Every couple of weeks I find myself recommending the MX Master to somebody. This is why.
I have some trouble with my eyes and end up using MacBook's pinch-to-zoom on my browser frequently. Pinch-to-zoom is super-important to me — it's an accessibility tool. In mid-2019 I decided I was going to switch to using an external monitor when I needed to use a computer for extended periods of time. Monitor stands are annoying and wouldn't leave a lot of space on my office desk to use a laptop comfortably. I could use the keyboard, but using the trackpad felt awkward. I decided to get a mouse.
A friend of mine had spent 3,000 INR (slightly less than 50 USD) on a Logitech mouse and he seemed quite happy with his purchase. The mouse seemed fine, nothing extraordinary. I wouldn't spend that kind of money on a mouse, though. I'd spend maybe 1/4th of that amount at most. When I started to look for an external mouse, the only condition that it had to satisfy was the ability to use pinch-to-zoom on browsers. I was willing to spend money too if the mouse had pinch-to-zoom. I narrowed down my options to the Apple Magic Trackpad 2 and the Logitech MX Master 2S. Trackpad 2 would work fine, because it would support the same gestures as my MacBook trackpad did — so it would obviously fulfill my pinch-to-zoom needs. MX Master. on the other hand, I wasn't so sure about.
But using an external trackpad as a primary pointing device would be awkward. It would be uncomfortable having your palm placed on the trackpad during the time you didn't need to move the cursor. And then switching hand positions back-and-forth would be even less ergonomic. So I decided to search further about what the MX Master was capable of.
The MX Master 2S' design seemed nice too. Better than a tiny mouse which feels awkward to hold. Logitech has this utility software called Logitech Options which lets you customize your mouse with a ton of options. The MX Master 2S has a ton of buttons and input options too:
- Left click
- Right click
- Vertical scroll-wheel (also clickable)
- Horizontal scroll-wheel
- Two buttons near the horizontal scroll-wheel
- A button below the vertical scroll-wheel
- A button underneath where you'd keep your thumb
So, 7 buttons and 2 scroll-wheels. I found a YouTube video where someone was able to set a specific combination from Logitech Options to trigger pinch-to-zoom on a Mac. I wasn't sure if that was properly supported and worked as seamlessly as on the MacBook trackpad, so I asked on Twitter. People responded saying that it did.
I still wasn't sure if I wanted to spend 6,000 INR (slightly less than 100 USD) on a mouse. But I bit the bullet and decided to order one. The MX Master 2S has been my best purchase of 2019, hands-down.
I was able to get pinch-to-zoom work pretty well. My MX Master 2S settings within Logitech Options let me do everything I could on the MacBook trackpad and then some. I even have some combinations vacant because I couldn't think of anything worth adding.
You know how when you scroll on a mouse, it feels ratchety and the scrolling is super-slow? There's only one speed that you can configure with most mice and it feels either slow or fast based on what you're trying to do. On the MacBook trackpad, I can do a two-finger vertical swipe and depending on the velocity (and a bunch of other things only Apple knows about), it scrolls either super-fast or very precise. This is crucial for scrolling through files in my code-editor and pull-requests in the browser.
The vertical scroll-wheel on the MX Master 2S has three modes: Ratchet, Free spin, and SmartShift. Ratchet is the slow, traditional-type of scrolling. Free spin is where you feel as little friction as possible. It's similar to a fast two-finger swipe on a MacBook trackpad. SmartShift shifts between Ratchet and Free spin based on the velocity of the scroll. Incredible. I end up using only Free spin because I've become used to it. You can even map a button to switch from Ratchet to Free spin and vice-versa whenever you need, if that's something you'd be interested in.
The settings for my MX Master 2S inside Logitech Options look like this:
- SmartShift: disabled
- Fixed scroll wheel mode: Free spin
- Left-click: left-click
- Right-click: right-click
- Button under the thumb: Press and then zoom using scroll wheel (pinch-to-zoom!!!)
- Two buttons near the horizontal scroll-wheel: switch desktops left/right
- Clicking the vertical scroll wheel: Smart zoom (a one-off pinch-to-zoom like gesture)
- Button below vertical scroll wheel: Gesture Button
You can do all sorts of things using the Gesture Button. You can press the Gesture Button and have it do one thing. You can keep holding it and move your mouse left/right/up/down to trigger four more commands! My Gesture Button config is:
- Click: Mission Control
- Up: Show Desktop
- Left: Screen capture
- Right: Cmd+V (keystroke assignment)
- Down: Unassigned
I can hold a button on my mouse and swipe left to start taking a screenshot, press a button near my thumb to switch to my desktop containing Slack, and then hold a button and swipe right to paste the screenshot. Feels nice.
There's also something called Logitech Flow which lets you move your cursor across computers and also copy-paste files between them. And then the mouse itself can be paired with up to three devices. I use the mouse for my MacBook and my tablet and switching between them is as easy as pressing a button on the bottom of the mouse. Did I mention all of this is possible over Bluetooth too so you don't need to be carrying a USB-dongle around?
I've already convinced four people to get the MX Master 2S in the last year. If someone from Logitech is reading this, please start a referral program.