I know this is old news, but don’t buy the Logitech VX Nano if you like middle clicking

logitech_vx_nano.jpg

“Never buy anything without researching it,” I smugly tell people. “Even the most well-respected brand can’t be trusted to produce consistently great products.” So what did I do today? I trusted a well-respected brand and it gave me the middle finger.

When my trusty Logitech MX500, an excellent wired mouse, died this morning, I grabbed the $70 VX Nano, forgetting something important they don’t tell you on the box: it doesn’t middle click.

Clicking the scroll-wheel merely changes the sensitivity of the scroll-wheel itself — a physical mechanism, meaning there’s no option to reassign it in the Logitech Control Panel. If you want to middle click, you have to reassign another button, such as the uncomfortably-placed rubber nodule under the scroll-wheel.

Why replace a standard and essential feature with a pointless trick? Logitech’s mice used to be great: that MX500 lasted half a decade! Now its own support staff don’t even know basic details of how their products are constructed.

Update: I took the advice of commenter maoinhibitor below to try the MX518, Logitech’s own updated version of the one that died. Once again, I suffered research fail: there’s no drivers for the Mac! It isn’t detected by the Logitech Control Center, meaning that the buttons can’t be assigned, nor the tracking speed changed. There’s a $20 third-party app called USB Overdrive that fixes this, but I’m thinking “No.”

Update 2: Of the third-party mouse driver apps, Steermouse is the only one that detects all the buttons on the MX518 under Leopard 10.5.2 and above. The others don’t seem able to override the defaults for buttons 7 and 8.

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
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42 Responses to I know this is old news, but don’t buy the Logitech VX Nano if you like middle clicking

  1. KurtMac says:

    I second @#3TRENT comment about the MX Revolution similarity. If you haven’t already, you should go to the Logitech website and download the latest driver/Setpoint software, because that which was included with the product CD is likely outdated. I remember that the software that came with my MX Revo was horrifyingly uncustomizable, until I downloaded the latest version which enables me to assign almost any function to any button. I’m not sure about the VX Nano.

    I haven’t tried it, but some helpful soul created a program called uberOptions that enables full customization of the Logitech Setpoint software. http://www.mstar.net/users/rlowens/

    That being said, I barely use my MX Revolution anymore in favor of the MX518.

  2. Anonymous says:

    i just brought the VX nano too…
    the middle click no function at all..
    any solution for that? istead buy a new mouse.
    Thanks

  3. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t the real issue the horrendous support problems that MAC OS has?

    No button config?

    Pay for a tool to fix that?

    Madness!!!

    One more reason to avoid the Apple tax – it’s not just financial!

  4. dculberson says:

    K0an, I’m pretty sure the editors here can post whatever they want. Calling it an “abuse of power” is pretty ridiculous. Unless you’re the blog software itself and are feeling repressed by Rob’s relentless machinations against your ego and ideology? In which case, woah, you passed my Turing test!

    Kurtmac, it looks like this mouse doesn’t have an electrical button there at all – it’s a mechanical linkage that changes between notched and smooth scroll wheel movements. If that’s the case, then there’s no “button” to assign new functionality to.

  5. Anonymous says:

    FWIW, USB Overdrive is a much better-written piece of software than Logitech Control Center.

  6. k0an says:

    Randall, “blog” does not imply “personal”. It’s really just anything with a RSS feed. There are personal blogs and there are commercial blogs and I feel this falls into the latter category since money is being made and there is a large audience. I understand that a proper review implies a personal experience but this was not a proper review. This was one person noticing one thing about an item they bought and bringing it to everyone’s attention. A proper review is something that is planned and examines all the facets of a product.

    Rob, you’re right, it’s not CNET or Wired. That being said, this does have a larger audience than a typical “personal” gadget blog and you are associated with an incredibly large parent blog which actively promotes this blog.

    Another example of this is the blog Consumerist. It has the “one man’s opinion” problem (if you want to call it that) far more than most other news blogs. They will report on one person’s experience with one employee of a company that has 100,000 locations and then imply that it’s standard policy at that company when it’s obviously not. I think it’s bad journalism.

    I know “journalism” might sound overly serious but that’s what this is. Eventually the web will be the primary source of news and the sites that are respected will rise to the top. So it’s ok to get personal and dump on people, places, and things but eventually it will eat away at your credibility. I think Logitech’s products can be a pain in the butt too but I’m just a commenter and those sentiments are expected down below the article.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’ve had this mouse for going on 18 months now and didn’t even realize it didn’t middle-click until reading this. All that tells me is that I’m no less happy with the mouse and that middle-clicking is a lot less important to me than I might have thought.

    I love the mouse. The scroll-type switching is quite cool, the battery life is tremendous, the shape the most comfortable I’ve found in a smaller mouse. Not being satisfied with remapping one of the other buttons just seems a little obstinate.

  8. Joel Johnson says:

    K0AN: We respect our readers enough to presume they can tell the difference between journalism and a personal perspective.

  9. Rob Beschizza says:

    This is our personal blog.

    This is not journalism. Sometimes we do journalism.

    This was not a “proper review.”

    The reviews have the word “review” in the subject line and are in the review category: http://gadgets.boingboing.net/reviews/

    At this point, all you’re doing is describing a personal vision of what this place should be. It’s a lovely vision, but it is not what it is.

    “you are associated with an incredibly large parent blog which actively promotes this blog.”

    BB is even more the “personal blog” of its writers than BBG! I don’t even begin to fathom how you ever looked at this place and thought “hey, formal reportage in a commercial journalistic context!”

    I don’t care about my “credibility.” At all. Sorry!

  10. k0an says:

    Dculberson, yes, the editors can post whatever they want. Similarly newscasters on TV can say what they want. However, if they used their time there to criticize Honda because their personal car doesn’t behave the way they like they would probably be respected less and maybe out of a job.

    I know there isn’t the same expected standard of journalism on commercial blogs (unfortunately) but I think if someone is paid to report then they should act like a reporter. There’s no way to force them to do this and there shouldn’t be but they can be encouraged by user feedback like mine.

    Consider this post in relation to the other posts on this blog. Most posts are about significant developments in consumer electronics and then there is this, one man’s rant about a purchase he made that didn’t fulfill all his expectations. Who cares? It’s taking advantage of his time in the spotlight.

    If I had a blog with so many subscribers I’d be tempted to do the same thing just like anybody is tempted on the job. It just doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.

  11. Brettspiel says:

    Anonymous-

    The wheel change mechanism on the VX Nano is a physical thing. You push the wheel in and some sort of mechanism engages or disengages. The standard scroll is like any other mouse, with click-steps as you scroll. The freewheel scroll is like a flywheel, completely free spinning.

  12. nightingale says:

    I think this mouse is very nice, I have it for two years and it still works very nice until now!

  13. Rob Beschizza says:

    “you can assign the middle button to be the wheel click through the control panel.”

    Alas, no, you cannot reassign the middle mouse button through the logitech control panel. The VX Nano’s scroll wheel “click” simply does not electrically connect to anything, so there is nothing to assign to it. it merely triggers a physical mechanism that changes how the scroll action works.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I regularly switch between the mechanical fast flywheel and click type of scrolling, depending on what app I’m using.
    Love it.
    Haven’t missed a middle mouse button since I stopped using RISC OS though.

    rev

  15. Rob Beschizza says:

    Koan, this place is an enterprise, but its ours and we write what we like. So you’ll often find that it has the tenor of a personal blog. You’re free to trust us, argue with us, correct us, or otherwise say what you please in response.

    Occasionally, we even write about things that are not gadgets!

    Enjoy!

  16. Anonymous says:

    I have an Mx700 that I have been using so long that I can’t remember using any other mouse. Earlier this year the left click button went out. No problem, assign one of the thumb buttons to it. Hopefully those buttons are as hearty as the other ones and I will be able to use it another 6+ years because I have tried to find another mouse I like and none of them compare. I don’t use any batteries for mine. Others are too tiny for my hands. They don’t have the buttons and functions I want and am used to.

    maybe I’ll be lucky and find another (gently used) one someday.

  17. Anonymous says:

    There is a program which replaces the Logitech control center called uber options (http://www.mstar.net/users/rlowens/) which supports the VX Nano.

    This allows you to set the mousewheel click to a traditional middle click, altho its very stiff (at least on my mx revolution) so you may find the button just below the wheel (center button) to perform the same task. 6 months down the track and I don’t even notice it anymore.

  18. k0an says:

    That’s argumentative strategy that I can’t counter. If you don’t care about your credibility then you don’t care if people believe you when you write your articles rendering any feedback meaningless! Have a nice day!

  19. Rob Beschizza says:

    Koan wrote:

    “I know there isn’t the same expected standard of journalism on commercial blogs (unfortunately) but I think if someone is paid to report then they should act like a reporter. There’s no way to force them to do this and there shouldn’t be but they can be encouraged by user feedback like mine.”

    Your assumption, that we “should act like reporters,” is basically wrong. That’s not to say we shouldn’t report — we do occasionally commit acts of journalism — but BBG is not CNET or Wired.

    We’ve always skipped from personal reflections to serious reporting as the subject suggests.

    Thanks for caring!

  20. Anonymous says:

    You can assign ‘middle button’ to clicking the *sides* of the wheel, if that helps?

  21. Joel Johnson says:

    What is the sound of one hand fapping?

  22. Anonymous says:

    I wish I read this post earlier before I bought this stupid mouse, I really got angry when I found it that it doesn’t middle click, Any other good alternatives for a good wireless mouse for laptops ?

  23. Anonymous says:

    I bought this mouse over a year ago. It may not middle click via the scroll wheel but who cares. That function can be reassigned to the middle button, and being able to control the wheels spin rate is actually useful. It is a bit different to get used to, but once you do, you wont miss it.

    This mouse also has outstanding battery life!
    I didnt need to change batteries for a solid year!

  24. Anonymous says:

    this mouse is the kick ass! i use it at work and i love it, battery lasts forever, small dongle, etc.

    and at least at my machine the button under the wheel is default mapped to middle click? i use it all the time to open and close tabs in firefox.

  25. Anonymous says:

    The clutch mechanism is FANTASTIC. I seriously cannot overstate the importance of that “trick.” I have this mouse’s big brother for work and would have paid twice the $100 original price for it. Scrolling through a thousand lines with the perfect physics of a physical wheel moving under your finger as you wait for the right spot, well, it’s bliss (as far as spreadsheets and MS word can be bliss).

    I understand why you don’t like it. Just don’t call it a trick. :-)

  26. J France says:

    Is it that hard to make Mac drivers? This isn’t the days of system 9. It’s seems nuts-o that a company like Logitech isn’t catering to the mac market.

    Breaks my brain.

    And Koan: thanks for douching out! You’ve made this thread such a richer place.

  27. k0an says:

    Joel, I see you’re trying to create your own koan in reference to my username. However, a koan is supposed to be paradoxical and I don’t think it’s paradoxical to “fap” with one hand!

  28. Crashproof says:

    Middle clicking with the scroll wheel, without also scrolling, is awkward on about 80% of mice anyway. I never rely on it if I can avoid it.

  29. maoinhibitor says:

    You might be interested in the MX518, which looks like the same design as the MX500. Newegg seems to have it…

  30. adamrice says:

    They also don’t know how to write driver software for the Mac that doesn’t generate kernel panics.

  31. Trent Hawkins says:

    If it’s anything like the MX Revolution, you can assign the middle button to be the wheel click through the control panel.

    Though I personally prefer to have the middle mouse button one of the other buttons on the mouse (as in the side buttons or the button just below the wheel) because I actually use it often and need the precision.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I have the MX Revolution, and when I first used it on Windows, I thought the same thing, that the wheel click and changing to the free-spinning mode were all mechanical. When I switched to Ubuntu and installed the linux drivers though, I discovered that they are, in fact, both electrically controlled. You can actually send a command from the computer to enable/disable the wheel clicks without touching the mouse at all. And you can, of course, map the wheel click to something else. You can even have a different button on the mouse activate the free spinning mode.

    My question is: why would the VX Nano be so different? I was under the impression that it has basically the same wheel mechanism.

  33. Anonymous says:

    This SAME thing happened to me when the office gave me a VX nano. Rest assured it only took about a week before completely retraining my had to “middle click” on the “up arrow” button adjacent to the left mouse button.

    And Now I’ve grown to quite like the little guy!

  34. danilo says:

    Using the VX Nano has given me terrible pain in my hand. The mouse is too small, especially if you make use of that rubber nubbin below the wheel.

    For awesome USB HID driver action on the Mac, check out Controller Mate:

    http://www.orderedbytes.com/controllermate/

  35. randalll says:

    Rob, this is total bullshit, man! If I wanted to read about a writer’s personal experiences with computer equipment I’d read a gadget blog!

    Oh wait…

  36. Brettspiel says:

    I use this and like it, though I do miss middle-click sometimes. I dig the fast scroll.

  37. Bugs says:

    My office computer is a Mac. I can’t even right-click. But sure, keep rubbing salt in that wound.

  38. Anonymous says:

    the middle button is directly behind the scroll wheel, this is it’s standard function when the logitech drivers are not installed, if you want to configure the scroll wheel as a middle button you will need to use the drivers to assign the left or right directional nudge of the scroll wheel to a middle click. this feels 90% natural. the smooth scroll function makes this tiny retraining more than worthwhile.

    if it’s not clear already I am very impressed with this mouse. try it for a bit longer … give it chance

  39. k0an says:

    Unless I’m mistaken this isn’t a personal blog. It’s a gadget oriented commercial blog so why are Rob’s individual tech problems considered news? Seems like an abuse of power like when people put their personal Ebay listings up to generate higher bids.

    And Trent is right, you can re-assign the action associated with clicking the scroll wheel.

  40. strider_mt2k says:

    I ran into the same problem (I’m using one now) and I simply mapped a double-click to the button BEHIND the scroll wheel using the Logitech Setpoint software.
    It’s worked great, although it took a little while to get used to.

    Otherwise this is a decent enough mouse.
    The tiny dongle makes it a great option for a non-bluetooth netbook or notebook.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I have a similar annoying logitech mouse. I eventually mapped right/left scroll wheel click (horizontal scrolling) to middle click. It’s not ideal but I’ve gotten used to it.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Just to point out the great point #9 made, there are third party solutions to logitech’s shortcomings.

    Download uberoptions, remap the button, problem solved.

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