Logitech G603 Review: A Functional, If Curious, Mouse
Logitech has a shining reputation for good -- if not amazing -- gaming mice. With their LightSpeed technology, they introduced a line of wireless mice that are elegant and highly responsive. The G603 is the third in that line and sports adept and reliable mechanisms underneath a sleek design. It also boasts one of the very best sensors on the market in its High Efficiency Rated Optical movement detector. Couple that with insane battery life, and the G603 is a viable option for many gamers.
But it's also a curious mouse. Launching alongside the Logitech G703 earlier this year, it provides functionalities not found in that mouse but doesn't take advantage of the 703's PowerPlay wireless charging abilities. Sure, the G603 is a fantastic mouse that tackles myriad situations with sangfroid, but it's also a mouse I sometimes think could have been absorbed by the G703 -- especially given the quality and ubiquity of the 703.
High-End Functionality on a Budget
Coming in at $69.99, the G603 puts itself in the higher echelon of mid-tier mice -- the wired G403 Prodigy is nearly $20 cheaper and offers a lot of the same core functionalities. But at that price, the 603 also brings quite a bit to the table, not the least of which are its battery life, wireless accuracy, and Bluetooth capabilities.
Instead of a lithium-ion battery, the G603 uses two AA batteries for juice. Boasting advanced battery life by providing two performance modes via its HERO sensor, Logitech's newest mouse can stay powered for twice as long as a plethora of other mice. According to Logitech's press materials, you can get up to 500 hours of gaming out of the G603 when using it in HI mode, which delivers better in-game Lightspeed reporting of 1ms. Alternatively, you can set the mouse to LO mode, which greatly slows response times to 8ms but affords you up to 18 months of battery life on a single set of AAs.
Of course, I didn't put in near enough time with the mouse to drain the batteries, but it didn't lose charge in my 50-some-odd hours with it. To put things in perspective, I had to charge the G703 twice in that same time when not using the PowerPlay charging mat, so that's something to consider.
On the accuracy front, Logitech developed a brand new sensor for the 603. Dubbed HERO, the optical sensor is supposed to provide enhanced power efficiency while still pushing exceptional accuracy and performance. Whether at low or high DPIs, HERO doesn't use pixel rounding or smoothing to deliver information between the mouse and the computer -- keeping you ahead of the game.
Thing is, I didn't really notice a monumental difference between HERO and the G703's PMW3366 when it came to sniping skulls in Battlefield 1 or controlling the point in Paladins. Both mice are entirely capable of delivering kill shots in BF2 and effectively moving units in Total War at both low and high DPIs. Consequently, the main draw of HERO appears to be its power efficiency when doing all of that. In a nutshell, it's power conscious and responsive, but not revolutionary.
An interesting addition not often found in other gaming mice, the G603's Bluetooth functionality allows the mouse to be used across multiple devices at a single time. If you don't want to go the LightSpeed dongle route, you can connect the 603 to your computer via Bluetooth, as well as one other device. As of this writing, the functionality supports iOS and Android tablets, laptops, and computers.
Giving it a whirl with a MacBook, I found the functionality competent, if a bit difficult to pair at times. And although Bluetooth makes the 603 a bit more productive for day-to-day office situations -- and keeps you from having to move the dongle from device to device or rely on per device inputs -- in a gaming capacity, I didn't find much use for the functionality outside of very niche use cases.
The G603's Design Is Nothing to Write Home About
There's not much to say about how the G603 looks on the outside. In a nutshell, it's the G703 and/or G403 Prodigy with a slightly different color scheme and rougher, grainier finish. You'll find the same six programmable buttons here that you will on the 703 and 403: LMB, RMB, two lateral buttons on the left side, a mouse wheel button, and a nice, easily reachable DPI button beneath the wheel. On the bottom of the mouse, you'll find two feet at the front and back, the power/LO/HI mode switch, and a button for Bluetooth pairing.
The mouse body is designed just like the 703 and 403, too. Made for right-handed players, it favors palm- or claw-grip styles and fits ergonomically in your palm, although some players with larger hands may find its apex sits a bit awkwardly in the crook of their hand.
The main panel of the mouse body is detachable. This is where you'll find the batteries and a nicely designed notch in which to house the LightSpeed dongle when not in use. That latter attention to detail is something I truly enjoy about the mouse. Losing dongles is just the worst. All in all, the G603's design is unassuming. That fits with the ethos that this is a gaming mouse that won't stand out on your office desk.
On top of everything mentioned above, the G603 doesn't provide any RGB lighting functionalities. None whatsoever. So although you can take it to work and back without your colleagues wondering why you have a gaming mouse in the office, you won't be able to get those cool lighting effects at home, which kind of makes the G603 a bit boring against all of your other RGB gear. That's not to mention that you could just, you know, turn the 703's RGB lighting off when at the office.
At the end of the day, I'm torn about the G603. On one hand, I see where it fits into the Logitech line of products and how it provides great functionality on a mid-tier budget. What it sacrifices when compared to the 703 gets it into that $70 price range. Its Bluetooth functionality is a bit sluggish in-game, but for office work, it's nice to be able to switch between devices with a single input device. And even if its battery life doesn't entirely stand out against other office-centric mice, it's sustainable while providing great accuracy via HERO.
But on the other hand, some of its functionalities really could have been incorporated into the G703. Not taking advantage of Logitech's new PowerPlay wireless charging capabilities is a bit head-scratching. And with all the R&D spent on a new sensor that makes the 603's battery life last longer -- and has no terribly discernible effects on accuracy when compared to the 703's PMW3366 -- it seems that the 603's other primary functionality, Bluetooth, could have made it into the 703's design.
But as it stands, the G603 is a functional, reliable, and efficient mouse that offers some neat tricks and awesome accuracy for those not willing (or able) to afford the higher-priced 703 and its $100 PowerPlay charging pad sidekick. If you fall into that boat or want something that functions as both a gaming peripheral and an unassuming office point and clicker, it's definitely a mouse you'll want to check out.
However, if it were me, I'd opt to spend the extra $30 for wireless charging capabilities, an infinitely refillable battery, wired and wireless capabilities, full RGB lighting options, and near-identical performance. What's more, the switches on the G703 are rated for 50 million clicks, while the switches on the G603 are only rated at 20 million clicks. It's not a one-to-one ratio, of course, but even if you don't count all the extra functionality you get in the G703, you're still paying $30 more for 30 million more clicks -- and a mouse that will last you 2.5 times as long.
The 603 is a fine choice for many gamers, but if you can afford to splurge on a truly sensational option, I'd go with the 703 instead.
You can buy the G603 on Amazon.
[Note: Logitech provided the G603 used for this review.]