Logitech G502 Lightspeed Review: The Perfect Gaming Mouse Goes Wireless
Logitech G502 Lightspeed With PowerPlay Wireless Charging
With a single product launch today, Logitech G is checking off two big requests from the community: the introduction of a wireless version of a popular gaming mouse and the expansion of the PowerPlay wireless charging ecosystem.
The Logitech G502 Lightspeed is, you guessed it, a wireless version of the G502 gaming mouse first released back in 2014, one of the best-selling gaming mice of all time. And in addition to “traditional” wireless functionality, this new G502 has support for PowerPlay, Logitech’s wireless charging system first released in 2017.
Since PowerPlay is optional, we’ll first take a look at the new G502 Lightspeed before revisiting the PowerPlay system and seeing how everything comes together.
- Lightspeed Wireless Technology
- PowerPlay Wireless Charging Compatible
- Tunable Weight & Balance System (4x2g and 2x4g)
- Dual-mode hyper-fast scroll wheel
- Onboard memory profiles
- LightSync RGB Lighting
- PTFE Feet
- Dual-injected rubber grip
- Braided data/charging cable (micro USB to Type-A)
- Height: 5.20 in (132mm)
- Width: 2.95 in (75mm)
- Depth: 1.57 in (40mm)
- Weight: 4.02oz (114g) + 16g adjustable
- Sensor: HERO 16K
- Resolution: 100 – 16,000 DPI
- Max Acceleration: >40G
- Max Speed: >400 IPS
- Zero smoothing/acceleration/filtering
- USB Data Format: 16 bits/axis
- USB Report Rate: 1000Hz (1ms)
- Microprocessor: 32-bit ARM
- Default Lighting: Up to 48 hours
- No Lighting: Up to 60 hours
- Windows 7 or later, macOS 10.11 or later
- USB Type-A Port
- (Optional) Internet access for Logitech G Hub
- 2-year limited hardware warranty
Logitech G502 Lightspeed: $149.99
Logitech G PowerPlay: $99.99
Logitech G502 Lightspeed
The wired version of the G502 has seen several revisions over the years — from the Proteus Core to the Proteus Spectrum to the HERO edition released late last year — but they all shared a very similar physical design. And this new wireless version continues to build on Logitech’s subtle refinement of this aggressively designed, yet surprisingly comfortable mouse. In fact, with the micro USB charging cable attached, fans of the G502 would be hard-pressed to easily identify any differences. But just because the exterior of the mouse looks virtually identical to its wired predecessors doesn’t mean things haven’t changed under the hood.
That’s because making a wireless version of a mouse requires some important modifications. Space must be made for the battery, the inclusion of which also affects weight and handling, and the energy efficiency of the the sensor and RGB lights becomes a critical factor. But Logitech had a winner on its hands with the G502, and neither they nor the legion of G502 fans wanted to see any drastic changes.
The company’s engineers therefore spent months meticulously redesigning and reengineering the G502 Lightspeed, not to end up with a product that was different, but to end up with something that was as close to the original as possible. As Logitech explained, “It’s like asking a car designer to keep a car the same on the outside, but add a bigger motor, a hot tub and full bar.” Indeed, Logitech tells us that the only physical component of the mouse that wasn’t changed in some way are the PTFE feet on the bottom. But, thanks to this impressive engineering effort, the G502 Lightspeed looks and, more importantly, feels just like its wired counterparts, at least in all the areas that matter.
That’s because while the G502 Lightspeed may look and feel the same on the top, discerning owners of wired G502 models will notice some differences on the bottom. One of the major features of the G502-series is its adjustable weight system. By removing a cover from the bottom of the mouse, users can find slots in which to add up to 16g of additional weights. The G502 Lightspeed needed to borrow some of this space for the optional PowerCore module that is required to enable wireless charging with PowerPlay.
Out of the box, a circular placeholder module resides in the center of the mouse’s bottom. Space around the outside remains for four 2g weights. When used without the PowerCore module, the placeholder module can accommodate the two 4g weights. But the PowerCore module has no such room for the additional weights, which means you can’t use the two 4g weights if you also want to use PowerPlay.
However, the PowerCore module itself weighs a few grams, making the difference between a fully-loaded G502 Lightspeed with and without the PowerCore module about 5g. For those who are especially picky about the weight of their mouse this might be a deal breaker, but most will probably view it as an acceptable trade-off for the benefits of PowerPlay’s wireless charging.
Also unique to the wireless version of the G502 is a lone power switch. Unlike some other wireless gaming mice that offer both 2.4GHz and Bluetooth connectivity options, the G502 works only with Logitech’s proprietary Lightspeed technology, so there are no switches or buttons for other modes.
Looking at the device’s features, G502 fans will feel right at home. The mouse features 11 programmable buttons, including on-the-fly DPI switches as well as a “DPI Shift” (similar to what other companies may call “Sniper”) button that can temporarily change the DPI when pressed for enhanced precision or greater range of motion.
The device also features RGB lighting of the Logitech G logo and DPI level indicator. It’s less lighting than what we’ve seen on some other mice but strikes a nice balance for those who like some lighting in their setup but don’t want to go overboard.
Both the buttons and the lighting are fully customizable via the Logitech G Hub software, which has slowly replaced the longstanding Logitech Gaming Software suite. G Hub offers a clean, easy-to-navigate layout and supports just about every Logitech gaming peripheral, even including devices like the Brio 4K webcam.
Users can customize or sync lighting options and animations between their Logitech devices, adjust the five configurable DPI rates, customize each button, and record and assign per-application or universal macros. Common Windows commands such as hiding and showing the desktop, minimizing all windows, or launching the Windows search feature are pre-packaged in the software, allowing you to drag and drop those functions onto a desired button without needing to remember and record any macros.
G Hub also provides the G502’s battery status as a percentage, including a breakdown of power usage between each feature or device. For example, if the mouse overall is drawing 10mA, G Hub lets you know that 2mA is required to operate the mouse itself, an additional 2mA is being drawn due to its high report rate, and 6mA are being consumed by the RGB lighting.
Speaking of battery life, we spent most of our time using the G502 with PowerPlay, which we’ll get into more below, but it’s important to reiterate that this mouse can stand on its own as a “traditional” wireless gaming mouse without any fancy wireless charging. Logitech advertises up to 48 hours of battery life when using the RGB lighting at its default settings, and up to 60 hours with lights disabled. We used the G502 on its own for about three days before breaking out the PowerPlay (with RGBs enabled), and after around 28 hours of usage, G Hub reported that we still had 35 percent battery remaining. Extrapolating those numbers out means that the actual running time would fall a bit short of Logitech’s estimates, but those numbers are easily in the same range as other RGB-enabled wireless gaming mice using proprietary low-latency connections (i.e., not Bluetooth).
Looking at the performance of the mouse itself, the DPI race is certainly on in the gaming mouse industry. While it doesn’t quite match up on paper to the 18,000 DPI PixArt sensors we saw recently from Corsair, the G502 Lightspeed is using the company’s highly regarded 16K HERO sensor, which is both energy efficient and accurate. Coupled with Logitech’s super low latency Lightspeed wireless technology, most gamers wouldn’t even begin to feel constrained by the G502 Lightspeed’s performance and responsiveness.
We’ve already covered PowerPlay and there’s nothing really new in terms of the system itself, so we’ll just have a brief overview of what it is and how it works.
Introduced in 2017, PowerPlay is a wireless charging system in the form of a mouse pad. For just under $100, users get a fairly good sized mouse pad (321mm x 344mm), the entire surface of which is a wireless charging pad. The system is slightly thicker than most mouse pads in order to accommodate the charging coils, but users have their choice of hard or soft surfaces to place on top.
In addition to wireless charging, the PowerPlay incorporates a Lightspeed receiver, conveniently located at the top-left corner of the pad for maximum connectivity.
PowerPlay requires specific mice, however. It initially launched with support for the G703 and G903 with support later added for the eSports-focused Pro Wireless mouse. The G502 Lightspeed therefore becomes the fourth PowerPlay-compatible mouse released thus far.
But PowerPlay isn’t sold as a package; it’s an optional add-on for the aforementioned mice. Each of those mice can operate as a standalone “traditional” wireless mouse with a finite battery life that must be replenished by plugging in the appropriate USB charging cable. If you pick up a PowerPlay, however, it comes with a PowerCore module that magnetically attaches to the corresponding slot on the bottom of each mouse. It’s not a battery, rather it’s the mechanism that receives the wireless charging signal from the PowerPlay pad and transfers that energy into the device’s internal battery.
It’s a slow charge, to be sure — the PowerPlay connects to your PC via a single micro USB to USB Type-A cable — but it’s enough to keep your mouse charged indefinitely, no matter how aggressively you configure settings such as RGB lighting or polling rate. So you won’t be using it to power up other wireless charging devices like your smartphone, but the system is robust enough to ensure that, as long as you remember to actually keep the mouse on the mouse pad itself, you’ll never run out of battery again.
Using the G502 Lightspeed with PowerPlay
Setting up any compatible Logitech G gaming mouse with the PowerPlay is quick and easy, and the G502 Lightspeed is no exception. Setup involves simply removing all of the packing material, selecting your mouse pad surface, and connecting the PowerPlay pad to your PC via the included USB cable.
Just remember that, unlike a standalone Lightspeed receiver, the PowerPlay requires adequate power in order to charge the mice, so make sure to connect it to an appropriately capable port on your motherboard or a powered USB hub.
Next, insert the included PowerCore module into your PowerPlay-compatible mouse, turn it on, and set the mouse on the pad near the receiver. The PowerPlay’s Lightspeed receiver will automatically detect the mouse and make the connection. If your PowerPlay was already paired with a different mouse, you’ll need to unpair it via the G Hub software before it can pair with a new mouse.
Once paired, you can see the status of your mouse in G Hub. In the case of my G502 Lightspeed, the battery still had a bit of charge remaining — about 35 percent — so I was able to start using it right away. If your mouse’s battery is dead it may take a few minutes of charging time on the pad before it gains sufficient charge to begin operating. You can always “jump start” the process by connecting your mouse’s included USB cable, which will both allow you to use the mouse immediately in wired mode as well as provide the initial charge more quickly.
But once you’re up and running, there’s really not much to think about. Just keep the mouse fully on the PowerPlay pad and it will handle the charging for you. Intelligent battery management means that you’ll rarely hit 100 percent charge — the system will automatically charge and discharge the mouse as needed to ensure good battery health — but you’ll never run out of battery, or even come close.
In my case, my G502 Lightspeed battery percentage usually hovered between the low 80s and low 90s. It may drive you nuts if you’re the type of person who can’t sleep at night if all of your mobile devices aren’t at 100 percent charge, but if you learn to “respect the process” (sorry, my fellow Bills fans), you’ll soon accept the rather pleasant reality that this awesome little mouse in your hands is never going to die on you, at least in terms of battery life.
Caveats & Conclusion
I’m overall extremely pleased with the G502 Lightspeed and its pairing with the PowerPlay. The mouse is comfortable, the 11 customizable buttons all feel like they’re in the right place, the responsiveness of Lightspeed wireless is, to me at least, indistinguishable from a wired experience, and the entire PowerPlay system works beautifully.
But there are a few not-so-positive factors to consider. First, and no surprise to those familiar with previous G502 mice, this is a party for right-handed mouse users only. The G502 design is sleek and comfortable, but clearly intended to be used only with the right hand.
Second, as mentioned earlier, users will have to choose between the two 4g adjustable weights and PowerPlay, since swapping in the PowerCore module leaves no room for the extra weights. Although, since the PowerCore module weighs a few grams on its own, Logitech says that the weight difference amounts to about 5g.
Third, when considering the G502 and PowerPlay package, a PowerPlay setup isn’t truly “wireless.” With any other “standalone” wireless mouse, including the G502 Lightspeed without PowerPlay, it’s possible to have no wires at all on your desk surface. While PowerPlay’s USB cable is positioned such that it can be easily routed, it is still a cable that you’ll need to have running across the desk.
Finally, there’s the price. As mentioned, PowerPlay and its compatible mice are all sold separately. The G502 Lightspeed is launching with a list price of $149.99. Add in $99.99 for the PowerPlay and you’re looking at $250 for a complete set. Of course, you don’t need PowerPlay to enjoy the G502 Lightspeed, and you can always start off with the G502 and pick up a PowerPlay down the road, but even at $150 for the mouse alone, this is a pricey proposition.
For heavy gamers, or even for productivity usage due to its comfort, the G502 Lightspeed is an excellent choice, and has emerged as my current favorite. Owners of previous G502 models know exactly what they’re getting, and those new to the family can look forward to a comfortable, well-built, and versatile mouse that is attractive for far more computing uses than just gaming. It is certainly pricey, and there are lots of great mice from Logitech and its competitors at lower price points, but there are not many that come close in terms of comfort, build quality, and performance.
The Logitech G PowerPlay is available now for a list price of $99.99. The Logitech G502 Lightspeed is shipping this month for a list price of $149.99.
Logitech G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse
SummaryA comfortable, well-built, and feature-packed gaming mouse that justifies its high price tag. When paired with PowerPlay, the G502 Lightspeed makes its case for the best gaming mouse currently on the market.
*Battery life on its own, without PowerPlay of course.
I have the original G502 and would love to upgrade but the $250 price point is a hard pill to swallow….
Well, it would only be $150 for the G502 alone. PowerPlay takes it to the next level but isn’t essential. Still, even at $150, I agree that it’s quite a premium. We’re still in the early days of retail availability (I’m not even sure retailers like Amazon are shipping yet), so it would be worth it to see if street prices settle lower once it’s well on the market.