Review: Logitech Cube mouse
I've been using laptop computers for so many years that it seems odd to need any sort of external peripheral, let alone a mouse that replaces the effective and built-in trackpad on my MacBook Pro. Still, great design is great design and when Logitech sent us one of their tiny matchbox-size Cube mice, I was interested in giving it a whirl, and was pleased to find out that it's far more useful than you'd expect at first glance.
Designed for both the Mac and PC, the one great drawback for the wireless Cube mouse is that it requires you to keep a tiny receiver dongle in one of your laptop's USB ports. Without it, the mouse has no way to communicate with the computer since it's not a Bluetooth device (if it were, then getting started with it would be more tricky, but it would then be able to operate completely wirelessly, just as the Apple Magic Trackpad does. Downside? Bluetooth has higher power needs so the battery in the Logitech Cube would doubtless need replacing more frequently).
What's really surprising is that the Cube is a great bit of engineering and the package includes a little cloth carrying bag for the mouse (see pic, below), but there's no space allocated for the receiver dongle and since without it you can't get the mouse to work, it appears that Logitech's just assumed you'd leave it perpetually plugged into your laptop. Seems odd, and since I imagine a lot of users would sometimes use the built-in trackpad on their laptop and other times want to use the Cube, it seems more like an oversight on their part.
Okay, so it's a small portable mouse. That's not what makes it interesting to me, however. What's really slick about the Logitech Cube is that it also doubles as a simple presentation tool: pick up the mouse and you can use it as a hand-held remote to advance your PowerPoint slides or anything else you could do with a mouse, just one that's easily kept in your hand as you walk around in front of a class or workshop room.
Logitech Cube: Size relative to a Quarter.
In fact, it's so smart that if you pick up the Cube and click the top portion, you'll move forward on the presentation, while flipping it over and clicking generates the equivalent sequence to a back arrow, which will back up your slides one at a time. All in a unit that's just amazingly tiny.
There's a simplicity of design that's very appealing with the Cube. Even at what seems like a somewhat expensive price point -- $78.99 on Amazon.com -- if you occasionally need an external mouse while on the road and also seek a presentation tool, it can fit the bill quite neatly. The biggest limitation I found with the device was the inability to store the USB dongle in the travel case: with something so tiny, I just know it'd otherwise get lost in my computer bag.
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