Logitech G903 LIGHTSPEED hardware review

Logitech has spent the better part of a decade making wireless mice, and they’ve been hacking away at the most balanced design possible for the last few years with their high-end G-series family. While having longer battery life was always a selling point (the MX Master can go up to 40 days on a single charge!), performance was a higher concern when it came to gaming. Logitech hit gold with the G900, finally, which by all accounts is an outstanding success according to Amazon customer feedback. The G903, which we’re looking at today, is more of a remix of a classic with dubstep in the middle, rather than a complete revamp.

Technical specifications

Weight: 110g
Switch type: Omron
Sensor type: Pixart PMW3366 12,000 DPI Optical
Port: USB 2.0
Backlight: Zoned RGB backlighting
Polling rate: Up to 1000MHz
Macro keys: Six programmable, up to 11 possible

Price and supplier infomation

Supplier: Logitech South Africa
Website: www.logitech.com

Compared to the G900, the G903 button layout is identical. It still features Omron switches for the primary and secondary buttons. It still has a frictionless scroll wheel that can be set to have a notched feel for those of you who don’t have to get to the bottom of extremely long Excel spreadsheets. Even in notched mode, it feels lighter than most mouse wheels out there, while still giving great feedback. There’s not an abundance of RGB lighting included, which I personally prefer.

For lefties, there’s the choice of which side you want your thumb buttons to be located. If you’re a right-handed mouse user, there’s still the option of using the extra side buttons with a little bit of pinky training. Logitech ships plastic inserts to replace the buttons if you don’t want any side buttons at all, which is neat. Near as I can tell, you could hand a G903 to a G900 user and they wouldn’t know the difference. You even get the same USB A-to-B-mini adapter for putting the wireless receiver in easy reach at the end of the included cable.

The dubstep comes in when we get to the charging mechanism. Unlike previous Logitech mice which used docks, the G900 shipped with a USB charging cable that fit in the front, and would take over signalling from the wireless adapter. The G903 adds a twist to this with wireless charging capability. If you pop off the coin-sized compartment at the bottom, you’ll find the wireless charging cap which allows you to use Logitech’s custom patented Powerplay charging mat to keep the G903’s battery topped up forever.

If you’re not using the Powerplay mat (which is a $99 add-on in the US), there’s a 10g weight you can insert into the charging cap that also disables the charging mechanism. This is useful in case you already have a Wireless Qi charger nearby, which the G903 isn’t compatible with. Logitech hasn’t said why the G903 isn’t Wireless Qi compatible, but it’s probably because the Powerplay mat doesn’t really use the standard Qi system anyway, and using a Qi charger might damage the mouse.

Otherwise, there’s nothing bad that I can say about this mouse on its own – and believe me, I looked everywhere. If you disable the LEDs, the projected battery life climbs up to 32 hours. Putting all the effects on reduces that to 25 hours, which means that constant use might require users to charge it once every two days. Changing the polling rate to 500Hz gives you an extra hour of battery life, while 125Hz can recover at least two extra hours on top of that.

The Pixart PMW3366 sensor sensitivity steps set up by default are 400, 800, 1600, 3200, and 6400 DPI. The sensor can go all the way up to 12,000 DPI if you really want extremely small movements to give you more agility in fast-paced games, and surprisingly this doesn’t have any effect on the battery life at all. With the added 10g weight, the mouse feels just right for playing fast-paced online shooters, or productivity use during the day.

Personal preferences will play up here when it comes to accuracy, though. The PMW3366 does some approximation of fast movements, so there are instances where it’s inaccurate for quick actions, but it’ll take experienced gamers to really get it to show any issues. Most people using the G903 won’t see any downside.

If I have any complaints, there’s really only one – no Wireless Qi support. If the G903 was compatible with existing chargers, it would integrate well with existing desktop setups for users who have these already, and it would negate the extremely heavy price tag for the Powerplay charging mat. There are also no guarantees that the Powerplay mat will stay relevant. Should Logitech adopt Wireless Qi for supporting their keyboards and mice with new versions of Powerplay, there’s no guarantee that the G903 will support those new peripherals either. If that happens, you’re limited to using USB charging to take care of business, and given that Powerplay is a first-gen product, I do expect this to happen sooner rather than later.

Overall, I think there are two options for potential buyers here. One is picking up the G903 and just enjoying the experience of using a high-end mouse (and for around R3,000, it’s about as high-end as we’re ever going to get). Option two, for the saner people out there, is picking up the G900. It’s almost identical inside and out compared to the G903, and you still get the same build quality and possibly better battery life, not to mention that it’ll be cheaper now that Logitech will phase it out.

90As an update to the G900, Logitech’s engineers can pat themselves on the back. Without adding much more weight, they’ve managed to extract more battery life and include an unusual charging solution. The price is the ultimate deciding factor here. There’s not a whole lot of competition for high-end wireless mice left in the game.