- Sensor Type: PMW3366, 200-12,000dpi
Battery Life: Up to 30 hours
Connectivity: Wired (1.83m), Advanced 2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth
Max. speed: >400 IPS
Powerplay Support: Yes
Logitech has always been a company pushing the limits of peripheral devices. Having released numerous office and gaming units over the years, it even managed to surprise me with the launch of the MX Master, still one of the best mouses to date. The unit was so amazing, it actually worked on glass – yes, glass – and could switch between multiple devices with a click of a button. Then there’s very responsive, very reliable G900 Chaos Spectrum gaming mouse, which worked brilliantly. Fast-forward a year and Logitech has managed to eke out even more performance from the G900 series, and having launched the updated G903 the company has updated their game even more. They also launched a new peripheral alongside, the Powerplay mouse pad. You may not think of the mouse pad as a peripheral, but when it provides wireless charging and connectivity, there’s a whole lot more to it than just a simple surface.
Build and Design
At the time of its release, the G900 introduced a new line of gaming mouse with a unique design from the rest of the line-up. The G903 has almost the exact same build on the top of the unit. From the wheel, the toggle button, speed buttons, and the customisable side buttons. Where there is a change between the two units is the switch from the gun-metal grey on the G900, which has been changed to a solid black colour to match the rest of the device. Users can still also switch out the side panels for left- or right-hand usage. The device is perfectly ambidextrous, where you can switch the side buttons from the left or right simply by swapping out the magnetised buttons. It’s extremely easy to do. Users can choose between a basic setup of just 5 buttons, or add the additional buttons in the contents to increase this to 11 if required, and that’s exactly what I did.
The unit weighs slightly more than the G900, a whole 3g worth. While I’m able to speak to the exact internals of both devices, it is worth noting that the G903 supports wireless charging, and also has a new option to increase the weight of the mouse if needed, with the included 10g weight in the contents. It is worth noting, however, that the additional weight does mean that you won’t be able to use the wireless charging functionality of the Powerplay mouse pad. But we’ll get into more specifics further in this review. In addition to this change, and as a result of it, the power toggle has shifted to the top side of the undertray, which isn’t much of a problem.
Performance and Battery
What’s great about the G900 is once again found on the G903. Logitech has increased the maximum speed from 300 IPS to 400 IPS, providing much better tracking, and zero filtering, and 1ms report rate. Response on the mouse is extremely impressive. Playing games with the mouse without the use of the Powerplay is just great, providing a great, smooth experience. Thanks to the Logitech Gaming Software, I was able to customise each of the additional buttons, completing my experience with all the shortcuts I need, especially for MMO type gaming. What’s really cool about the G903 device is that switching from idle to functional takes just a split second, and you won’t really even notice it when you start moving it.
In terms of the battery life, the G903 is capable of last between 24 and 30 hours with all the LEDs on, much the same as the G900. Switching the LEDs off increases the battery life by almost up to a full day at the office. The G903 does a good job of putting itself into sleep mode when not in use, which you can also set by means of the software. It still takes roughly two hours to fully charge the unit, but that’s no trouble at all. Simply plug in the included, braided cable and you’re all set, and you can continue using the unit while charging.
As you’ve already guessed, the Powerplay mouse pad isn’t your average mouse pad. It has quite a lot going for it. In comparison to other RGB mouse pads, the Powerplay actually has some functionality. For starters, the mouse pad plugs into your PC by means of a USB port via the braided cable, which connects to the core on the top left side. This allows the mouse pad to perform two functions: wirelessly charge the G903 (and also the G703 unit), as well as act as a wireless receiver for the mouse. You’ll notice the Logitech “G” LED illuminate once powered, and an additional white LED, a much smaller indicator, to let you know it has successfully connected to the G903 unit once placed on the pad.
There is some complication to the Powerplay once plugged in. The mouse pad generates an electromagnetic field across the base, which is capable of projecting the field a few millimetres. This, in fact, allows the user to place an additional mouse pad over the top, which functions more like a conventional mouse pad. Logitech includes two additional pad surfaces to place over the base. The two surfaces include a cloth and plastic variant for more standardised usage.
As mentioned previously, the additional weight added to the bottom of the G903 isn’t compatible with the use of the Powerplay features. The wireless charging is activated by means of fitting the Powerplay disk – known as the PowerCore – in place of the weight, allowing it to pick up the electromagnetic field used for charging. In addition to the wireless charging functionality, the Powerplay base also acts as the wireless receiver, which can then replace the USB dongle included with the mouse. This feature, however, isn’t plug-and-play and requires the installation and activation by means of the Logitech Gaming Software to work. You could still use the dongle in conjunction with the mouse pad, but then you’re making use of two USB ports for the same utility.
Wireless charging isn’t as fast-charging as the conventional use of the cable, but it gets the job done nonetheless. In fact, it’s fairly slow by any standard. Logitech claims a charging rate of 1-2% per hour when in use. Mathematically, it wouldn’t make sense, as the unit consumes around 3% of charge every hour. But, thanks to the increased charging rates while in idle mode, the G903 will be fully charged in just over 12 hours. What’s great about the Powerplay mouse pad is that you’ll never have to charge your G903 or G703 units via a cable ever again. While I never considered it an issue to dock my current wireless mouse every night before hitting the sack, it’s a strange concept to not care about actually charging the unit at all. I understand that this isn’t an issue for wired mouse users, but having switched to wireless almost a decade ago, charging by means of replacing the batteries, docking, all the while having to turn the mouse on and off every now and then, not having to care about any of that at all makes a huge difference.
The Logitech G903 is a great device. With the addition of the Powerplay, however, the unit is enhanced even further. Users don’t ever have to worry about recharging their wireless mouse ever again, while also picking up better signal by means of the nearby core for even better performance. But, there are quite a number of permutations to consider.
Firstly, if you already own the G900, you may need to think long and hard about switching it out for the G903, since the designs are near exact, and the performances very similar as well. What you’ll be getting with the upgrade is the support for the Powerplay mouse pad, which brings me onto the second point. It comes down to cost. The experience is mesmerising and an entirely powerful functionality to have at your disposable. At a cost of R3,699 for the G903, and an additional cost (not yet determined for South Africa) for the mouse pad, it’s quite a huge investment to make.
Now the third concern I have with the G903 and Powerplay addition is that you’re buying into an ecosystem. It may be great now, and even support future Logitech devices going forward, allowing users to grow with the brand, but what happens when you find a mouse you really like that isn’t a Logitech? At present, the Powerplay is a propriety peripheral, and no plans in sight open the platform up to 3rd-party vendors, especially given the high probability that the unit doesn’t conform to any open-standards criteria. And this is one of the biggest hurdles with the mouse pad, despite all its great benefits.
Logitech G903 and Powerplay
The G903 is a great device on its own, and only made more powerful thanks to the Powerplay mouse pad. Logitech has kicked off a new way of getting the most out of your mouse and pad.
- Great features
- Never have to charge your mouse again
- Far too expensive
- Currently propriety
- Ease of Learning
- Ease of Use
- Value for Money