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Review: Logitech's latest keyboard and mouse pack a punch

Logitech's MX Mechanical keyboard and Master 3S mouse are aimed at users looking for the best in everyday accessories. Do these peripherals make the cut?

Logitech’s latest MX Mechanical keyboard and MX Master 3S mouse, priced at Rs. 19,999 and Rs. 10,995, are clearly aimed at discerning professionals who seek performance and precision from these everyday accessories. (Logitech)

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For those of us who spend a lot of our lives at our desks, choosing a good keyboard and mouse is nothing short of crucial, a fact made even more apparent as many of us hunkered down at home over the past two years and put serious thought (and money) into our work-from-home desk setups. Logitech’s latest MX Mechanical keyboard and MX Master 3S mouse, priced at Rs. 19,999 and Rs. 10,995, are clearly aimed at discerning professionals who seek performance and precision from these everyday accessories. But are they worth the princely price of admission?

MX Mechanical keyboard

The world is split into two camps – those that prefer the short-key travel and portability of laptop-style membrane keyboards, and those who clatter away at their mechanical keyboards for that extra key travel. Logitech’s MX Mechanical walks a middle path, quieter than the average mechanical keyboard but with that 3.2mm of oh-so-satisfying key travel. It’s available in office-friendly black and grey colors, can be specified with one of three switches (Tactile Quiet, Linear, and Clicky), and in a choice of a full-size layout we tested or a 75% ‘Mini’ layout that’s slightly cheaper (17,495) and a bit more portable. Both offer a skinny aluminum mid-frame, with low-profile switches and subtle white backlighting. While there’s the added weight of the metal, it’s not so much that you couldn’t carry it home at the end of the day.

Also read: The traditional keyboard and mouse are getting a facelift

The backlight is adaptive, so it adjusts based on the amount of ambient light and lights up when you lay your hands on the keyboard, auto-dimming when it’s not been used for a while. Both of these measures help achieve an estimated 15 days of battery life, and a full 10 months with the backlight off (according to the company).

Connecting the MX Mechanical with up to three devices happens via the pre-paired Logi Bolt dongle or over Bluetooth. You can switch almost instantly with three dedicated keys for each connected device, no matter what device or platform each device is running. Logitech’s secret sauce is the Flow feature, which lets you bounce between a Windows and MacOS laptop on the same wireless network simply by dragging a compatible Logitech mouse to the edge of the display to control the system sitting next to it. Paired in a Flow setup, the MX Mechanical automatically identifies which laptop it’s working with and automatically switches the layout to Windows/Mac. For what it’s worth, this feature also allows you to copy and paste files between the two devices, though there’s no drag and drop just yet.

Logitech’s MX Mechanical keyboard comes in a choice of a full-size layout we tested or a 75% ‘Mini’ layout that’s slightly cheaper ( <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>17,495) and a bit more portable.
Logitech’s MX Mechanical keyboard comes in a choice of a full-size layout we tested or a 75% ‘Mini’ layout that’s slightly cheaper ( 17,495) and a bit more portable. (Logitech)

But it’s the sublime typing experience that you pay the big bucks for, and the MX Mechanical doesn’t disappoint, particularly if you’re moving off a laptop keyboard or a low-travel keyboard like Apple’s Magic Keyboard. Pairing the MX Mechanical with the iMac to hammer out this review, the experience was immensely satisfying for typing, and one came to appreciate the thoughtful addition of the full-sized function row on the top with tools to quickly mute the microphone, pull up the emoji panel, control media and the like. Not a crazy amount of customization or remapping options for the keys, so this may give professionals who want a ton of shortcuts at their disposal some pause. That said, the MX Mechanical packs a fairly unique combination of low-profile switches, strong multi-device switching, excellent build quality and a killer aesthetic that earns its price of place in your home or work setup, budget willing.

MX Master 3S mouse

Logitech’s MX Master series have been an easy recommendation over the years when it came to productivity-focused mice. The latest MX Master 3S levels up an already great MX Master 3 with some subtle enhancements. For the uninitiated, the MX Master 3S still looks and feels identical to the previous generation, which is to say it looks rather strange on the desk but feels supremely comfortable and high quality in everyday use. Sculpted to mimic the form of a relaxed hand, the presence of a dedicated thumb rest and wavy ridges aid comfort over extended durations. Bear in mind, this is undeniably a large mouse, and those with smaller hands might have some trouble with the grip.

Around the MX Master 3S are a multitude of controls, from the top - two primary buttons, a metallic click/scroll wheel and a button to switch between smooth and precise scrolling, to the left - a scroll wheel for horizonal scrolling and two buttons – and even a clickable button where the thumb rests. The most significant update to the ‘S’ model is how quietly it clicks the left and right click buttons. Logitech claims a 90% reduction in sound, and it is incredibly silent if you have just about any background noise like the hum of an air conditioner. As with the keyboard, the mouse ships with the Bolt receiver, but one long-standing quibble remains – there’s no place on the mouse to stow the receiver, which makes it incredibly easy to misplace. Switching between devices is as easy as it is on the keyboard, with a quick switch button under the mouse. Claimed battery life is 70 days on a full charge, and our month-long usage bears that figure out.

Around the MX Master 3S are a multitude of controls, from the top – two primary buttons, a metallic click/scroll wheel and a button to switch between smooth and precise scrolling, to the left – a scroll wheel for horizonal scrolling and two buttons – and even a clickable button where the thumb rests.
Around the MX Master 3S are a multitude of controls, from the top – two primary buttons, a metallic click/scroll wheel and a button to switch between smooth and precise scrolling, to the left – a scroll wheel for horizonal scrolling and two buttons – and even a clickable button where the thumb rests. (Logitech)

Now, while the customization options were a tad limited on the MX Mechanical, the MX Master 3S really comes into its own when you fire up the Options+ companion software. Here, you can customize actions for each button, including on a per-app basis, and adjust the DPI setting, which ranges from 200 DPI to an all-new 8000 DPI for those gamers or graphics professionals who need more mouse travel on their expansive 5K monitors. We tried the mouse over a variety of surfaces, from glass to wood to granite to good old mousepads and bedsheets, and it tracked accurately and responsively across all of them. The other feature which is incredibly useful – one that hasn’t changed from the MX Master 3 – is the MagSpeed electromagnetic scrolling, which lets you speed through a thousand lines of code and stop in an instant, almost like the red-hot disk brakes on a supercar.

But therein lies the rub. The upgrades over the MX Master 3, which is now available for around Rs. 8000, are marginal at best. If you’re set on the Quiet Click experience and the increased 8000 DPI tracking (the MX Master 3 supported up to 4000 DPI), you’ll need to fork over the extra for the 3S. Or you could save a few bucks and get what is still arguably the best productivity mouse around.

Also read: Steve Jobs’s Apple-1 Computer prototype is on the auction block

Tushar Kanwar, a tech columnist and commentator, tweets @2shar

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