Logitech MX Master 3 Review – I’m Switching!
This is the new Logitech MX Master 3, and for those of you wondering, its predecessor the MX Master 2S was launched more than two years ago. If you recall my review of this mouse, I actually really enjoyed using it because it was packed with features that helped ease my workflow for editing videos and doing other things. However, it was also geared for professionals who spend a lot of time sitting in front of a screen creating spreadsheet documents, working on presentations, coding, working on graphics, you name it. Now the MX Master 3 addresses some of the issues that I had with the Master 2S, but Logitech has also added some more features to make it a little bit better, like a newly redesigned MagSpeed scroll wheel, the inclusion of pre-configured button profiles that can take advantage of all of the buttons, including the horizontal scroll wheel in certain apps. The best part is they aren’t charging a premium for it, it still retails for $99 USD so it’s the same price as the Master 2S when it was launched.
MX Master 2S vs. MX Master 3
Let’s go over some of the changes that Logitech has done to the MX Master 3 and compare it to the Master 2S. First, from a physical standpoint, they do look different. The Master 3 doesn’t have the pointy tip like the 2S and they have slimmed down the palm area a little bit, but ultimately it’s still the same size as the 2S. Weight-wise the 145 gram Master 3 is four grams lighter than the 2S but I wasn’t able to tell the difference. However, coming from my Glorious Model 0 that weighs only 67 grams the difference was night and day. Then again, these two mice are geared towards different users, so that’s something to keep note of. Unfortunately it’s not ambidextrous, so left handed users are out of the equation. If you prefer a palm-type grip, the Master 3 does not disappoint, just like the 2S. My hands are fairly large and I was comfortably able to wrap them around the body, but you could hold it claw-style as well if you’re into that.
They shifted the battery LED indicator to a more visible spot, because with the 2S I was easily able to hide the indicator with my thumb due to its location. The biggest shift for me is that they relocated the forward and backward buttons to a comfortable position. It’s right underneath the horizontal scroll wheel, and I was easily able to reach all three of them without having to stress my thumb like I did with the 2S. However, they are still not as tactile as I would like them to be. They still feel mushy, but that’s just personal. The primary left and right buttons on the other hand have great tactile feedback, and they don’t require a lot of pressure to register.
As for other changes, the Master 3 finally uses USB Type-C for charging, and it supports quick charge so you can get about 3 hours of use from 1 minute of charge. Unfortunately, battery life hasn’t really improved compared to the 2S because they still feature the same size battery. You can expect up to 70 days worth of use from a single charge, which is still amazing considering that it’s a wireless mouse packed with features. Back when I used the 2S I only remember charging it maybe one or two times over the course of six months, which is pretty darn impressive. Right now the Master 3 is still going strong, I still have full bars, which by the way can be monitored through the optional software. Unfortunately, I still wish they gave us the option to view the battery life in percentage, but that’s not possible at the moment.
Now just like the Master 2S, the Master 3 comes with Bluetooth support and Easy-Switch, which means the user can switch between three different systems at the same time by pressing a button underneath the mouse. I think this will come in handy if you’re working in an environment where you have to switch between many different systems. If you are looking for a keyboard to go along with that, Logitech did announce the MX Keys, which is their first ever MX keyboard and one that features Flow Support as well as Easy-Switch. I think that it would be a perfect companion for the Master 3.
One Slick Scroll Wheel
Moving on, let’s talk about the MagSpeed scroll wheel. Logitech spent quite a bit of time talking about this feature during my briefing, so here’s what you need to know. They have implemented electromagnets inside the wheel that are supposed to offer silent and precise movement, as well as a seamless transition between ratchet mode and free spin. For those of you who are wondering, ratchet mode is when you can physically feel the scroll steps, whereas if you switch over to free spin you’re basically letting the scroll wheel spin for as long as it can depending on how much force you applied. So when you’re in ratchet mode, the magnets inside are polar opposite, which results in repulsion. Hence you would be able to feel the scroll steps as the teeth inside make contact with each other. When you switch over to Free Spin the mouse sends an electric charge which then reverses the polarity, and therefore the inner teeth retract making no contact with the exterior wheel, which ultimately doesn’t create resistance. You might ask why would someone would need such a crazy high tech scroll wheel on a mouse? Well I can’t really answer that question, but I can certainly tell you how it feels. The scroll steps feel a lot smoother and softer compared to the Master 2S. Most importantly they are very quiet, you can’t really hear the scroll steps as you’re scrolling through. It almost feels like it’s vibrating inside, but it obviously isn’t, I’m probably just feeling the electromagnets doing their thing.
I hope that gave you a rough idea on how this new mechanism works. It’s really difficult to explain and demonstrate it solely via text, so you really have to try to in-person to experience it. Personally, I’m coming from a traditional mouse with a scroll wheel that has well-defined scroll steps that I can both feel and hear. As a result, switching to a scroll wheel that’s so out of the ordinary, something that uses electromagnets inside, was a little bit awkward at first but I slowly started liking it because of its smoothness. When I’m editing videos and doing things in Photoshop it just felt a lot more natural and pretty cool too. However, is it a revolutionary feature that’s worth upgrading from your existing mouse? Not really, because if you’re coming from something like the Master 2S the Hyper-Fast scroll wheel is one of the signature features of the MX Master series. While yes, this scroll wheel feels a little bit more premium compared to the 2S, it’s not worth upgrading at least in my opinion. However, if you’re willing to try something new, if you’re coming from something a little bit more basic then why not give it a try.
One of the things that I loved about the 2S was the ability to customize the buttons with different commands, not just Windows specific but app-based as well. So if you need to create a custom button layout for Photoshop or AutoCAD or Adobe Premiere, you can easily set that up through Logitech Options. The Master 3 adds an extra layer on top of that by pre-configuring the mouse with different app profiles. Once you install Logitech Options, the utility scans for programs that you have installed on your system, and it identifies apps like Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Microsoft office, Adobe Premiere, and a few more. Then it loads the button layout automatically. So for instance, with Photoshop you can use the horizontal scroll wheel to adjust the brush size when you’re doing touch-ups or you can set it to just be hardness or capacity or zoom. I use DaVinci Resolve for editing these videos, so I use the horizontal wheel to scroll through my timeline. Plus I have customized the forward and backward buttons to mark in and out points when I’m reviewing footage, which really helps my workflow. I use Excel to create graphs for comparisons, and to make things quick I assigned the horizontal scroll wheel to increase and decrease the text size and the forward/backward buttons to redo and undo. If you’re on a web browser like Chrome or Edge, you can use the horizontal wheel to switch between different tabs, which is also pretty neat. Lastly, if you hold the middle scroll wheel and start moving the mouse around you can pan within an image, whether you’re in Photoshop or PowerPoint or any of the program.
Logitech has really unleashed customization to a whole new level, especially with that horizontal scroll wheel. It’s more intuitive to use and I really love using it for editing videos and creating thumbnails. That being said, you could technically do all these things on the Master 2S, except you lose a lot of the tool-based support for apps due to the lack of a horizontal scroll wheel and you also miss out on the pan feature. Furthermore, you also have to create profiles for every app by yourself, since it doesn’t come preloaded with any.
Performance & Software
Moving on to the tracking performance, and honestly nothing has changed here. The Master 3 still uses the same Darkfield 4,000 DPI laser sensor as the 2S, and it felt very similar. Now I cannot emphasize this enough, the Master 3 is not a gaming mouse, so you can’t expect the most accurate response or pinpoint accuracy like you would on a traditional gaming mouse like the Model 0, which has an optical sensor. With the Master 3 I was able to detect a little bit of acceleration and lift off distance tracking, so just don’t just don’t buy this for gaming.
The last thing that I want to cover here is the software experience. The Logitech Options utility is one of the best that I’ve looked at so far. It is simple and provides basic controls for the user to customize. If you want to set a custom button layout you can simply choose your app from the list, but if Logitech doesn’t support it you can add programs manually, which is nice. The amount of customization that you can do with the Master 3 is endless and I have nothing to complain about it. The Point & Scroll tab lets you adjust the sensitivity and a few more things. I still wish Logitech gave us a visual indicator for DPI levels, it’s pretty disappointing. I should also mention that this mouse supports Logitech Flow, just like the Master 2S. For starters, this is a pretty cool feature that lets you seamlessly switch the cursor between different computers as long as you are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Amazingly enough you can also copy and paste files as well, although be mindful that it heavily depends on your network speed.
So here’s the bottom line with the MX Master 3. It is slightly refined compared to the Master 2S, the body certainly looks a lot different, and they have relocated the forward and backward buttons to a more comfortable location, which I really like. You also finally get a USB Type-C port, which I’m sure a lot of you guys will appreciate as well. The MagSpeed scroll wheel is a cool feature, and it does provide a smoother and quieter operation when you’re scrolling through documents and doing things. However, it’s not enough of an improvement to consider upgrading from the Master 2S. However, if you desperately need USB Type-C, and if you see yourself taking advantage of those custom pre-configured button layouts that allow you to make best use of that horizontal scroll wheel in a variety of workflows, then I think you’re going to appreciate the Master 3. Now if you’re a professional watching this video and if you’re currently using a very basic mouse, I would highly recommend checking out the Master 3 if you’re thinking about or looking for something a little bit more robust and feature rich. Yes, it’s still expensive at $100, but given Logitech’s history with sales you can certainly pick this up for a lot less during the various special sales event.
I should also mention that I have switched from my Glorious Model 0 to the MX Master 3, and I know a lot of gamers might be disappointed by that. However, if you think about it, I spend the majority of my time creating content for you guys and less time gaming. So if I find something that can ease my workflow and make it a little more efficient and faster that’s a win-win for me. So let me know what you guys think about the MX Master 3 from Logitech.