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Logitech G PowerPlay System with G903/703 Gaming Mice: Bye Bye, Wires

By Christopher Coke on December 14, 2017 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Logitech G PowerPlay System with G903/703 Gaming Mice: Bye Bye, Wires

For years, wireless mice lagged behind their wired counterparts for gaming. Response time and tracking just weren’t up to snuff. Worse, nothing wrecked a game faster than feeling that battery start to die in the middle of your gaming session. Those problems are a thing of the past with the Logitech G PowerPlay system. We can finally charge our mice - the G903 and G703 - wirelessly, right through the mouse mat. But with the charging system and mouse costing nearly $200, is it worth the cost of entry?

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Specifications

Logitech G PowerPlay Wireless Charging System (Mat)

  • MSRP: $99.99
  • Dimensions: LxWxD - 12.6 in x 13.5 in x 1.7 in
  • Control Module Height: .40 in
  • Charging Surface/Cloth/Hard Mouse Pad Thicknesses: .08 in each
  • Cable Length (Power/Charging): 6 ft

Logitech G903/703 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mice

  • MSRP: $149.99
  • Sensor: PMW3366
  • Resolution: 200 –  12,000 dpi
  • Max. Acceleration: tested at >40G*
  • Max. Speed: tested at >400 IPS*
  • USB Report Rate: 1000 Hz (1ms)
  • MPU: 32-bit ARM
  • Programmable Buttons: 6 (G703), 11 (G903)
  • Button Lifespan: 50 million clicks
  • Battery Life: Default lighting: 24 hours/no lighting: 32 hours
  • Cable: Braided, 6 ft

Let’s not bury the lede: The Logitech G PowerPlay system is the real deal. Once this thing is on your desk with either the G703 or G903, the days of charging and wire tethers are over.  What’s more, even without the PowerPlay system, either of these mice deliver the same kind of uncompromising performance that eluded wireless mice for years. Side by side with other wired gaming mice in my testing, there is simply no discernible difference. We’ve arrived.

Logitech G PowerPlay Wireless Charging System

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that, with the wider tech industry, many of us have been wondering what took so long. We’ve been charging our cell phones wirelessly for years, so why haven’t mice caught up? It turns out, movement. Logitech told us that the trickiest problem they faced wasn’t delivering a charge, but rather delivering a charge while the mouse while it was actually being used. Once gamers started actually using it, the movement would immediately hurt or kill charging.

To solve that problem, Logitech’s PowerPlay system uses coils in the charging surface that emit an electromagnetic field using alternating current. Small modules inserted into the bottom of the mice receive the current and convert it into usable Direct Current power the batteries. It’s old technology used in a new way, and it’s quite neat.

With this in mind, it’s better to think about the PowerPlay system as less of a mouse pad that delivers a charge and more of a charging base that can also be used as a mouse pad. When thought of in that way, and compared to the cost of wireless chargers for modern smart phones, the $99.99 price point starts to become a little more reasonable (while still costing a pretty penny.)

Logitech is pushing multiple avenues to justify its price tag. The packaging is stellar, so right from the unboxing, it feels like you’ve bought a hundred dollar product. It’s big and comes with both a hard and soft surface that stays put very well on the base. Both are made very well and, looking at the edges of the soft mat, there’s no indication that it will peel or separate like cheaper pads. It’s also big, giving you plenty of room for those wide, low sensitivity sweeps in shooters.

The charging speed is extremely slow. If the mouse is completely dead, it will take about 14 hours to fully charge. While I’m tempted to call this a con, I can’t bring myself to do it because it frankly doesn’t matter. Both the G703 and G903 we were sent shipped with enough charge to work straight out of the box, and even if they didn’t you only need enough charge to make them functional and the PowerPlay will do the rest. Since you don’t have to worry about doing anything special to charge them, their percentage or how long it will take to “top out” is irrelevant. Eventually, they’ll hit 100% and stay close to it the vast majority of their life paired in the system.

It’s also worth noting that getting up and running is seamless. You’ll need the Logitech Gaming Software to view charge percentages and to control the illuminated “G” on the USB base, but you can ignore all of that and simply plug it in if you’re so inclined, no extra drivers needed.

G903/G703 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mice

If there is a limitation to the PowerPlay system, it’s that it’s currently only compatible with two mice. To free yourself from cords and battery changes, you’ll need to pick up the more simply designed G703 for $99 or the more-expensive-yet-capable G903 for $149.99. Both of these mice are Lightspeed refreshes, updating the G403 and G900 respectively, so you know you’re getting something good.

Lightspeed, as the name implies, is the lighting fast communication tech Logitech has embedded into both of these mice. Simply put, it’s a proprietary design that puts their wireless line in direct competition with the performance of high-end wired gaming mice and, according to their testing, even winning out in a number of cases.

While I don’t have the equipment to test latency on a professional level, I can say that my experience with both mice has been great. There isn’t any noticeable latency, even in shooters where a click milliseconds early can make the difference between a win and a loss. Since it also makes battery level a concern of the past, you’re able to focus on the game, not the tool. That’s how it should be.

The mice themselves are both very good. Each makes use of the excellent PMW 3366 sensor from PixArt, and internally they’re about identical. Both mice can run between 200-12000 DPI, which is more than enough sensitivity for modern displays. They each also have 1ms report rates and responsive, satisfying clicks through Logitech’s proprietary 50-million activation switches. Both also come with 10g inserts to get the weight to your taste. The decision between these two mice isn’t one of performance, it’s one of function.

The G703 is a six button mouse that’s a perfect fit for shooters and single-player games. You have your usual left, right, and middle clicks, as well as the DPI button. On the left side are two programmable thumb buttons. The entire unit is a nice matte black with a soft-touch coating on the left and right sides to help your grip. It’s smaller and a good fit for claw-gripped gamers.

The G903, on the other hand, is bigger, more fully featured, and has a much more striking design. Rather than being built from the “outside in” with a hollow body (like most mice), the G903 is built around a solid metal chassis, the central column of which separates the mouse buttons with a glossy black. It looks great against the matte black of the rest of the body. The result of this design style is a mouse that looks more angular and sharp.

There are eleven programmable buttons on the G903, but this includes the both sets of right and left side buttons. Since this is an ambidextrous mouse, you’re likely to covering up the two under your ring finger to prevent misclicks, cutting the usable total down to nine (you can get used to using both - I’ve done it). The side buttons are held by strong magnets, so they’re easy enough to take off when you’re trying, but they don’t wiggle or pop out of place in normal use. I’m also a big fan of being able to unlock the scroll wheel so it can spin freely and rocket you right to the bottom of a long page.

Both of these mice are also RGB enabled, featuring illuminated “G”s on the palm rest and ring lights on the mouse wheel. You can opt for your standard customizations, like breathing and cycling (which is the default). I’m a bigger fan of making profiles for individual games and having my lighting change to match. The G903 has another benefit here in that several profiles can be stored on its onboard memory and swapped using a button on the bottom. Being able to take your settings on the go is a great feature.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, though, it all comes down to price and this isn’t a cheap buy-in. At the time of this writing, the PowerPlay system is sold out but holding firm at the $99.99. The G703 is $85.99 and the G903 is $124.99 on Amazon. On the low end, you’re approaching $200 to enjoy the wireless benefits. Every piece is the system is very good, but it’s a hard sell to the average consumer.

I’ll say this, though. Historically, I don’t use mice wirelessly. The latency on most is a problem, but the stress of the responsiveness dying as the battery fades leaves me reaching for the wire. So there I sit with a wireless mouse, plugged in, missing out on the biggest benefit of that mouse. Logitech’s system eradicates that problem. It’s pricey but completely works in eliminating the stress of your average wireless mouse. If you want to free yourself from wires, that selling point alone is absolutely massive. Whether it’s worth it to you, only you can say..

Pros

  • Excellent responsiveness
  • Works exactly as intended
  • Plug and play
  • No more worrying about batteries - it’s freeing

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Currently only compatible with two mice

The products discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for purposes of review.

Christopher Coke / Chris has been a fan of MMOs since the mid-1990s when he cut his teeth on MUDs. These days he scours the internet for the latest and greatest multiplayer gaming experiences.