Mouse disappointments with Mac

— 4 minute read

For years I've been using MacBook without any external peripherals. My hands started to get tired. I decided to try to use a mouse.

I tried Apple Magic Mouse a few times. It was a disaster. It was so uncomfortable. I've been using different mice for a long time with my gaming PC, so I know how a mouse could be sitting comfortably in my hand.

Logitech MX Master 3 permalink

Then I decided to try Logitech MX Master 3. I saw so many reviews and YouTube videos from Mac user praising MX Master series mice. It's probably the number one third-party mouse to use with Mac. I was very excited to try it. It sits comfortably in the hand. It has many buttons to help replicate trackpad functionality, like a four-finger swipe to switch virtual desktops. There was a major problem — the scroll wheel.

The scroll wheel on MX Master mice is different than on other mice. It has three modes:

  • regular mode (ratchet). When you turn the scroll wheel it has positive stops every degree of turn. It's in every mouse.
  • free spin. There are no ratchets and the scroll wheel is spinning as long as material friction allows.
  • hybrid. Scroll wheel works in ratchet mode if you scroll normally, but if you turn scroll wheel very fast it will be in free spin mode. Then when scroll wheel stops it turns back to ratchet.

The idea behind this is genius! It makes a momentum scrolling, which Mac users have with trackpad and macOS. I have to scroll a lot, so scrolling is a very essential functionality.

The huge disappointment was waiting for me. This mouse has massive problems with scrolling. It doesn't scroll consistently. Some times it doesn't scroll, sometimes it scrolls too much or too little with the same scroll wheel movement. It's buggy, it's unreliably. Every scroll wheel mode has this problem on this model. I googled and it seems a common issue no YouTube reviewers talk about.

You can see the problem in this video, or these videos, or read about it on Reddit.

Logitech MX Master 2S permalink

I decided to not give up, returned this model, and ordered Logitech MX Master 2S. It's a previous model, and people, who reported scroll issues with MX Master 3, said there were no problems in the previous model.

MX Master 3 has a nicer design than MX Master 2S. However, MX Master 2S indeed doesn't have scrolling issues, which MX Master 3 has. I was using MX Master 2S for a few days. There is still something in mice scrolling behavior on macOS that makes them look awful in comparison to trackpad scrolling. I did try to use different scrolling modes on MX Master 2S. With free spin mode, you get the closest to momentum scroll and smooth scrolling with a trackpad. But it less precise on small distance scrolls. When you lift a finger from the scroll wheel you might turn it a little bit (in free spin mode), which will scroll the screen. I also tried smooth scroll settings in Logitech software. It felt like scrolling has low FPS than a trackpad.

There was another issue with MX Master 2S, which was driving me crazy. The scroll wheel hardware is so loud! In ratchet mode, it clicks loud. In free spin mode, it's not loud. When you put a finger on a wheel it hits other mechanisms inside the mouse, and it also loud. In hybrid mode when free spin ends and mouse switching back to ratchet mode, mechanisms inside make a loud noise. In comparison to other mice (I always had Logitech mice), scroll wheel hardware is very loud.

Trackpad permalink

After these failing attempts to use a mouse with Mac, I got back to using a trackpad. With it's fast and precise scrolling and awesome performance. This time, however, I'm using external Apple Magic Trackpad 2.

Eight years I've been using Mac trackpad was the only viable option for me.