Playing CAD and Mouse

30 Nov, 2013 By: Heather Livingston,Robert Green

Cadalyst Labs Report: Cadalyst Labs navigates the maze of input device options for users of 2D and 3D computer-aided design.

Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse
Programmable corded laser gaming mouse
Overall Grade: C-

Pros: None significant for CAD use.

Cons: Very uncomfortable; not designed for large hands; optimized for gaming, not CAD.

Price: $79.99 retail ($59.99)

Logitech | 800.231.7717 |

Programmable gaming mice are often mentioned as favorites by CAD users, so we were excited to put one to the test in Cadalyst Labs. When I unpacked the Logitech G600, excitement turned to giddiness as I looked at all the buttons I could program. I wanted so badly to like this mouse, as it reminded me of the good old days when I could program my tablet puck's 16 buttons to do my CAD bidding. The G600 includes three primary buttons, 12 thumb buttons, a clickable scroll wheel that tilts, and a G-Shift button to double the number of customizable functions. Using a 6.5-foot cable and a wired USB connection, the G600 installed without a hitch, and the buttons on the left side of the unit lit up with perfect visibility.

Upon trying to use this mouse, however, my joy began to fade. First, the medium-sized plastic housing — 3" x 4.5" x 1.5" and noticeably devoid of any ergonomic shape — looks and feels like an inexpensive, no-frills mouse. And given that the programmable buttons are on the left side of the housing (for a right-hander's thumb), the ambidextrous shape doesn't make much sense. Further, given the narrowness of the housing, I found it uncomfortable — almost impossible — to position my thumb on the programmable buttons. And even if I could find a comfortable way to handle the mouse, those buttons were way too close together for my (admittedly large) thumb to operate.

Users can customize the functions of buttons on the Logitech G600.
Users can customize the functions of buttons on the Logitech G600.

The G600 uses a software utility to map program controls (for known video games, not CAD tools) into the various programmable buttons, but it only has basic right and left buttons and scroll/pan functionality on the top of the mouse. So unless you can operate the side-mounted button array (which I really couldn't) and have the patience to manually assign CAD functions to your buttons (which is doable, with some trial and error), the G600 performs like a basic mouse.

The G600 comes with a three-year limited hardware warranty. Logitech does not publish a return policy; a representative told Cadalyst that returns are handled case by case.

The Comfort Mouse 4500 is covered by a three-year limited warranty. Microsoft honors returns for 30 days from the date of purchase provided the item has not been opened or altered from its original state and does not show wear or damage.

If your goal is to program an otherwise conventional mouse to lob hand grenades in your favorite video game, the G600 would probably be a good choice — if you don't have large hands. For CAD work, invest in something else.

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