Review: Logitech G400
January 21, 2013 at 21:46

This review is about the Logitech G400. However, I’ll start talking about a different mouse. Back in mid-2011, I reviewed the Razer Deathadder. This was my main mouse for around 18 months, until it started suffering from the dreaded double click of doom – the left mouse button started treating most clicks as a double click. The mouse was deemed irreparable by Razer and my money was returned. Being in the market for a new mouse, I decided to go for something new.

After some time browsing on-line reviews, forum posts, blog posts and other miscellaneous tidbits of information, I decided to go for what Logitech calls “the new MX518”: the G400. Its predecessor is one of the most trusted gaming mice in the market, being sturdy and efficient. The G400 is supposed to retain those characteristics and improve on them. I’ve ordered it on Amazon for €30. This makes it considerably cheaper than the Deathadder, which can be good news for gamers on a budget… if the G400 lives up to its expectations.

Pros Cons
Comfortable overall shape, size and weight Poorly shaped thumb buttons
Accurate sensor DPI switching buttons could be better placed
Dedicated DPI switching buttons Lacks visual indication of current DPI setting
Value for money Scroll wheel is small and seems a bit flimsy
In short:
Logitech decided not to mess with what works when creating the G400. They took the MX518, tweaked it a bit and came up wth a mouse that’s comfortable to use, has an accurate sensor and a fair amount of responsive buttons. There are a few improvements that could be made, but they aren’t deal breakers. The G400 provides awesome value for money, being a great choice for both gaming and desktop use – especially if you’re on a budget.

I’ve received the mouse in early September and I’ve been using it as my main mouse until now, making this a thorough review based on nearly 5 months of heavy use. Being a gamer, a fair amount of this use was on games, from all types: Battlefield 3, Starcraft 2, Counter-Strike, Skyrim, Football Manager, Left 4 Dead 2 and many, many, many more. However, the mouse has also seen its share of boring Windows desktop action and it will be evaluated on that as well. Like the Deathadder, I’ve partnered it with Steelseries excellent Qck Mass. And yes, I will be comparing it to the Deathadder quite a bit in this review, as that was my previous mouse. It will also answer an important question: was this an upgrade or am I just settling for a cheaper mouse?

The G400 is bundled inside a regular cardboard box. Other than the print mentioning this is “the new MX518”, nothing really gets your attention. There’s nothing extra inside, just the mouse and a small manual. There’s no driver disc, so you’ll have to download them from Logitech’s website. I don’t see it as being a problem, however, since most people who choose to install the drivers would probably connect to Logitech’s website anyway to make sure they had the latest driver version. What I do feel is an important absence in a gaming mouse, and it also happens with the Deathadder, is the lack of extra mouse skates. The G400 does have the excuse of being cheaper, though.

After taking it out of the box, the first thing noticeable about the G400 is its look. Logitech seems to be a fan of “don’t mess with what works”, since its shape is virtually identical to the MX518’s, with the only relevant differences being a less flashy gray/black look, a different cover material and a lighter cord. The button placement is the same, with two thumb buttons, two DPI change buttons near the scroll wheel and a third button below these. There’s an indentation below the thumb buttons which is well suited to fit your thumb and an inside curve on the right side which helps your ring and pinky fingers push against the mouse’s body for extra grip. The curve on the top of the mouse and its slightly accented right slope is also designed to fit your palm, which helps making it a rather comfortable mouse. The G400 fits my claw grip nicely, being better than the Deathadder in this regard, and it’s also a great fit for a palm grip. On a side note, if you’re a lefty, make sure you go for the left handed version of this mouse, since it’s not ambidextrous.

When it comes to weight, the G400 seems well balanced. It’s heavier than a standard mouse, but lighter than the Deathadder. I didn’t feel any adjustment issues, as I had with Razer’s mouse, but this may be because I got used to a heavier mouse. G400’s weight was never an issue and the mouse glides perfectly on the Qck Mass – which is certainly helped by the massive skates it has on the top and bottom, along with a minor one on the left side. I was a bit worried that I might feel the lack of the skate on the right side, but it’s not noticeable.

Onto the buttons we go. The left and right buttons are responsive. They are heavier than those in the Deathadder, which is a bit more to my liking, as it eliminated involuntary clicks. However, if you’re more into lighter buttons, it might take some time to adjust. In my case, however, they feel just perfect.

The scroll wheel does its job, but it isn’t exactly amazing. It feels a bit flimsy and it’s somewhat on the small size, which I don’t feel is positive for games. It also lacks indentation, something that helps with scroll control, especially when you’re using it to change weapons in first person shooters. For standard desktop use, though, it works fine. As usual, it also acts as a third mouse button. I don’t think it’s comfortable using it as a button, but that’s something I feel with almost all the mice I’ve used, so I’m not holding it against the G400.

Above and below the scroll wheel are two DPI change buttons. Their size, format and placement aren’t optimal, as you have to lift your hand a bit to use them. However, the fact that they exist and are usable enough during regular game situations is a massive plus. This is something I really missed in the Deathadder, as the only way to get DPI switching to work was setting a secondary button as switcher on the drivers. Doing so cost me one button from the five available and it wasn’t fast enough to support in-game DPI changes in a usable way – such as when switching from a machine gun to a sniper rifle. Being able to do it with the press of a button makes this task a lot easier and adds a new level of customization to your gaming style.

One thing that this mouse lacks when using the DPI switching is some sort of indicator on the actual mouse to tell us our current level. Funny enough, this is something that the Deathadder lacked as well but that much cheaper mice have – like my old A4Tech’s X710, which did the job using a led that changed colors depending on your DPI setting. This can be partly remedied, but not fixed, by using the button below the lower DPI change, which resets the mouse to the 800 DPI setting. That way, at least there’s a reference zone you can use in case you forget the exact setting you’re in. This button, however, didn’t work “out of the box”, I had to install Logitech’s drivers for it to be recognized. It’s not much of an issue, though, as the drivers are quite stable and even allow you an extensive range of customization – including changing key functions and setting different profiles for specific games.

There are only two additional buttons left, the two thumb buttons. They’re properly placed, but I think that their “touch” should be different. This is one area where the Deathadder wins hands down, with its larger thumb buttons. However, it isn’t a deal breaker, since they are usable enough – especially the main thumb button, which benefits from its decent size and accurate placement right above the thumb resting spot.

Moving on to the cover material, a common complaint I’ve read in other reviews is that it makes the mouse slippery. However, I didn’t detect this issue. The plastic coating seems normal and the indentations on both sides of the mouse ensure that you always have a firm grip. The only situation I can see that might make the mouse slippery is if you use an extreme finger tip grip – and I’m talking really extreme here. Since the coating isn’t rubberized, and doesn’t affect the grip, it may slip in that case. However, I didn’t test that in regular situations, as I stick to a mix between claw and palm. One thing that I really enjoyed on the G400’s choice of coating material when compared to the Deathadder is the complete absence of accumulated dirt on the side. Other than some dust, no annoying particles stick to this mouse.

We now know how holding the G400 feels, but how does the sensor work? Rather well, I’d say. I didn’t notice any accuracy issues or any performance drops when compared to the time using the Deathadder. I’m not a pro-gamer, and there may be differences when you go into that high level, but for regular gamers the G400 offers a really good experience. If you’re not hitting your headshots, you can’t fault the mouse.

The game experience can also be improved by making use of the DPI switching, so the mouse adjusts well to low sensitivity and high sensitivity games and gamers. I didn’t make use of the highest DPI mode (3600), but I’ve often swapped between the 400, 800 and 1800 DPI modes and didn’t see any sensor related problems. On an extra note, once you install the drivers, you can customize the DPI levels into something different, if that suits your needs better.

For regular desktop usage, the standard 800 DPI mode is just fine. The mouse tracks well and the only thing you might miss regarding a standard mouse is the pointer prediction. Since the G400 doesn’t have it (at least in later versions), you might notice that it’s more sensitive in certain tasks – this can be seen if you try drawing a straight line in Paint, for example. However, the benefits this brings in the increased accuracy when playing games far outweigh what you lose when drawing those straight lines in Paint.

In overall terms, the G400 is a great mouse. It has an excellent shape, making it extremely comfortable to use for long periods of time. Features a nice array of buttons, which you can fully customize using the drivers. The set is complete with an awesome sensor that will accurately track your motion. On the downside, there are three things I would change: the thumb buttons, the scroll wheel and the shape and placement of the DPI switching buttons. These aren’t deal breakers, but they should be improved in a future version of this mouse.

The final verdict is simple: Logitech created a winner. The G400 is a worthy successor to the legendary MX518 and it’s unbeatable in its price range. It’s also able to tackle pricier opponents – I consider it a better mouse than my previous Deathadder, with Razer’s device only taking the prize when it comes to the thumb buttons. If you’re in the market for a new mouse, this one is definitely worth looking into. As for matching MX518’s tank-like reputation when it comes to durability, only time will tell. It has gone through five months of heavy use without any noticeable signs of wear but, if it lives up to its predecessor’s reputation, that’s only the warm up.