (US$): 27
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