Review: Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Mobile Mouse


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I’m a big fan of Logitech’s MX series mice, and I own both the M950 Performance MX, and M905 Anywhere MX.  I have them as  my daily drivers, the M950 at home on my main workstation, and the M905 accompanies me at the office. The M905 for me, is the best travel-sized mouse I’ve ever used, and I have used a lot. Last year, Logitech came up with upgrades for both, the MX Master as the replacement for M950, and MX Anywhere  2 replacing the M905. It seems with the updates, Logitech drops the model numbers to both MX models. That’s not the only thing that they drop, but more on that later.  The MX Master is, mysteriously still missing in Indonesian stores, but you can get  the MX Anywhere 2  at the nearest computer store that carries Logitech stuff. And I have one with me.

What it gains:

  • Battery charging. Since the MX Anywhere 2 drops the AA compatibility and sports a built-in battery, it has to have built-in battery charging.
  • Multi-connection profile, you can switch active connection between 3 device with a click of a button located on the underside of the mouse

What it loses

  • AA compatibility. The Anywhere MX 2 has instead a built-in rechargeable 500mAh li-ion that theoretically, when fully charged will last you for 2 months. If you think that’s a plus, I have managed more than a year with a pair of AAs on the original Anywhere MX
  • Sensor cover. The M905’s power switch also doubles as sensor cover when the mouse is not in use. The MX Anywhere 2 does not have this.
  • Storage slot for  the pico receiver. The MX Anywhere 2 does not provide you with a slot to store the pico receiver.
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New to the MX Anywhere 2: MicroUSB charging port

What’s in the box

Earlier, I mentioned that Logitech dropped a couple of stuff from their earlier model, right? One of them is the mouse pouch. The only thing that you’ll find on the modestly packaged Anywhere MX 2 is the mouse, a microUSB cable, and the pico receiver. Unfortunately the included MicroUSB cable is very short and stiff. It is usable for recharging the mouse but not ideal for charging and using the mouse at the same time. I wished that they have included the M950 cable instead.

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What’s in the box: The mouse, the short short MicroUSB cable, pico receiver, and battery disposal guide

Build Quality

I own the earlier iteration of M905 that has matte finish, which in my opinion is a much, much better than the later, re-released version that sports glossy, grime inviting looks. The folks at Logitech is wise enough to forgo the glossy look, and return to the matte finish with the new MX Anywhere 2.  The overall shape remains relatively unchanged from the original M905, and that’s a good thing, since for me, the M905 has one of the best shape for small, travel mouse. That is perhaps also the reason why it keeps the Anywhere MX moniker instead of giving the mouse a new name a la the MX Master.  There are no battery door and/or dongle storage slot, so the build seems to be more solid than the original M905. That being said, I feel that the quality of the plastic used in old M905 is a bit better than the new one, but only time will tell. Last but not least, since you don’t have to shove a pair of AAs inside the mouse, the new MX Anywhere 2 is much more lighter than the M905. Personally, I kinda miss the hefty weight of the old one.

Features

To me, the only thing that was missing on the original Anywhere MX is that you can’t charge the mouse battery within the mouse itself. It’s not something critical, since as I have mentioned before, a pair of AAs will last for 8 to 12 months. Since the new MX 2 is instead equipped with a non-replaceble li-ion battery that on paper will last 2 months when fully charge, the charging capability has become mandatory. While it means that I no longer have to carry around spare AAs on my backpack, when the time is due, the built in battery capacity will degrade over time, and will eventually stop storing charges. When that happened,  the MX Anywhere 2 will become a very expensive wired mouse. Included in the packaging is an instruction manual on how to open up the mouse and remove the battery for safe disposal purpose . This indicates that, perhaps somewhere in the near future, Logitech might sell replacement battery for the MX Anywhere 2 and MX Master.

Logitech recognizes that nowadays, people use  or carry multiple devices. I myself have a dedicated office laptop, A Dell Vostro 3660 that I usually leave at the office, a stay-at-home-most-of-the-time mobile workstation Lenovo Y510p, a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet, and a Galaxy S4 smartphone. The idea is that, for all of these devices, I will only need one mouse to rule them all, One mouse to find them, One mouse to bring them all, and in the darkness bind.. never mind, you get the idea. It’s indeed a novel idea, and I can see myself using mouse and bluetooth keyboard when wirelessly presenting to the nearest monitor on an android tablet. Except, if I have to pick a single mouse as the one mouse that I want to use on all of my device, I would rather go with the MX Master. It’s (probably) more comfortable to my hands, has more functions, and arguably an overall better mouse than the MX Anywhere 2. Having said that, Logitech’s implementation of connection switching is excellent. I have the MX Anywhere 2 connected to my Lenovo Y510p via the pico receiver on profile 1, as well as to my Galaxy Note 8 via bluetooth on my profile 2. Tapping the profile switch button once, the mouse disengage on Y510p, and in a mere second available on the Note 8. To get it back to Y510p, I only need to tap the button twice to cycle it back to profile 1.

Aside from that, everything remains the same. You get an almost ambidextrously shaped mouse, with a pair of forward and back buttons on the left side of the body, a high quality metal scroll wheel that can be tilted for horizontal scrolling, and the venerable DarkField laser sensor that can go up to 1600 DPI and able to track almost on any surface. While some of us might think that a sensor that can track on virtually any surface is gimmicky, for me it’s one of the must have feature a travel mouse should have, cause you never know what kind of surface you might have to ..err mouse with when you’re globetrotting.

Instead of middle click, pushing the scroll wheel switches between free-wheel and notched scrolling, a staple feature of MX series mice. If you miss middle click on your mouse, Logitech has placed an additional above the scroll wheel that you can program via xinput.

In use

17/04/2016 Update:

So turns out the MX Anywhere 2 uses Bluetooth Smart function which is not supported on 14.04 since this releases uses Bluez 4 instead version 5. There’s a way to install Bluez 5 on 14.04 and 15.04 , but I can’t recommend it since it breaks bluetooth integration with the rest of your desktop. You can however use alternate bluetooth manager such as blueman.

The reduce in weight kind of throw me off a little bit, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of getting used to. Button clicks seems a bit harder and louder compared to my M950, M905, Razer Ouroboros and Orochi. It works with any Logitech Unifying Receiver, and I can connect it with the already plugged M950 receiver via Solaar. The mouse defaulted to 1000 DPI, which is perfect for my use. This is a good thing, since Solaar on Ubuntu doesn’t support DPI switching with the MX Anywhere 2. The Darkfield sensor is still as excellent as ever, providing very accurate tracking even on a problematic surface such as a transparent glass table. The scroll wheel is at least as good as that on the original Anywhere MX, and in that regard, it’s very good.

Unlike the M905, you can’t store the pico receiver inside the mouse when not in use. The idea behind the removal of the storage slot is that the receiver has become so small that you should leave it at one of your workstation. If you need to travel, just bring the mouse sans the receiver, and use bluetooth instead.

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left-right: The new Pico Receiver, the original unifying receiver, and an SD Card for size comparison
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The pico receiver plugged to Y510p

Which bring us to the next item on the list.

The profile switcher. I like it. As I have mentioned on other post, aside from my main workstation, which is the Y510p, I have another box, a Kohjinsha netbook running DNSCrypt and other stuff tucked somewhere inside a closet. I plugged a spare receiver that has been paired to one of the profile of the  MX Anywhere 2 and a Logitech K800 wireless keyboard into the box, and have another receiver that has been paired to another profile on the MX Anywhere 2 plugged into my main box. So If I need to do something with the netbook, I only need to switch the profile on my mouse, and it will be presented to the netbook. If I want to return to my main workstation, a flick on the profile button will bring the mouse back to the main workstation. Now if Logitech release an update to the K800  that has profile switcher, I will have a complete KVM solution 😀

Final Thoughts

It’s hard not to compare the MX Anywhere 2 to its’ predecessor. If you own the original Anywhere MX, and you are satisfied with it, my suggestion is to stick with it, because I don’t find the new features warrants the price of the upgrade. At the time of this writing, some computer shop in jakarta still carry the original Anywhere MX for a bargain price of just a bit more than a third of the price of the newer model. The omission of mouse pouch and slot for storing the pico receiver are very unfortunate.

On the other hand, I shouldn’t take away points from a product just because it’s just marginally better than its’ predecessor. Just like its’ predecessor, the MX Anywhere 2 is a brilliant travel mouse. If money is no object, it is the best travel-sized mouse currently available in the market. Perhaps, the M905 is just so, so good, that there’s nothing left for Logitech to do, or doing more than what they did with the MX Anywhere 2 might have negative consequences or ruin the end product. I don’t know 😀

Please don’t get me wrong,  the thing is, I would only consider suggesting the new MX Anywhere 2 if, and only if Logitech cease the sell of the original Anywhere MX.

Verdict: 4/5

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