I am a long-time Apple guy. I have a Windows laptop and I frequently review Windows PCs, but I prefer a Mac as my primary computer. It’s not just the operating system, it’s also the hardware. However, Apple doesn’t always get it quite right. And the company can be incredibly stubborn about fixing a flawed design.
Case in point the Magic Mouse, the wireless mouse included with most Apple Macs and the default choice for MacBook owners who want to use a mouse instead of their laptop’s trackpad when sitting at a desk. The minimalist slab of aluminum and glossy plastic looks sleek and its support for touch gestures like swiping make it feel like a premium product. However, many users soon discover it has limitations. I still bring a Magic Mouse with me for travel because of its compact form factor, but the design is not great for extended use (my hands cramp up). Its symmetrical design makes it too easy to grab and accidentally have it pointing the wrong direction. It also has a ridiculous design flaw in a Lightning charge port on the bottom of the mouse. That’s right, you can’t use the Magic Mouse while it’s charging.
A few years ago I got fed up and made the switch to a Logitech MX Master mouse for daily use. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best mouse available for most Mac users. Here’s what you can expect from the latest version, the Logitech MX Master 3S Mouse for Mac.
The first thing that strikes you about the MX Master 3S is its shape. This is a fairly large mouse, one that dwarfs the Apple Magic Mouse in every dimension. And where Apple’s mouse is gently curved with a perfectly smooth surface, the MX Master 3S is a massive hump with steep curves, indents, scroll wheels, buttons, and a grippy rubberized coating. Looking at them side-by-side, the Logitech mouse seems lumpy and inelegant. Maybe even a little weird. However, put your hand on the MX Master 3S and it is immediately apparent that this is by far the more comfortable mouse to use. In addition, its scroll wheels and buttons are perfectly positioned.
Scrolling on the Magic Mouse very closely mimics scrolling on a MacBook’s trackpad. That’s a good thing. However, if you do much scrolling at all, you’ll love the machined steel scroll wheels on the MX Master 3S. The one on the side lets you use your thumb for horizontal scrolling. The main one – the MagSpeed Scroll Wheel – is one of my favorite things about this mouse. In free-scrolling mode, the wheel actually has inertia so you can give it a spin and speed through text at the rate of about 1,000 lines per second. Click a button behind the scroll wheel and it switches to a “clickier” (but silent) mode for precision control.
Long Battery Life and USB-C Charging
The MX Master 3S’s built-in battery is rated for about 70 days of use on a charge. If it does run low, there’s a USB-C port up front. You can plug in the mouse to charge and keep using it. If you don’t want to deal with a cable for a few hours, fast-charging means one minute plugged in will top up the battery enough to get about three hours of use from the mouse.
Multi-Device Support, Options+ and Flow
In addition to its ergonomic design and performance features, Logitech includes a number of other capabilities. These fall into the “power user” category – not everyone will make use of them, but they make the case for choosing this mouse even stronger if you could benefit.
First, the MX Master 3S can be paired to three different Macs or iPads. There’s a switch on the bottom for cycling between the three. If you’re running a multi-device setup, this could mean two less mice to buy and have kicking around.
Logitech’s Options+ software offers the ability to customize the mouse’s buttons. You can also adjust the mouse optical resolution sensitivity in 50 DPI increments. Downloading the free Options+ software is also the key to a big productivity win for multi-device owners: Logitech Flow. With Flow, you can scroll between devices (even to a Windows PC) and the MX Master 3S cursor moves from system to system as you hit the edge of a screen. Not only that, but you can copy text, files or images from one of those systems using the mouse, then paste into another.
Upgrades Over the Previous Version
The MX Master 3S has some improvements over the previous generation of this mouse. A new Logitech Darkfield optical sensor doubles the resolution to 8000 DPI for more precise movement. The company says clicks are 90% quieter. If you already own a previous generation model, there’s not a really must-have reason to upgrade – unless you use it for tasks that would benefit from that greatly increased optical resolution. For everyone else, the incremental changes make the Logitech MX Master 3S an even more compelling choice.
Logitech MX Master 3S Mouse for Mac Key Specs:
- Ergonomic design (right hand only)
- Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) wireless connectivity, also compatible with Logi Bolt USB receivers
- 7 buttons, horizontal scroll thumbwheel
- Machined steel MagSpeed scroll wheel with smart-shift and up to 1,000 lines per second scrolling
- Easy Switch with support for 3 devices
- Darkfield high precision optical sensor with maximum 8000 DPI
- 70 day battery life, charges via USB-C (cable included)
- Buttons and gesture presets for popular software including Photoshop and Word, customizable using Logi Options+
- Supports Logitech Flow
- Weighs 141g
- Available in Pale Gray or Space Gray
- MSRP $99.99
Recommendation: If you Use a Mac, It Doesn’t Get Much Better Than the Logitech MX Master 3S Mouse
If you are a Mac user and you use a mouse, the Logitech MX Master 3S is about as good as the experience gets. Compared to Apple’s own Magic Mouse, it has vastly superior ergonomics, all the buttons you could want, far superior scrolling, better battery life – and, unlike the Magic Mouse, you can actually use this mouse while it is charging.
You give up gestures and the sleek minimalist look of Apple’s own mouse, but if you try the Logitech MX Master 3S – even if you don’t use half of its capabilities – I doubt you’ll be interested in switching back. Personally, I’ve been using MX Master series mice for several years now and I don’t take advantage of any of the extras like the programmable buttons or Flow. I just do basic “mousing.” But the comfortable feel of the mouse during extended sessions, the fantastic machined steel scroll wheel, and the two primary buttons make going back to Apple’s mouse feel like slumming.
If you are a lefty, unfortunately this is not the mouse for you as Logitech only offers it in a right-handed configuration.
Disclosure: Logitech provided an MX Master 3S mouse for evaluation purposes but had no input into this review.