As someone who sits at a computer for hours every day, for work and gaming alike, I love my wireless mouse. When I switch back to wired mice, the cord between me and the computer becomes an instant annoyance. Equally annoying, though, is that low-battery light. For a regular user, it might come up once a week, but for me it ends up being something I see every few days. I’m at my computer a lot. Having to constantly reconnect my mouse to charge up means I have to keep the charging cable for the mouse out on my desk and frequently deal with mousing with the cable connected.
It’s not the biggest problem in the world, I’ll be the first to admit. But even small problems deserve good solutions, and that’s where Logitech’s PowerPlay line of products comes in.
What is PowerPlay?
This is kind of complicated, so stick with me. PowerPlay is a system of mouse pads and compatible mice, all from Logitech, that allows the compatible mice to charge just by sitting on the mouse pad – whether idle or in use – and gain charge the whole time.
The system consists of a base with two mouse pads, and two separate compatible mice.
The base is a stiff and grippy rubber pad with a connection block at the top. When you buy the PowerPlay base, it comes with both soft and hard mouse pads to fit the needs of either preference.
The two mice, sold separately, are the G903 and G703, which are basically just Powerplay-compatible versions of the G900 and G403 Prodigy. I know, the numbering is confusing. Keep in mind, the G900 and G403 are not compatible with PowerPlay.
So does it actually work?
If it fits your needs, then it absolutely does work. If you spend a couple hours a day at your computer playing PUBG or browsing Facebook, PowerPlay isn’t going to do much good.
One of my big concerns going in was the combined thickness of the mouse pad and base. For years, I’ve been using Razer’s Sphex mousing surface, which is essentially a low-friction sheet with adhesive backing. It’s paper-thin and sticks wherever you put it, and it’s been a reliable method for years. Going to any mouse pad seemed unappealing. I’m happy to say that the PowerPlay is about as thick as a standard mouse pad, whether you go with the hard or soft mousing surface. The two combined come in at 4mm thick. The base and pad are both grippy enough that they don’t move around at all, either. The pad itself is nice and large, too, at 12.6 inches wide and 10.8 inches from top to bottom. It won’t beat a full-desk mouse pad, but it’s not bad at all.
And indeed, once I had the PowerPlay puck on the bottom of the mouse, I was charging and haven’t had to plug in since then. Charging is slow – very slow – and the mouse cycles between about 85 percent to 95 percent charge. Even when seeing heavy use, though, the mouse’s charge went up consistently, even if it was just by a little bit. Plugging the mouse into a micro USB cable charges its battery up in just a couple hours instead of the 10+ the PowerPlay takes.
And while it is possible to find spots around the edge of the pad that don’t provide charging, it takes effort to do so. During regular use of the mouse, both gaming and in productivity tasks, the mouse maintained a charge connection even in motion. It’s going to be nearly impossible to drain these mice.
Note that the charging surface is not Qi-compatible, though. It charges the G903, the G703, and any future mice Logitech might add to the stable, but that’s it. Your phone will have to look on in sadness as its life slowly drains away.
Syncing up the mouse for the first time is easy, too. The set comes with a little puck that you pop into the bottom of the mouse. It doesn’t add any weight, and it sits securely thanks to strong magnets in the bottom of the mouse itself. Once that puck is in, all it takes is to set the mouse down on the plugged-in PowerPlay pad. The whole thing auto-detects and auto-syncs.
If you’re rolling with a recent Logitech wireless mouse, you should see pretty much identical performance out of the PowerPlay mice. These mice use Logitech’s new Lightspeed tech, which promises even lower latency and more consistent connectivity. The latency on these things is so low at this point that it’s impossible to measure that stuff without tools, but high-precision tasks like Adobe Photoshop and high-speed gaming like Doom both felt great. The wireless receiver is actually in the power block at the top of the pad, so you don’t have to worry about finding a good place for the wireless receiver. This receiver is not, unfortunately, compatible with Logitech’s previous Unifying receiver, though, so you can’t sync, say, a wireless keyboard through it as well and save ports.
Cons & Caveats
The cons here are pretty simple. This thing is expensive. The charging base and the two pads make for a $99 package. That’s a lot to pay to save yourself the pretty minor annoyance of having to plug your mouse in a couple times a week. Along with that is the fact that you do have to buy a PowerPlay-compatible mouse alongside the PowerPlay mouse pad. That’s a minimum $200 investment for the mouse and the mouse pad right now. What you’re paying for, then, is one of Logitech’s most current mice, with all the benefits that entails in terms of responsiveness, build quality, and battery life, and for the luxury of never having to plug your mouse in again.
If you spend a lot of time at your computer, PowerPlay can be a very useful product. More casual users, however, will likely want to wait. Despite that, it makes good on every promise. PowerPlay provides an ever-charging, high-quality mousing surface that is consistent without being overly thick or providing an inconsistent charge.
Logitech provided us with both the G903 and G703 mice, as well as the PowerPlay charging base and both pads. We spent about two weeks using the mice on a daily basis through entire workdays before writing this review.