I finally got around to installing Steam onto my Macbook, which means I’ll be spending more time on the couch when it comes to light gaming. Not wanting to be stuck with an overheating lap and a trackpad unfriendly for gaming, I decided to pick up an N315 lapdesk and an M310 mouse.
Logitech N315 lapdesk
It’s important to note that, while this little desk can operate as a heatsink for your laptop, it is by no means a cooler. If your favorite portable runs hot, you might want to look elsewhere…however, for those of us that don’t need an external cooling solution, the N315 is perfect for providing stability and to prevent heat from leaking into your lap. Despite its light weight, the N315 feels quite solid; even when holding it by the edge with my laptop sitting on it, there’s no visible bending or structural weakness. This thing is as solid as a serving tray, and seems like it could take quite a lot of punishment down the road. Its lack of extensive padding on the bottom might turn some people away from it, but using it for hours on end is still far more comfortable than having a naked laptop on you for even just 15 minutes. Also, this low profile allows it to be easily stowed away in a laptop bag while traveling, which is nothing to sneeze at.
The slideout mousepad is great; the sliding mechanism is smooth, and there’s no chance of it coming out unless you want it to. There’s plenty of surface area for a moderately sized mouse, although it might be a little small for a full-sized one. There’s a slightly raised lip that runs around the outside, which helps prevent your mouse from flying off the pad when you take your hand off it. Unfortunately, there are some imperfections: the mouse surface is a little rough, which means that even if you have aftermarket teflon feet on your mouse, moving the mouse around is a little noisy. I got used to it pretty quickly, but it’s still something worth mentioning if you intend to use it in a place where you need to be quiet.
Despite this rough texture, there’s absolutely zero bite on the mouse pad itself. The instant you take your hand off the mouse, it will just fly around all willy-nilly. This is where the raised lip comes in…it definitely helps prevent your mouse from flying off the pad if you’re at an angle. I understand that they wanted the action on the mouse to remain as smooth as possible, but it would be nice if there were a LITTLE more friction to help prevent the mouse from flailing around like a wet noodle when you don’t have your hand on it.
Overall, the N315 is comfortable for extended couch gaming sessions, and infinitely better than using a large book under your laptop (or nothing at all, for that matter!) It may seem a little pricey, considering it amounts to a slate with a small slide-out mousepad, but I feel that it is well-worth the $20-$30 you’ll pay for it.
To go with my new N315, I decided to pick up a small mouse (especially since my mid-2006 Macbook only has a single mouse button on the trackpad.) I decided to go with the M310 over the M305 primarily because the M310 is only $5 more. The M305 is a great little mouse, but I just can’t fathom holding on to an extra Lincoln in exchange for a more cramped device with less battery life.
The M310 is smaller than a “normal” mouse, but larger than the average far-too-small “travel mouse”, making it great for tossing in a laptop bag while still being comfortable to use for extended periods of time. Like the M305, you can store the stubby USB receiver right in the mouse itself, making travel a snap. With a single AA battery, the M310 is perfectly weighted; it never feels like it’s “leading” you, and since the battery sits low in the mouse frame, the whole shebang feels solid and stable. I’ve only had it for a few days, but according to reviews I’ve seen online, a single AA battery should last for months of regular use. There’s an On/Off switch on the bottom, so you don’t have to worry about wasting battery life during transport, and the battery itself can be quickly accessed without the use of any tools.
As for connectivity, all you have to do is plug in the mini USB receiver, flick the switch on the bottom of the mouse to the “On” position, and start doing your thing. There’s almost zero wake-up delay, no drivers to install, and no syncing necessary…just turn it on and go. The buttons and the scroll wheel worked nicely with my Macbook out of the box, although I did have to up the scroll wheel sensitivity under system preferences since the page barely moved at the default settings.
As for usability, I’ve clocked in a few hours with Dungeons of Dreadmore with little to no fatigue. I run a Kensington Expert Trackball on my gaming PC and a Logitech Marble Trackman at work, so it’s a little weird to be using a normal mouse again, but it works great. Tracking is accurate, the buttons have a satisfying not-too-loud click to them, and the scroll wheel is segmented yet still smooth. Best of all, the optical tracking mechanism is the “invisible” kind, so you won’t have an annoying light flashing across the room every time you lift the mouse off the tracking surface…an essential feature for me, since I’ll primarily be using it in a blacklight-lit room while watching movies.
Between its size, weight, ease of setup, and comfort, the M310 is the perfect mouse for both people on the go and for couch warriors.
The N315 and M310 make a killer combination, one that I very highly recommend if you spend a lot of time with your laptop while on your couch or bean bag. Depending on where you pick them up from, this combo will run you anywhere from $40 to $60, but it’s worth every penny. The comfort, quality, and ergonomics provided here make me never want to use a “naked” laptop ever again!