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Logitech’s new MX Vertical is designed primarily to enhance ergonomics. But how does it compete with the popular MX Master 2S? We tested both.
Why a vertical mouse?
If you work a lot on your computer, you probably know the problem very well. The typical hand positions on the keyboard and mouse do not correspond to a natural hand position or movement. The hand position of both the mouse and the keyboard is twisted by a good 90 degrees. It is almost predestined that this can lead to long-term postural damage. Painful hands can be found in every office.
I also spend most of my time in front of screens, keyboard and mouse. While I’m already very used to working with a flat keyboard, I’ve often thought about a vertical mouse, especially because of my flat and rather small mouse. Recently, Logitech launched the MX Vertical. It’s a complement to the MX series that started with the almost iconic MX Master. Meanwhile, Logitech has added more models to its portfolio and also launched a successor to the MX Master, the MX Master 2S, which is marketed as a “mouse for power users”. It also has certain ergonomic advantages, but does not achieve by far the ergonomic hand position of the MX Vertical. That’s why today I’m testing both models and compare which compromises Logitech has to make with the MX Vertical.
The MX Master 2S in detail
The MX Master 2S is a classic mouse in form. Some fine details make it stand out from the crowd. On the one hand, the MX Master 2S is larger than most standard mice. Further differences can be found in the shape. The MX Master 2S is also slightly tilted to the side. On the left side the mouse is slightly curved inwards. A kind of ledge forms a thumb rest. The surface on which the hand rests is covered with a soft material that gives a light hold but does not stick. On the side and in the thumb rest there is also a kind of polygon structure, which not only looks chic, but also contributes to the hold.
On the upper side are the buttons for left and right clicks, which are familiar from any other mouse. In the middle is the MicroGear scroll wheel. The scroll wheel itself is also a freely assignable button and, like most mice, serves as the standard “middle click”. Right in front of it, Logitech has placed a button that serves as a default switch for the scroll wheel, but can also be freely assigned. The MicroGear scroll wheel does not only work in the conventional way, but can also be completely detached, allowing for an even finer scroll feel and fast scrolling. At the side of the thumb rest there is another scroll wheel at the front, which can be used for actions like horizontal scrolling or changing the app. Right behind it are two long buttons that serve as a back and forth button, but can also be used completely freely. In front of the thumb, there are three small LEDs that serve as charging indicators.
On the thumb rest there is then another, somewhat more sluggish button. By default, four actions can be performed with this button when the mouse is moved at the same time. By simultaneously pressing the key and moving the mouse up, down, left or right you can freely define actions. Logitech has already created some sets for this in the Logitech Options software, for example for window management. The gesture control can also be assigned to any other key.
On the bottom there is the on/off switch, which is color-coded. Green stands for On, red for Off. Below this is the laser sensor, which achieves a sampling rate of 4,000 DPI and works on almost all surfaces including glass. Directly below is the switch button for the three profiles. With it, the MX Master 2S can be connected to three different computers either via Bluetooth or the supplied Unifying USB dongle. The switch initiates the pairing and then serves as a switch between the profiles. Above it are the white illuminated numbers 1, 2 and 3 as an indicator for the profile. The MX Master 2S is loaded via a micro-USB port on the front.
The MX Vertical in detail
Unlike the MX Master 2S, the MX Vertical looks more like an art object than a mouse. The actual palm rest is tilted by 57 degrees and therefore leads to a much more relaxed hand posture. According to Logitech, the muscle load in the shoulder and forearm is reduced by 10 percent. With the MX Vertical, the mouse is clamped rather than the hand resting on it. In order not to slip, there is a much more gripping surface around the entire hand resting area than with the MX Master 2S. From the palm rest to the thumb rest, the surface is additionally ribbed from above, which should also be due to the grip.
On the right side there are the usual buttons for right and left click. In the middle is the scroll wheel, which also functions as the middle button, but in comparison to the MX Master 2S does not have the MicroGear functionality. Accordingly, the button below the mouse wheel is also missing. In the thumb area there are two long buttons lying next to each other, which serve as forwards and backwards buttons by default, but can also be freely assigned. On the upper side there is a “logi” lettering and another key that can be easily reached with the thumb and is intended for switching and adjusting the mouse pointer speed, but can also be freely assigned.
On the underside there is a colour-coded on/off switch, just like on the MX Master 2S. Below you can see the 4,000 DPI sensor. However, compared to the MX Master 2S, this is only optical and not a laser, which is why it doesn’t work perfectly on glass tables. Below the sensor, the switch for switching the mouse profile is located on the MX Vertical. The mouse can be connected to three different computers via Bluetooth or the supplied Unifying USB dongle. On the MX Vertical the numbers 1, 2 and 3 are not illuminated. Only an LED below the respective number indicates which profile is currently selected. Since the numbers are printed in black on a dark grey background, they are somewhat difficult to read. On the front of the mouse there is a USB-C port for charging the MX Vertical.
Function overview – how much MX Master 2S is in the MX Vertical?
At least technically the MX Master 2S and the MX Vertical are very similar. The fact that they belong to the same product family is not immediately obvious, but functionally the differences are small. Both mice offer a sampling rate of 4000 DPI, which can be adjusted in steps of 50. The MX Master 2S uses a laser that should work on almost all surfaces, while the MX Vertical is equipped with an optical sensor. Both mice can be connected to the computer either via Bluetooth Low Energy or a supplied 2.4 GHz USB receiver. Three profiles can be created with a switch button on the underside. Each of these profiles works either with the Unifying-USB-Dongle or Bluetooth. So you can easily switch between several devices. On the underside of both mice there is a colour-coded on/off switch.
Apart from the shape, the first differences are noticeable in the buttons. Both mice have the usual left and right buttons and a back and forth button in the thumb area. In the thumb area of the MX Master 2S there is a gesture button that can perform four different actions in combination with the mouse movement. The MX Vertical does not have this button, but there is another button on the top to change the pointer speed. The MX Master 2S also has a small thumbwheel in the thumb area. All additional keys can be assigned their own functions and shortcuts.
Another difference is the way to charge the mice. Both have an unspecified battery, which supplies the mouse with power. While the MX Master 2S uses three small LEDs as a charge level indicator, the MX Vertical has only one coloured LED. Both mice have a USB socket on the front for charging. The MX Vertical already uses a USB-C port here, while the MX Master 2S is equipped with a Micro USB port. Fortunately, both mice can be used during charging without any problems. If the USB cable is plugged into the computer to be controlled, a wireless connection is not even necessary to use the mice.
The biggest difference is the scroll wheel. While the MX Vertical has an ordinary scroll wheel, the MX Master 2S has a MicroGear scroll wheel and another button. With this special scroll wheel you can choose the Infinite Scroll as well as the normal scroll mode. The wheel rotates completely freely. This makes scrolling through larger Excel worksheets or long websites much more comfortable than with a normal scroll wheel.
Working with the MX Master 2S and the MX Vertical
If you look at the first mouse ever developed, you might think that not too much has changed until today. Over the years, the scroll wheel has been added, the shape has adapted more to the hand, the typical rubber ball for control has been replaced by optical sensors and lasers. But the functionality has remained the same. You move the cursor, click and scroll.
With the MX series, Logitech has shown how far and at the same time how useful mice can be further developed. Other logically arranged and intuitively operable buttons and wheels make everyday work much easier. However, the MX Master 2S is clearly superior to the MX Vertical in terms of buttons and functions. With the MX Master 2S, you can operate three buttons and a scroll wheel with your thumb within the shortest distances. The horizontal scroll wheel is a great advantage, especially in large Excel spreadsheets and image processing programs, which the MX Vertical does not have. The forwards and backwards keys are better on the MX Vertical. The two buttons located next to each other are much easier and more intuitive to operate than the two very filigree buttons of the MX Master 2S. On the other hand, the upper button on the MX Vertical is rather difficult to reach. But also the pressure point of the gesture button of the MX Master 2S is not perfectly chosen. This is slightly behind the thumb and would probably have contributed to a simpler operation further ahead.
In my opinion, the most important advantage of the MX Master 2S is the MicroGear scroll wheel on the top. Not only can it scroll normally, but it can also rotate completely freely. If, for example, you have to go to the bottom of a long, extensive website, the MicroGear scroll wheel makes it much easier to do so because the wheel can move freely. You give the wheel one swing with your finger and scroll down or up almost boundlessly. Both modes can also be combined. As soon as the wheel is moved with a little more force, it switches to the infinitely variable Infinte Scroll and switches back again when it is at a standstill. The speed at which the scroll wheel responds can also be adjusted. The function of the MicroGear scroll wheel is so helpful and well thought out that it immediately became my flesh and blood and I miss it with every other mouse. The MX Vertical simply couldn’t be equipped with this option due to the tilt angle.
After some time of getting used to using the MX Master 2S, I also miss the horizontal scrolling with the additional wheel on my thumb and the gesture control through the pressure point on the MX Vertical. In contrast to the MicroGear scroll wheel, these two functions would have been much easier to integrate into the MX Vertical. The button on the top would have been useful for gesture control, for example. The laser sensor is also a real blessing compared to the optical sensor, especially if you work on a glass desk. However, the optical sensor worked without any problems on all other surfaces tested.
The Logitech Options Software
Both mice can also be controlled and very accurately adjusted using Logitech’s own Logitech Options software. The most important function is to set the button assignment. It lets you adjust virtually anything your heart desires. In addition to predefined Windows functions, you can also create your own shortcuts. Logitech Options is a very powerful tool. So you can put for each program own functions on the buttons. These options then overwrite the global values. This is for example very useful in Photoshop. I have assigned completely different functions to the forward and backward buttons, which are usually well usable in the browser, that make working much easier.
Also the parallel use of several mice was no problem for me. The two mice could be set and assigned differently and are also displayed separately in the interface. Beside the key assignments also the direction of the scroll wheels can be changed. With the MX Master 2S, the settings for the MicroGear scroll wheel and the gesture control can also be found. Logitech Options also warns on both mice when the battery is running low.
Another exciting feature is Logitech Flow. If you use multiple computers in parallel, you’ll either have to use a KVM switch or switch back and forth at the bottom of the MX Master 2S or MX Vertical. With Flow, this fumbling becomes unnecessary. To do this, Logitech Options must be installed on both computers and the mouse must be set up on both. In addition, both computers must be on the same network. If this is the case, you can simply push the cursor to the edge of the screen and seamlessly switch to the other computer. This also worked smoothly between the operating systems of our Windows and MacOS systems. With this function you can also copy and paste data back and forth between the two computers. This is especially useful for text and smaller files, but takes time for larger files.
Let’s get to the actual starting point of our test: ergonomics. After all, the MX Vertical has a unique selling point that the MX Master 2S does not have. Due to the vertical construction, the hand posture is much more natural. After the first days of use, I didn’t really notice any relaxation of the mouse hand. The real shock came when I switched from the MX Vertical to the MX Master 2S after three weeks. All of a sudden the hand was clearly aching again after a long period of use. Once you’ve got used to the MX Vertical, operation is a snap. Even with fine works in Photoshop it is extremely accurate, as long as the cursor speed is not set too fast. The two buttons in the thumb area are also easy to use. Only the key on the upper side can only be reached with very unergonomic restrictions.
Although the ergonomics of the MX Master 2S can by far not be compared to the ergonomics of the MX Vertical, it is still not bad. Due to its size and slight tilt, the mouse lies much better in the hand than many other standard mice. The thumb rest is also pleasant. In contrast to the MX Vertical, all keys are much easier to reach, which is a plus point.
Problems with the MX Vertical
Of course, I also encountered some problems during my test. In fact, the shape of the mouse plays a major role. One problem I encountered several times was an unintentional movement during a click. Especially when working with a high cursor speed, it’s very easy to move the mouse during a click. This problem is caused by the shape of the mouse, because you don’t press against the stationary table when clicking, but move the mouse slightly. This means that either the click is not executed or the clicked object, for example an image, is moved slightly. However, this problem only occurred with very fast cursor speeds. After some time you get an approximate feeling for the click and automatically balances it with your thumb, which makes these ghost clicks less frequent.
Another problem that results from the form is actually a pure habituation problem. A normal mouse is much lower compared to the MX Vertical. When switching my right hand from the keyboard to the mouse or vice versa, it sometimes happened to me that I caught the mouse with my hand side. Since it is a habit to perform fast movements, even the comparatively heavy and stable MX Vertical often tips over. In other situations, it slid across the desk. The longer I worked with the mouse, the less often I accidentally hit it.
Conclusion: Ergonomics with slight compromises
After my extensive test a few things showed up immediately. Logitech’s MX Vertical is a very good, ergonomic mouse. You quickly get used to the shape and the handling, the mouse is extremely high-quality and very pleasant to work with in the long run.
Compared to the MX Master 2S, however, there are some functions missing that you simply wouldn’t want to miss after a long period of use. It’s understandable that the MicroGear scroll wheel is somewhat difficult to place in a vertical mouse. Unfortunately, functions such as the horizontal scroll wheel, a laser sensor and gesture control, which would have been much easier to integrate, are also missing.
So if you’re looking for an ergonomic mouse and can do without these features, the Logitech MX Vertical is the perfect choice. For a price of a good 100 Euros, the mouse doesn’t cost very little money, but the value-added device is definitely worth the price. However, if you also want features such as the MicroGear scroll wheel, gesture control and a laser sensor, you should go for the Logitech MX Master 2S. At a good 80 Euros, it is even a bit cheaper than the MX Vertical.