Friday, November 11, 2011

Logitech "Couch Mouse" M515 Wireless Mouse

Rating: 5 out of 5
Pros: Long range, long battery life, perfect signal, this thing is spectacular
Cons: None


I've had terrible luck with wireless mice in the past. Not that they're all terrible, some are comfortable and work well - but they always eat batteries so fast as to render them unusable to me. I'll pick up a mouse that claims to have a 6 month battery life, and two weeks later I'll already have to replace the batteries. This gets to be expensive, because you have to use good quality batteries - if you use cheap batteries it'll only end up lasting one week. Not only that, but of course the batteries always seem to die at the most inopportune moment possible.

I've long said that if I ever picked up another wireless mouse in the future, it would be one with a recharging cradle so that I didn't have to worry about replacing the batteries. However, I saw this Logitech Couch Mouse M515 Wireless Mouse while I was browsing the electronics department at Wal-Mart, and it looked pretty great. I'm a big fan of Logitech products, having had great luck with them in the past. The Couch Mouse claims be designed for better browsing on your couch, bed or carpet with it's easy gliding base. I figured this would be handy to not only use with my desktop to eliminate the mouse cord, but it would also be easy to bring along with the laptop if it would really work on different types of surfaces. The sticking point, however, was that it claims to have a 2 year battery life! I'm going on 4 months now and haven't had to replace the batteries yet, and I picked this up for only $30 - so even if the batteries were to die tomorrow I'd be completely satisfied.

I've been using the Logitech M100 Mouse for quite a while prior to this purchase. I love the mouse, but having a cord constantly getting hung up around my speaker is annoying. As much as I like the M100, I've recently replaced it with this M515 Couch Mouse on my main computer that I use most often. I also picked up a Logitech K120 Keyboard to use in conjunction with this mouse.


The Logitech Couch Mouse M515 Wireless Mouse is a three button mouse, but instead of using the mouse wheel as the middle button it features a small raised square button set just behind the mouse wheel instead. This is necessary because of yet another feature I like about this mouse - the switchable scroll wheel. With one press of the wheel, the Logitech Hyper-Fast Scrolling kicks in and your mouse wheel freely spins to smoothly scroll through the longest web pages in a single spin. Press it again and you revert to a regular click-to-click scrolling mode. I always liked the click-to-click mode, but after using the smooth scrolling for a while I find it hard to go back to doing it the other way. You can scroll as fast or as slow as you want, and it's just so smooth and fluid.

The Couch Mouse is slightly smaller than a full-sized desktop mouse, but not much. It has a symmetrical design allowing it to be used either left or right-handed. It measures 4 inches long, 2.25 inches wide and 1.5 inches tall. It's just slightly heavier than my Logitech M100 Mouse without the batteries inserted, but it's still not a heavy mouse. The buttons operate smoothly and give a firm, audible click for feedback when pressed. The sides and bottom of the mouse are black and it's grey on top. It also features a sealed bottom so that fuzz doesn't collect around the optical sensor when you use the mouse on some of the strange surfaces it supposedly works on. The mouse also has soft rubber sides that make it comfortable to hold onto.

On top of that, the mouse wheel allows for easy navigation of websites. Pushing the wheel to the left while in your web browser is the same as pressing the back button, while pushing it to the right works just like pressing the forward button. This is exceptionally handy when I'm sitting 20 feet away in the living room on the couch and browsing the web from my computer in the other room via an HDMI cable hooked up to the television. Yes, I said 20 feet - and using a couch cushion for a mouse pad to boot. This 2.4GHz wireless mouse works brilliantly for browsing Epinions from the comfort of my living room, as well as navigating Hulu or Netflix. There's no lag or stuttering, no signal loss, and it would probably work from even further away - but I'm not going to go outside and sit in my truck to test it.

The easy gliding base claims to make mousing around on couches, blankets, cushions, clothing, carpets and desks easy - so how is it? Great. I've tried it on the carpet, the arm as well as the seat of a cloth couch, a leather chair, my shirt, some curtains, a pad of paper, a cardboard box. Flawless movement all around. The only place I've found that it does not work, is on the textured plastic of this 6 foot fold up table I use for a desk - it hardly moves at all there. I just made sure to keep my existing mouse pad for use here on the desk and it's great.

The Logitech Couch Mouse M515 Wireless Mouse's resolution is not explicitly stated on the package or in any of the documentation, nor could I find the information on Logitech's website. However, It tracks smoothly and accurately and seems to be somewhere around the 1000 DPI mark.

Changing batteries is easy, the back of the bottom of the mouse slides off exposing a cavity where you can place 2 AA batteries. The batteries go on on each side of the mouse, which helps keep it balanced. In between the batteries, there is a small place to store the USB unifying nano receiver while transporting the mouse. This is convenient when you want to throw the mouse into a bag with your laptop and not have to worry about losing the small receiver. There's a recessed on/off button on the bottom of the mouse as well so that you can shut the mouse off to conserve battery life.

Not that the on/off button is necessary all the time. One of the reasons the Logitech M515 Wireless Mouse has such terrific battery life is the fact that it only turns on when you're actually gripping the mouse. It stays asleep when you're not holding it, greatly prolonging the battery. When you're ready to use it again, it instantly kicks back on with no noticeable lag time - which means you don't have to wait endlessly for it to come out of sleep mode. I really love this feature, as it gives me the best of both features - an always-on mouse, and good battery life. There's a battery indicator light just behind the middle mouse button that will turn red when there are only a couple of weeks of battery life left.

The USB unifying nano receiver is great as well. It's tiny, only protruding 1/4" or so from the USB port. It's amazing that the signal and range are so good on something packed into such a little space. Another nifty feature of the unifying receiver is the fact that it will work with up to 6 compatible wireless devices. For example, adding a Logitech wireless keyboard. This is especially great for laptops and computers with a limited number of USB ports, as it allows you to use multiple devices with one receiver. Using the unifying feature will require downloading the unifying software from Logitech's website, as this mouse does not come with a software disc. Unfortunately I don't have another Logitech wireless product to test the feature.

System Requirements

Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
Mac OS X 10.5 or later
USB port

It also works perfectly fine in Linux, though the packaging and documentation makes no mention of it. The tilt left and right feature is not supported on Mac computers, but seems to work just fine in Linux Mint 11. There are no drivers or software included with the mouse, and none are required for normal operation.

Overall the Logitech Couch Mouse M515 Wireless Mouse is a terrific mouse. It has changed my views on wireless mice in general by working as advertised, being durable and reliable, having no latency or dropped connections, and most importantly by having a battery life that doesn't require weekly replacement batteries.

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