As evidenced by our best gaming mouse (opens in new tab) roundup, modern mice are becoming increasingly complex and feature rich in an effort to distinguish themselves from an ever more crowded field. Whether it be in terms of technology, with powerful new sensors and microprocessors, or features like RGB lighting, a ridiculous array of fully programmable buttons, or analog sticks bolted onto the side of the unit, we've never seen this level (or volume) of innovation in gaming pointers.
That said, it's a breath of fresh air to see one of the industry leaders go back to basics. The original MX518 is one of the best regarded and most sought after gaming mice to ever be produced, and fans regularly clamor for a proper modern update (as good as the original was, its sensor topped out at 1800 CPI, and it's desperately in need of a refresh). Finally, Logitech has answered their pleas and launched a revamped version of one of the greatest peripherals ever to grace gaming PCs (opens in new tab). So does the new model live up to the legendary original?
Logitech MX518 - Design
In terms of the shape and form factor of the resurrected MX518, it very strongly resembles the original. It's got the same classic curves on the side panels and the oft imitated sweep of the convex top. The sides of the unit feel more pleasantly grippy than the original and, in lieu of the distressed metal/bubbled design of the first MX518, the top has gotten a glossy, subtly speckled 'Nightfall' finish. It retains the eight buttons of the original but they're better positioned, particularly the CPI buttons that bracket the scroll wheel, which have been moved back to make them easier to reach and press. The thumb buttons are well differentiated so you won't push the wrong one mistakenly, and they're easy to reach and press, and satisfyingly tactile.
It's a pleasant mouse to use and fits the hand well, though it's slightly too slender for users with larger hands. It's fairly light at 101 grams, but doesn't feel hollow or cheap; quite the opposite, it feels like a peripheral that a great deal of thoughtful design research and iteration has been poured into on the path to its current state. Even the Logitech G logo, which stands out in burnished silver on the top of the mouse, is attractive and stylish rather than garish (the norm for an unfortunate number of gaming peripherals). The bottom has three slick plastic pads at the periphery, so it slides silkily along on both firm and cloth mats.
Logitech MX518 - Performance
While the exterior of the MX518 may look extremely similar to the original, its internals have changed drastically. Gone is the 1,800 CPI sensor, replaced by Logitech's proprietary 16,000 CPI HERO sensor. HERO is a handy acronym for the extremely clumsily named High Efficiency Rating Optical sensor that Logitech has been producing and refining since 2017, and the iteration packed into the MX518 is best-in-class. Rated at 400+ (meaning it won't lose track of where the mouse is, regardless of how quickly and violently you throw it around your mouse pad), with no artificial acceleration or any of the other antiquated solutions introduced to mitigate the failings of inferior sensors, the HERO pairs with an onboard 32-bit ARM microprocessor for a brisk 1ms report rate.
For the layman, that all essentially means that the MX518 is one of the most precise and reliable mice available, performing at the same tier as elite mice that cost tens or hundreds of dollars more. The best thing that you can say about it is that you'll often forget about it, because it's so effortless and intuitive to use and never presents you with irritating headaches like latency or losing tracking.
Logitech MX518 - Features
While it's not overburdened with a ton of excess features (that would've surely ballooned the price if not the weight and size of the unit), the MX518 does come with some thoughtful conveniences to streamline your experience. It's got onboard storage for up to five profiles, so if you're sharing it with other people who prefer different settings it's a cinch to switch between them, and it'll remember your preferences if you move to a different device.
The Logitech Hub software that you use to program the buttons (all of which can be set for user-defined functions, even the three CPI buttons) is easy to install and use, and flexible enough to set the buttons to do nearly anything your heart desires. There's also a suite of useful CPI options, like being able to designate a single CPI setting that you can instantly switch to at the press of the button, as well as which settings you want to toggle between with the up and down buttons. It's an easy to use piece of software, and once you've got your settings in place you can safely forget it exists, unless you later decide to go back and tweak some options.
Overall - should you buy it?
The MX518 is one of the best gaming mice I've used and a worthy successor to one of the few PC peripherals I feel comfortable referring to as 'legendary.' It expands on the success of the original without spoiling any of what made it so successful in the first place, and it's very reasonably priced with an MSRP of $59.99. Backed by all the design expertise and top notch customer service of Logitech (which includes a 2-year warranty), it's also a mouse that's designed to last. If you're looking to improve your performance in the most demanding twitch shooters, or are generally in the market for a better pointer, the MX518 is one to pounce on.