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  Ergonomic Mouse round-up

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Earlier this year we reviewed some of the best desktop mice available at the time, and like most current high-end mice you can find out there, they were designed for general use/comfort and gaming in mind.  Although the article was fairly popular among our readers, we also received many letters requesting coverage about real ergonomic mice, and this is what our new comparison is all about.

We looked for pointing devices that were created with ergonomics, and only ergonomics in mind. Most of the time these ‘mice’ are marketed towards people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, however anyone feeling discomfort using a regular mouse should be able to switch to any of these products as well. After receiving some feedback from readers we ended up reviewing the following three products:

  • Perific Wireless Dual Mouse

  • 3M Ergonomic "Renaissance" Mouse

  • Evoluent VerticalMouse 2

As an additional side note, I wanted to add that reviewing ergonomic mice is very subjective, and I may be comfortable using a certain mouse that you won’t enjoy as much.  Because of those same reasons, I have tried to take a very neutral view on each mouse, while I cover as many mundane details as possible.

People are sometimes under the impression that only those who work at a computer all day are at risk of repetitive stress injuries (RSI).  Unfortunately that is not true and even people spending an hour or two per day using a computer are now suffering from RSI.  Even if you aren't going to purchase ergonomic products for your everyday use, there are still some very helpful tips on how to lower the risk of someday suffering from RSI. Many specialists recommend taking short breaks after long periods of computer use to reduce risk.  It is also a good idea to do a few quick and simple hand/wrist stretches that will help make sure you are doing your best to try and stay healthy.  A quick Google search will bring up many helpful links.

Now that you have some basic information on RSI, and how to help prevent it, let us begin with the first mouse we received for testing, the Wireless Dual Mouse from Perific.

Perific Wireless Dual Mouse

When I first received the mouse from Perific it looked like a plain regular mouse, just to be surprised in the long-run as it really was the most unique and different. You could say the Perific can be used in different modes, which I will briefly describe below.

The Perific mouse in standard mode doesn't require a good mousing surface; I was even able to get it working when I used it on a somewhat bumpy wooden desk.  That is why this mouse is obviously the one with the most flexibility.  It also is the ideal device for people that do not have a lot of open space on their desk. It’s worth mentioning this is the only cordless mouse included in the roundup.  It runs on two AAA batteries and charges via a USB port.

The Perific Wireless Dual Mouse features 1200 dpi with very smooth tracking.  Although it should be understood that the resolution the Perific mouse tracks with isn't as important as with the other mice because of the different ways the mouse can be used.

The traditional usage should be self-explanatory.  The trackball mode works like a normal trackball.  This is a great method for people that either have a hard time moving the mouse, or don't have a lot of desk space.  It feels a bit weird using the trackball on this mouse because your instincts will tell you to try and move the mouse around.

Now that we covered the more customary ways to use this mouse, we get into the more interesting positions.  For handheld usage the cover has to be taken off.  After the cover has been removed, you will essentially place the mouse in your left hand.  Fold your hands together and use your thumb on the right hand to control the trackball.  It will obviously take a few days before you are able to proficiently use the mouse in any of these positions. I should also mention that you are still able to type on the keyboard because you just let the mouse rest on your hand while you use the keyboard.  I found that this position was very comfortable for at least two hours of constant mousing.

   

The next unique position that we will speak about is when you can combine the use of the mouse with a keyboard.  After the shell has been taken off the mouse just put it on the outer part of your left hand, where the trackball can be accessed by your right hand.  To navigate the cursor around the screen, just place your hands together and control the trackball with the thumb on your right hand.  I found that I wasn't able to comfortably utilize the mouse in this position, but an associate of mine easily was able to do it.

The next position we will talk about is when the Wireless Dual Mouse can be used with one hand.  The mouse has to be held in the right hand.  Although this position is comfortable, it isn't one of the better positions, mainly because it is difficult to efficiently use the keyboard.  I used this position the most when I was reading large Microsoft Word documents or lots of text on the Internet.  This is not the position to use if large amounts of typing have to be done.

Because it is cordless and can be used without a mousing surface at all, the Perific mouse would seem to be an ideal device for the frequent traveler as well.



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