30 December, 20213 minute read

The scrollwheel of Logitech’s MX Master 3 mouse is horrifically broken

The MX Master 3 mouse is a productivity mouse with universally positive reviews. They were going for half price over Black Friday so I picked up two (and sold the second one to recoup the cost of the first one) because I’d been interested in seeing if it would be a worthy replacement for my wireless G5021. Overall it’s a pretty cool mouse, but the vertical scrollwheel is almost completely unusable—probably about 80% of the time the first few clicks of the scrollwheel either do nothing or move the viewport by a few pixels, and then after those first few clicks it starts jumping my viewport around which almost always results in me overshooting my target.

This isn’t an unknown issue and if you look at social media there are actually a ton of people who have the exact same issue and I was aware that it could be an issue before purchasing the mouse. The problem occurs when the mouse is wired, connected via Bluetooth, and when it’s paired to a unifying receiver and also doesn’t get resolved by tinkering with the settings in Logi Options—it’s a design issue with the mouse’s magnetic scrollwheel (which is, admittedly, a cool concept).

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Video demonstrating the MX Master 3 scrolling issue

If you were only going off mainstream reviews, however, you wouldn’t know anything about this issue. Gizmodo claims that Logitech “perfected the scrollwheel” with this mouse, and The Verge says the mouse delivers a “practically flawless scroll experience.” YouTube tech reviewers also fail to mention this glaringly obvious issue with the mouse.

In fairness, it could be an issue from a revision of the MX Master 3’s hardware that occurred after its initial launch. It wouldn’t be the first time hardware manufacturers have reduced the performance of their products after launch through substituting components. If it isn’t due to a hardware revision and the issue has always been there (the mouse released in September 2019 and one of the links above demonstrating the issue is from January 2020) then this is a pretty stunning failure of review media, and either way it reflects poorly on Logitech that they would ship a mouse which fails to perform one of the most basic tasks you employ a mouse for especially when on the very same mouse the horizontal scroll wheel (which uses more traditional scrollwheel technology) works flawlessly.

Another point of annoyance is that the standard Logi Options software doesn’t work on M1 CPUs, so if you’re using a Mac with one of those chips in it you’re forced to use the beta Logi Options+ software instead (which you can get a download link for by clicking here). To really rub salt into the wound, Logitech won’t even let you download the beta without first filling out an enrolment form and handing over your name, email, gender, and location to Logitech. I’d post the links I have to download the software for macOS and Windows, but the files are hosted on a really funky-looking “mkto-sj010104.com” domain, which while apparently owned by Adobe looks so suspicious that I’m not sure anyone would want to click that link from my little corner of the Internet.

If you can live with an unreliable scrollwheel the rest of the mouse is honestly really good, but for me it’s a dealbreaker and I’m going back to my G502. I would not recommend this particular mouse to anyone and hopefully Logitech will be able to solve this issue with a new MX Master 3S or MX Master 4, because their peripherals are usually really good.

  1. Looks like that page now shows a new version coming soon which uses USB-C. Maybe I’ll just upgrade to that when it launches.

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