Wireless mice can be great. In day-to-day use, they don't get tangled on anything, their batteries don't need to be swapped out all that often, and most people are unlikely to notice a difference between them and their wired counterparts. All those benefits go out the window, however, when you're gaming. Having a mouse "die" in the middle of a game spells disaster, and even a slight amount of lag can mean the difference between a good time and a bad one. Logitech wants to solve both of those problems with its new Powerplay wireless charging technology and Lightspeed connection tech.
There's a third problem Logitech is trying to solve here--but more on that in a bit.
Powerplay And Lightspeed: A Match Made In Heaven?
Wireless charging isn't novel. Many companies are working on products that can recharge their batteries without being plugged into something. Yet many of them have to be placed on a small area to recharge; moving them around disrupts the process. That makes wireless charging good for recharging mice while they aren't being used--which is what Corsair showed us at Computex, actually--but Logitech wanted to make sure you never have to think about charging your mouse. That's where Powerplay comes in. Logitech said it can send power "even through high-speed flick shots or lifting and repositioning."
Logitech said in its announcement that it's been working on Powerplay for the last four years. Now it's ready, and its first incarnation is called the Powerplay Wireless Charging System. It's basically a 10.9 x 12.6 x 1.7" (HxWxD) mouse pad with the charging system built in. The company said Powerplay works by creating "an electromagnetic energy field over a large surface area" that is "captured and transformed into charging current" by the mouse's Powercore module. You can also choose between a hard or soft pad and, naturally, you can control the logo's RGB lighting.
We asked Logitech what wireless charging technology underpinned Powerplay, and it told us only that it uses electromagnetic resonance technology that is proprietary. It sounds like Logitech is planning to keep this tech all for itself for now; it's not planning to license it at this time.
Powerplay could help reduce many of the concerns about wireless gaming mice. It doesn't matter how long a mouse's battery lasts--because the universe loves to play cruel jokes, they're almost guaranteed to run out of power at the worst times--but that's just one obstacle that wireless gaming mice have to overcome. Performance is also a factor, and despite the convenience afforded by wireless mice, the idea of giving up the responsiveness of their wired counterparts might dissuade many gamers.
That's why the Powerplay Wireless Charging System also supports Logitech's Lightspeed technology. The company said Lightspeed offers "competition-level responsiveness" thanks to a "signal strength up to 16 times higher than the competition." Logitech's goal is to make it so you can buy the Powerplay Wireless Charging System, purchase a compatible mouse, and then never have to worry about plugging your mouse into your PC again.
Logitech wasn't effusive about how Lightspeed actually works. We do know that part of the magic is that the wireless receiver is in the little black box above the mousepad, so the mouse doesn't have far to transmit. (The box is connected to the PC via a USB cable.) But Logitech claimed that the wireless signal is so much better than the competition without explaining how. Company representatives did tell Tom's Hardware that Logitech's wireless connectivity uses a "higher decibel" (stronger signal) than the competition and changes frequencies less often; when it does switch to a different one, we were told, it chooses frequencies that aren't congested.
The Powerplay Wireless Charging System costs $100 and is now available for pre-order; it's expected to start shipping in August.
Meet The New G903 And G703
Of course, that's also going to require you to use a compatible mouse. That's where the new Logitech G903 and G703 come into play. They're updated versions of the G900 and G700, respectively, and they're compatible with Powerplay and Lightspeed. But support for its new wireless charging and connection products isn't the only thing Logitech changed about the mice.
Surprisingly, Logitech seems to have solved the other problem common to wireless mice: extra weight due to the battery. The G903 weighs in at just 110g, and the G703 is a hair lighter at 107g. You'll find gaming mice that weigh less (by 10-20g), but good luck finding a wireless one quite as light as these two. Logitech said that's because with the G903 in particular "each element of the construction was analyzed and adjusted to remove milligrams wherever possible, from thin wall molding to a hollow 'spoked' hyperscroll wheel design.”
But you're going to have to add a tiny bit more weight to these mice if you want to take advantage of Powerplay charging. Power is transferred between the Powerplay Wireless Charging System and a Powercore module that has to be inserted into your mouse. Neither the G903 nor the G703 have a Powercore built-in; you're going to have to install the Powercore module that comes with the Powerplay Wireless Charging System. Logitech told us that doing so adds 3g of weight.
Both the G903 and G703 feature a PMW3366 optical sensor and boast "zero smoothing, filtering or acceleration across the entire DPI range (200-12,000 DPI)" along with a 1ms report rate. They can also be used wired or wirelessly, and they're both compatible with Logitech Gaming Software, which means you can customize their RGB lighting as well as their programmable buttons and DPI. Each also has a 10g removable weight.
The G903 (opens in new tab) is positioned as the higher-end model. It features an ambidextrous design with 11 fully customizable buttons that you can swap out and move around to suit whatever hand or grip style you prefer. Logitech said the G903 also features "precisely-tensioned metal springs and exclusive mechanical pivot hinges" to "keep the primary left and right mouse buttons poised to trigger." The company also said that it improved the design with up to 2.5x the durability with switches rated for 50 million clicks. (Logitech didn't say what kind of switches it's using, but the G900 Chaos Spectrum used Omron switches.)
The G703 (opens in new tab) has six programmable buttons, but they can't be swapped around as they can on the G903. You do get to choose between a black or white model, though, so the G703 has that going for it. It's also cheaper--the G903 costs $150, whereas the G703 costs $100.
Both are available for pre-order now and should debut in late June.
|Product||Logitech G903||Logitech G703|
|Speed||>400 IPS||>400 IPS|
|Ambidextrous||Yes||No (right-handed only)|
|Polling Rate||USB: 1,000HzWireless: 1,000Hz||USB: 1,000HzWireless: 1,000Hz|
|Software||Logitech Gaming Software||Logitech Gaming Software|
|Cable||USB, 1.8m||USB, 1.8m|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||130.3 x 66.5 x 40.4mm||124 x 68 x 43mm|
|Weight||110g (without cable or Powercore module, 113g with module)10g removable weight||107g (without cable or Powercore module, 110g with module)10g removable weight|