Logitech has a new mouse that, like the Microsoft Touch Mouse and the Apple Magic Mouse before it (but unlike Logitech's other touch mouse), has a single clickable button that is wrapped in a touch-sensitive layer. It's called the Touch Mouse M600, and it's going to be available later this month for $69.99. The Windows 7-only mouse connects to your computer wirelessly with Logitech's tiny Unifying USB dongle that can handle up to six devices, and it's powered by two (included) AA batteries, though only one is necessary to power it on. We had the opportunity to spend some time with the new mouse before its announcement, so read on for some hands-on impressions.
The Touch Mouse M600 isn't the prettiest mouse around — it's completely made out of plastic, and an odd looking gray band around the bottom of the peripheral makes it a bit too reminiscent of a roach. The top shell of the mouse has a sci-fi pattern on it that looks like it's responsible for the touch sensitivity, but it's really just a garnish. Speaking of touch sensitivity, about the entire front two-thirds of the mouse will read your touch, and it does a fairly good job at picking up inputs — we didn't have to press overly hard to scroll down a page, though we found the touch surface itself just a bit too sticky (we would have preferred the matte finish of Microsoft's Touch Mouse). Since the entire face of the M600 is one button, left and right clicks are determined by which side of the mouse you click from. Unfortunately, there aren't many gestures to take advantage of the touch interface: you can scroll up and down a page with a vertical swipe of one or two fingers and you can go forward or backward in a browser with a horizontal swipe. There are no customization options, so there's no way to horizontally scroll — a major oversight.
The M600 will work without any software installed (drivers will automatically download when you plug the mouse into your PC), but if you want to switch between left and right handed use you'll have to download Logitech's SetPoint software. The company also offers a smooth scrolling application that's supposed to give you a smartphone-like experience when using a web browser, though we found that scrolling was too jerky with or without the application installed (see update below).
The mouse is not made for Mac, and while gestures did work when we attempted to use it, you can't customize them at all because Logitech's OS X software couldn't pick up the mouse. Whether or not you use a Mac, we strongly feel that a traditional, non-touch option is a better choice: Logitech's own Performance MX, which costs $10 more, is extremely ergonomic, and has many more customization options to speed up your computer use. If you're dead set on getting a touch mouse, we'd have to recommend Microsoft's Touch Mouse over Logitech's offering.
Update: Since writing this post we've tried the mouse on another Windows 7 PC and the scrolling performance was far improved from our first go with the mouse. It's still not super smooth (nothing like scrolling on a Mac), and our biggest gripe with scrolling on the mouse is that it's difficult to quickly scroll up and down a page.