An outstanding cordless mouse.
Ever since the mouse was first popularized by the release of the Apple Macintosh in 1984, the idea that you could link the movement of a physical object and a digital one has driven computer design. That we're still sticking to an interface mechanic devised when Ronald Reagan was the president of the United States might make for an excellent article in its own right, but that's not why we're here. Instead, the goal of this article is to assess the very latest high-end mousing unit from Logitech - a veteran of computer mice creation, and likely the manufacturer of some sort of peripheral you have in your home right now.
The G700S is a cordless mouse with an impressive thirteen programmable buttons, thanks in no small part (presumably) to its gaming focus. That doesn't stop general computer use, of course, and in conjunction with a keyboard automater / macro tool like AutoHotKey, these buttons could be put to great use by a power user, too.
Another interesting feature of the device is that, while it is cordless, it can operate in corded mode; the included data cord plugs into the front of the mouse by way of an ingeniously designed plug that, while connected, gives the mouse a look that 100% resembles a normal corded mouse. While connected like this, it not only charges the (replaceable, AA) battery, but the data is actually transmitted over the USB cable, rather than via radio. For most users, this is a meaningless distinction and they'll never know, but hardcore enthusiast users will be ecstatic that they have this option (for performance reasons, apparently, however I couldn't detect any difference.)
The shape of the mouse is all about ergonomics; you might be enthusiastic about its appearance, but it's clear that looks weren't the primary motivator. Instead, it actually feels nice in your hands, with your various fingers and thumb (if you're right-handed, of course) falling naturally to the intended position. There's no pinkie support, unlike the R.A.T. 7 or the SteelSeries World of Warcraft mouse (which is my normal digi-rodent of choice), so if you're used to that it will feel like your pinkie doesn't belong when you first start using it, but that quickly passes.
One of the physical aspects I didn't care for at first, but have also become accepting of (if not thrilled about) is the fact that the thumb resting area and right-hand side of the mouse are covered with a highly textured surface that feels not entirely unlike sandpaper. While it's true that the surface gives you both good grip and good air circulation, noticeably reducing moisture build up even in intense gaming sessions, it never quite feels... normal. This could well be because I use a different mouse at work, and was therefore never exclusively using the G700S, but then I did get used to it in other ways... your mileage may vary.
Configuring the various buttons is very simply accomplished with the downloadable Logitech software. You can choose from a number of "canned" functions (including the ability to adjust the sensitivity of the mouse) or assign keys / key combinations via its simple interface. It's a good, if rudimentary tool; about the only problem I had with it was that at one point it stopped recognising that I had a mouse connected - simply turning the mouse off and on again sorted that out (the mouse was otherwise working fine.)
One fairly surprising observation I made while testing the device was just how short the battery life is. My wife uses a cordless mouse with her laptop, and she's had it for months. Since then, she's never replaced or charged the battery. She never turns it off, hasn't done anything special to increase the battery life, and uses it several hours every day. In contrast, I've had to recharge the G700S four times in the two weeks I've been using it. You can fiddle with the power mode, setting it to one of three different usage profiles, and it does have more buttons and stuff than hers, but it's still much shorter than I would have expected. Still, plugging it in to charge it isn't a big hassle, so it shouldn't be a show-stopper for most users.
The data / charging cable, while useful as a charging device at the very least, is somewhat less successful when actually using the mouse. Fairly thick and very stiff, it massively changes the feel of the mouse and it's hard to imagine a desk setup that wouldn't mean the cord would be banging into things (even 30cm away) that impact its movement. That the mouse is so light and glides so smoothly over the desk, great features in their own right, probably doesn't help in this particular case. The connector on the mouse is a generic micro USB cable, so if you're happy to forego the well-designed plug that comes on the stock cable, you could always replace it with something a bit more flexible.
One thing I did really like about the mouse is the scroll wheel. Quite different to my other mice (the WoW mouse at home, and a Microsoft Sidewinder at work), it spins freely meaning that, if you want to, you can really get things moving along very quickly. This is particularly welcome when scrolling massive web pages (like forums, for example), letting you get to the top or bottom near instantly - rather than laboriously, like with my other mice. This one feature is so useful to me that I suspect the G700S will replace my other mice for this reason alone. This did come hand-in-hand with some ghost / unintended movement, though (likely a result of the wheel's extreme sensitivity and free motion), so that's something to be aware of.
Another great feature is the fact that the surfaces that contact your desk are huge, low-friction pads of teflon (or teflon-like material), giving the device an incredibly smooth motion in use. In fact, it's so smooth (and so much smoother than any other mouse i've used), it almost feels like it's hovering above the desk, rather than constantly in contact with it. This impression hasn't faded in the least over the two weeks I've been using it and is a stark contrast to my other mice (which had previously felt great.)
The buttons themselves are well designed and well positioned, although the exact shape and scale of your hand will seriously influence that latter point (something Logitech can do little about). They each have a unique feel, helping you to locate yourself and tell each from the others, without having to look - no mean feat, given just how many bonus buttons are on this thing.
In my time with the G700S, I spent a lot of time doing all manner of computing tasks - including, of course, lots of gaming. Throughout, the unit responded extremely well, with very smooth input, zero lag, and a fantastic feel. The availability of all those extra buttons was extremely welcome in MMO play, and I've got them hooked up to other windows tasks for more general use too; once you adapt to this sort of thing, there really is no turning back, it's super helpful. It doesn't feel quite as comfy as the WoW mouse I usually use, but I certainly prefer the Logitech for every other reason. Moving it around is so effortless and that hyper-fast scrolling, wow; that's literally a life-changer for me.