The many problems with the Logitech G403

The Logi G403 gaming mouse has issues with everything from hardware design to its firmware and software. But it does have pretty pulsating colored lighting effects; at least until you install their the Logitech Gaming Software.

The Logitech G403 wired (also available as a wireless option) is a ‘gaming mouse,’ which means it’s high-sensitivity, is more expensive, and is decorated with pulsating and colorful LEDs.

This specific model seems to have a multitude of issues, so rather than a review I’ll just detail the issues I’ve encountered and you can make up your mind about the quality of the G403.

Lighting and software

The factory default lighting effects on the G-logo and the scroll wheel worked fine out of the box on MacOS 10.12, Linux (Fedora 27), and Windows 10. The basic operations of the mouse worked fine as well; that’s until I installed Logitech’s management software.

Stopped working after installing Logitech Gaming Software

I was prompted to reboot the system after installing Logitech Gaming Software. This seems more than a little excessive just to support a mouse but I went ahead and rebooted anyway. I noticed some new issues even before the system had rebooted.

The LEDs on the mouse would flash a couple of times and then turn off right after powering on the system. The same would happen again just before the Windows boot sequence finished (which causes the internal USB hub to power cycle.)

The problems persisted even when I plugged the mouse into different computers running Linux or MacOS. The mouse has some internal memory for storing configuration, so I assumed the configuration must have been changed during the software installation. I opened Logitech Gaming Software again, and every lighting setting appeared to be correct.

Notably, the lighting effects also came on again after opening Logitech Gaming Software. But the problem would reappear after a reboot. I also noticed a firmware update for the mouse (!), but applying this didn’t resolve the problem but did instead introduce new issues (!) which I’ll get back to later.

I found an option called “Lighting Sleep Timer” in the Lighting section in the Gaming Software center. This feature would turn off the lights after a configurable amount of inactivity. Despite being presented as a on-board memory configuration option, the lighting sleep timer only works on Windows with Logitech Gaming Software installed.

Regardless, this option was not to blame. It took a little while, but I eventually found an option called “Device Startup Effects”. Disabling this option fixed the problem. Notably, this is the only option that has to be applied anew if you plug the G403 into another USB port on your computer.

Logi Analytics crash

When I installed the Logitech Gaming Software I got an unwanted additional component that caused problems every time I logged in to Windows. Even before the Windows shell is displayed, I got a problem report from Windows saying that “Logi Analytics Client (UNICODE) has stopped working”.

Logi Analytics Client (UNICODE) has stopped working

The Logi Analytics Client is clearly some sort of feedback collection service that’s supposed to run in the background to gather feedback on how I use the mouse and its configuration. However, I’ve been unable to find a privacy policy that covers the data collected by Logi Analytics Client. It could be a key-/mouse-click logger for all I know. I do find it worrying that there isn’t an easily available privacy policy that explains what the Analytics Client does and what type of data it collects.

Most consumers would be unaware and not care in the slightest about this unwanted data collection, had it not been for the crash dialog on startup. I’ve found a couple of threads on the Logitech discussion boards and Reddit that discusses this dialog.

In any case, the client is unwanted and the crash goes away by removing Logi Analytics Client from your system. You can disable it from within Settings on the Logitech Gaming Software, or by disabling the software’s service from Windows Service Manager.

Scroll wheel and scrolling

I mostly like the feel of the scroll wheel but it has some serious issues including a hardware design flaw that hurts for people with small hands.

Sporadically scrolls in the wrong direction

Before applying the firmware update to my G403, I didn’t have any issues with scrolling behavior. That changed as soon as I applied the G403 Firmware Update 108.2.13 that contained the following changelog entry:

Fixes an intermittent scrolling issue experienced on some G403 gaming mice

In my case, the update seem to have introduced an intermittent scrolling issue that wasn’t present before the update. Scrolling downwards sometimes scrolls upwards one “tick”, pauses there, and then continue scrolling downwards. The same happens in the opposite direction.

It’s a small annoyance when scrolling down a document, but it can seriously interfere with your performance in a game or other software where the scroll wheel changes from one tool to another as the issue causes you to select the wrong tool. The issue happens on all operating systems after applying the firmware update.

I can make the issue go away for a few hours by scrolling while unplugging and reconnecting the G403 from my computer. I’ve reached out to Logitech customer support regarding availability of older firmware so that I may roll back to the previous working version.

Hurts to scroll

Besides the intermittent issues with scrolling going off in the wrong direction, I generally like the feel of the scroll wheel. Except that it hurts my index finger when I use it. This shouldn’t be an issue for anyone with large hands or who rests their hands on the front of the mouse.

If you rest your hand on the back of the mouse your stroke-to-scroll motions over the scroll wheel can make your index finger collide with an inexplicably stupid hardware design flaw. There’s a raised pointy edge just at the end of the scroll wheel shaft that you’ll poke your finger against at the end of a downwards scrolling motion.

Protruding edge at the end of the scroll wheel shaft on the Logtech G403

Finger-cutting edge at the end of the scroll wheel shaft.

I spent half an hour looking at photos of “gaming mouse” on a web image search, and every other model I can find has soft round edges at the end of the scroll shaft. It’s almost like the other gaming mice manufacturers product tested their designs and found that sharp pointy edges could be painful to use for some customers. I don’t know what Logitech were thinking on this design. No other mouse in Logitech’s current gaming or general-purpose mouse product line-up feature anything but round subdued edges.

I can work around this issue by repositioning my hand, but having to use the mouse this way is less comfortable over time as it forces me not use a relaxed posture in my arm to accommodate the scroll wheel. Not relaxing my arm in turns leads to pain in my shoulder, which should be familiar to anyone with small hands using a mouse that’s designed to fit in the hand of giants.

Rattling scroll wheel

I haven’t experienced this one for myself, yet, but just about any online search for this mouse model will bring up complaints about the scroll wheel being fitted too loosely causing it to make a rattling noise when used.

From what I’ve read, this problem can appear after a month or three of use — although some people have gotten this issue out-of-the-box. I’ll update this blog post in the future if my scroll wheel starts making a rattling noise.

Conclusion time

The Logitech G403 is a flawed product from a manufacturer who’ve got a good track record and reputation for making good computer accessories without these kinds of issues. The mouse is physically uncomfortable to use, the software is unstable and difficult to use, and their firmware update turned off the shiny exterior lighting effects that drives the sales in the whole gaming-peripherals category.

My impression is that this may have started as a concept drawing that for some reason was rushed to market without the normal quality controls consumers expect from Logitech.