Evoluent VerticalMouse 3 Wireless full review
If you’re going to spend £93 for a mouse, it had better be a mighty fine one—but after spending a few weeks getting comfortable with a new breed of ergo-rodent, I’m confident in saying that the Evoluent VerticalMouse 3 Wireless is worth every penny.
When I first met the VerticalMouse, I thought it was a gimmick. First, it’s an odd-looking beast, somewhat resembling the dorsal fin of an obese shark. Second, it seemed to be a solution in search of a problem—after all, I’ve been mousing for over 30 years and my arm feels just fine.
But after climbing the inevitable learning curve required by a new way of performing a tried-and-true operation, I freely admit that I’m a convert. Grasping the VerticalMouse with my forearm in a comfortable hand-shaking position, using its five well-placed buttons, and benefitting from its precise 1,200-dpi resolution, I’m experiencing comfort and control I never thought possible.
The reason for this added comfort is simple. With your arm at a more natural angle—that is, with your wrist at a right angle to your desk—your forearm’s bones (the radius and ulna, for you medical types) and muscles aren’t unnaturally contorted. The VerticalMouse’s buttons are … well … vertical, so clicking them is accomplished by a gentle squeeze.
Not that the VerticalMouse is perfect. Despite the mouse's sky-high price, Evoluent doesn’t provide an OS X–compatible driver—which is a shame, considering that its Windows driver is chock-full of fine customization features, such as the ability to toggle among three pointer-speed settings, click locking, and even an audio-visual break reminder. Using only OS X’s Keyboard & Mouse System Preferences pane, you’re limited to two of the VerticalMouse’s three finger-operated buttons and its scroll wheel; the third finger button, thumb button, and scroll-wheel buttons remain vestigial. Fortunately, however, those additional buttons come alive when you install the USB Overdrive or SteerMouse drivers; unfortunately, either of those utilities costs an additional $20 (£11.15)—though, to be fair, each also gives you a battery of additional controls. (I used USB Overdrive in my testing.) Moreover, there's no left-handed version available.
The VerticalMouse is a bit hefty, as well; with its two (included) AA batteries installed, it weighs a full 6.7 ounces. Some mousers may find this weight a literal drag, but I felt that it was an aid, as it helped keep the VerticalMouse from overreacting to the sideways clicking of its finger buttons.
The mouse’s interference-busting 2.4GHz wireless signal is picked up by a USB dongle, solid black save for a blue LED that tells you when it’s receiving a command. This compact 1.5-by-.5-by-.25-inch unit won’t block any adjacent USB ports, no matter how closely spaced yours are.