Logitech G5 Review

By: Jonathan Kwan
February 25, 2006

Almost three weeks after we reviewed the Razer Copperhead, the G5 finally arrived at my doorstep. Honestly DHL has the worst service; phone support is horrible and delivery times were ridiculous -- having the mouse being held at the customs for nearly a month is simply unacceptable. It was February 22 when it's finally delivered to me. The parcel has been sitting at the DHL airport facility since January 27th.

Our package arrived in a DHL Express box. A Canadian Customs reject form was stapled onto it. Here's the basic idea of what was on it:

Administrative reject, Reason: Other
Enforcement reject, Reason: Other
Customs officer note: Please provide proof of purchase
Description of item: Wireless mouse
Date: January 27, 2006

Provide proof of purchase? What purchase? Hello, this is a commercial sample! Wireless mouse? I need to go up and find the guy and teach him the difference between a wired and a wireless mouse.

Well, anyway...

Our review unit came in nice, well packed retail packaging with the well known "Logitech Green" design. The funny thing is that the actual packaging of the G5 was not opened by the customs.

Everything was well packaged inside, nothing was broken or went out of place (Except for the weights that fell out of the little tin box but remained in the inner plastic packaging layer). The plastic was not hard-bound together, just a few 'buttons' that held it in its place therefore very easy to open. This method is similar to what Func used in their sUrface 1030 Archetype's packaging.

Right out of the box is the G5 mouse itself, an installation guide, a Logitech product booklet that's dated 2003 (No typo here), software and drivers CD, a weight cartridge, and a little tin box that contains eight 4.5g and eight 1.7g tuning weights for fine tuning the weight of your mouse (Yes, I kind of noticed that I used the word 'weight' many times in this sentence).

Before we move on, here's the specifications of this mouse, based on the ones provided on the box:

Resolution: 2000 dpi
Image Processing: 6.4 megapixels/second
Maximum Acceleration: 20g
Maximum Speed: 45-65 inches (Depending on surface)

USB Data Format: 16 bits/axis
USB Report Rate: 500 reports/second
Sleep mode: Disabled

Dynamic Coefficient of Friction - µ (k): 0.09*
Static Coefficient of Friction - µ (s): 0.13*
Tuning Weight: Up to 38 grams
* Tested on wood-veneer surface

Buttons (Left/Right) 8 million clicks
Feet: 250 kilometers

The first thing I noticed was the polling rate. Although it supports full-speed USB, at 500 reports/second, it is definitely short of the Copperhead's 1000 reports/second. In addition to that, response time was not specified.

Here's the description taken from Logitech's site:

Adjust the weight and balance to win your game! The Logitech G5 Laser Mouse gives you the edge with a 2000 dpi laser engine sending out an astounding 500 USB reports per second* for precision response at blinding speeds. A Logitech exclusive, the G5's 36-gram adjustable weight cartridge gives you thousands of variations on balance and weight—including one that´s perfect for your unique gaming style. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) gaming feet provide the ultra-smooth glide you want in a gaming-grade mouse, and Logitech's SetPoint software allows you to customize your mouse with advanced features such as game detection and in-game adjustable sensitivity (including independent x- and y-axis settings).
* For Windows® 9x and ME users only, the Logitech® SetPoint™ software will limit the report rate to 125 reports/second.

Hmm... where did they come up with "thousands of variations"? There are eight weight containers in the weight cartridge. Do some calculations yourself, there's definitely nowhere near one thousand, never mind thousands. But there are a lot of combinations.

Nice, isn't it? I like it a lot. The rusted-metal design reminds me of Half-Life 2. The rust red, smoke black and silver goes through a seven step finishing process with each individual mouse hand-polished with sandpaper, which makes every G5 slightly different from the other ones. When I showed it to my friends, they were like, "Did you make your mouse that dirty?" (Pointing at the smoke-black part on the left and right buttons) They all understood what I meant when I told them it was part of the design. The paint job is excellent, did I mention that I really like it a lot?

From the left: Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical, Logitech OEM mouse, Razer Copperhead, Logitech MX500, Logitech G5, and Logitech MX600. The paint job of the G5 distinguishes itself from the rest, while when plugged in, the light implementation of the Copperhead just demands attention.

I am surprised even the cord differs from any other mouse. Other people in the APH Labs were like, "Wow, a braided cord for a mouse? Thats pretty cool!" First time I've seen a company that even addresses the design of the cord, which is usually insignificant enough to catch any attention. Obviously this has caught our attention!

As a palm mouse user, I am very glad that Logitech used the exact same shape they've been using since the MX500 days. It feels the same as the MX500, yet it's so different at the same time. The G5's sides are slightly textured, feels slightly rough (But very comfortable) with a rubbery-feel to it, and offers an excellent grip. It's not rubber though, Logitech claims that "rubber is not good for gaming when it's wet".

This mouse fits very nicely in my palm and the grip is incredible. The G5 stayed in my hands in all situations without slipping anywhere. However, if you are a left handed mouse user, or a finger mouse kind of person, then the Razer Copperhead is for you.

As you can see in the the photo above, there is only one button on the side: the "Back" button. Unlike previous generations of Logitech mice, the Forward button is missing. Logitech said that they removed it to prevent accidental usage of the extra button, but most of the users (including myself) have not experienced that problem (The Razer Copperhead has a lot more buttons than the G5. Two on the left side and two on the right). In addition to that, you can disable the buttons within Logitech's SetPoint software if you don't need it, so the extra button will not be a problem at all anyway. Without the forward button, it gives me minor inconveniences.

Moving on to the drivers, here's a screenshot. It's good that you can adjust settings for any Logitech mouse that uses SetPoint within the SetPoint software. When SetPoint and Advanced Game Settings are configured correctly, SetPoint will automatically load the settings you made for the specific game you are playing.

As a standard with most gaming mice nowadays, you can adjust the speed and acceleration of the X and Y axis individually (Or link them if you like). Fine tune all your Logitech G5 settings in Advanced Game Settings as shown above. In this window you can set up to five DPI settings, each between 400 dpi and 2000 dpi at 50 dpi increments. Too bad there isn't onboard memory like the Copperhead to store key settings and profiles.

One of the big things that the G5 has that the Razer Copperhead doesn't is easily accessible, change-any-time, does-not-void-warranty fine weight tuning. Included with the G5 are eight 4.5g round tuning weights and eight 1.7g... um... round tuning weights, in a case that says "G5" on it. Unfortunately, even without the weight cartridge in the mouse, it's heavier than the Copperhead. If you like the feel of weightless mice, then the G5 might be a bit heavy for you. For me, I filled the cartridge with all 1.7g adjustment weight and inserted it into the mouse. There are two red LEDs inside the weight cartridge slot.

I showed my friends the weight cartridge and they are all pretty amused by it when I turned the mouse around and ejected it.

In the photo above, you may or may not have noticed the unusually large mouse feet. The large polytetrafluoroethylene (Say that really fast! Poly - tetra - fluoro - ethy - lene) glides incredibly smooth on both my wooden desk and Func sUrface 1030 Archetype. Polyfluoroenthylene is commonly known as Teflon (Ironically, Teflon is the brand name of polytetrafluoroethylene, and is more well known than the material itself). Even before flashing the firmware to version 1.1, I have no problems when using it on that particular mousing surface. Nevertheless I flashed the G5 to firmware version 1.1 and continued my test.

By the way, Logitech claims 250 kilometers milage with these polytetrafluoroethylene feet. Assuming you are going to move your mouse 200 meters a day, let's do some calculations:

250km * 1000 = 250000m
250000m / 200m = 1250 days
1250 days / 365 days (1 year) = 3.42 years

That means you can use your polytetrafluoroethylene feet for three and a half years before wearing out. That is, if you are really going to get 200m milage in one day for every day over the next 3.4 years. (Unless you are really a hard core gamer)

A closer look at the buttons: as mentioned earlier, there is only one button on the side, which I often find it inconvenient without the "Forward" button that was there in most other Logitech mice for a long time. The wheel is a tilt wheel, which is capable of not only scrolling up and down but also left and right. Most people claim that clicking down the wheel feels a bit weird, and indeed it does. Instead of a "quick, clean, firm" click downwards, the G5's wheel seems to go down slightly without doing anything, and then it clicks. It gives a bit of "cushion feeling", I know it's very confusing but describing it is very hard... the best way is to go to some place that has this mouse and try it out yourself.

By the way, the dark part of the left and right mouse buttons really does seem like I did made it dirty. But hey -- it's part of the design!

Below the tilt wheel are two buttons, one with a '+' sign and the other with a '-' sign on it. These buttons allow you to adjust your DPI setting on the fly. I like the placement of these buttons on the mouse; it is in a incredibly convenient location to use during a game. There is also a DPI indicator on the G5, an excellent feature that the Razer Copperhead lacks. As mentioned earlier, you can have custom DPI settings, each between 400 dpi to 2000 dpi at 50 dpi increments. The array of red DPI indicator LEDs would display your DPI setting like this:

High - Only top LED is lit
Medium High - Top and middle LED are lit
Medium - Only middle LED is lit
Medium Low - Middle and bottom LED are lit
Low - Only bottom LED is lit

The Tests

The big moment that you've all been waiting for! First, let's test tracking capabilities. All tests were done on firmware version 1.1 unless otherwise specified.

- I have no problems using the G5 on a plastic chair mat.
- The G5 works just fine on a wooden desk.
- No problems on my Func sUrface 1030 Archetype, even with firmware version 1.0.
- Shiny, semi-reflective clear plastic (1mm thick). Not a single problem and tracks very nicely. With an optical mouse, the pointer flies all over the place.
- No problems on carpet.
- Mirror: doesn't work at all. Same thing with the Razer Copperhead.
- Glass (2mm thick) - doesn't work at all either, as with the Razer Copperhead.

You see, laser tracks better on shiny/reflective surfaces, but not on all of them, such as glass and mirrors (So much for the common misconception/advertising scheme of "Laser tracks on any surface") Shiny plastic surfaces aren't a problem for the G5, which has plagued previous generations of Logitech gaming mice that uses optical technology for quite a while.

Now, with our standard tests: Counter-Strike: Source and Photoshop freehand cropping tool.

Actually, before we start the test, I moved the mouse around in Windows in a specific way and it really gives me the sense of precision and control. Smooth moving of the pointer is also a good sign of excellent tracking and good mouse feet.

In Adobe Photoshop, I used the freehand crop tool to cut the APH logo out. Nice mousing surface and nice mouse is one thing, but the most important is a nice, stable hand =P

Yes that's right, the freehand crop tool is used.

In Counter-Strike: Source, this mouse is very precise and can handle quite a bit of headshots. It's definitely amazing for gaming. It sits in my hand comfortably and aims nicely just for that headshot whole way across the map. When compared directly with the Razer Copperhead, this mouse does not feel as 'responsive', maybe due to its polling rate of 500 reports/second as opposed to the Copperhead's 1000 reports/second with 1ms response time. Besides that, the Logitech G5 is still an excellent mouse for gaming, and I can just feel the precision and control of the crosshair in my hand. This would really be a killer mouse if it was just that teeny bit more responsive. If only, if only.

So basically, if you do a lot of office and graphics work plus a moderate amount of gaming, the G5 is a good choice. If gaming is all you care about, and you game all day long, the G5 isn't a bad choice but to me the Razer Copperhead is slightly better for that specific purpose.

In conclusion, the Logitech G5 is definitely an excellent mouse, both in looks and performance. The precision offered by this mouse is indispensable for both office work and gaming, the large polytetrafluoroethylene gaming feets gives a nice glide across virtually any surface. It is not as responsive as the Copperhead in gaming, however. Excellent grip and designed very comfortably for right handed palm mouse users, but finger or left handed mouse users should look to the Razer Copperhead. On-the-fly DPI change and DPI indicator are both excellent features. One of the best features I found on the G5 that's not on competitor products is the extremely convenient adjustable weight cartridge. All it needs is some onboard memory for storing your button settings like the Copperhead, and some may find the missing Forward button and funny feeling when clicking the wheel inconvenient.

Be sure to take a look at the Razer Copperhead review before making your final decision. It's a hard choice, I know, since both of them are excellent products and each has unique features of its own that makes itself more desirable.

Special thanks to Kate over at Logitech for making this review possible.

Note: The number ratings below has been adjusted accordingly to comply with our new Number Rating System.

Rating: 7.5/10 | APH Recommended
What do these ratings mean?

Excellent palm mouse with incredible precision for the right handed user. Large, smooth feet gives a nice glide. Adjustable weight cartridge and DPI indicator is excellent, but it lacks onboard memory and the Forward button. Wheel is a bit weird to click.