Most people use computer mice for years without any complaints. But if you’re a member of a growing minority, you wince in pain every time you grab your mouse. That’s because most mice force you to adopt a palm-down posture that puts extra tension on the wrist and forearm. Evoluent’s innovative VerticalMouse 2 relieves this stress by letting your hand assume a more natural, relaxed position.
You hold the VerticalMouse with your hand perpendicular to the desktop, as if you’re shaking hands. The curved outer surface sports three buttons and a scroll wheel that are operated with your index, middle, and ring fingers. Your thumb rests in a contoured groove on the inside surface, where there’s also a fourth button. (Evoluent sells a mirror-image version for left-handed users, but it does cost £23 more.)
I’ve been using conventional mice for more than 20 years, so the VerticalMouse felt awkward for the first few days. As I became accustomed to the new grip, though, I began to appreciate a small, but definite gain -my arm was less tense after long sessions at the Mac. (Macworld editors who suffer from chronic pain report an even greater improvement.)
On the downside, the VerticalMouse is bulkier than most mice, so it’s a bit harder to control. And, since Evoluent doesn’t provide a Mac-compatible driver, not all of the buttons work when you first take the mouse out of the box and connect it to your computer. The upper button clicks, the middle button control-clicks, and the wheel scrolls, but that’s it. To use all the buttons, you’ll need Alessandro Montalcini’s excellent shareware driver, USB Overdrive ($20; www.usboverdrive.com). (USB Overdrive also lets you programme the buttons to perform special operations such as control clicking or turning up your Mac’s volume, so it’s a worthwhile investment.)
Even without factoring in USB Overdrive, the VerticalMouse 2 is more than three times as expensive as some optical mice. But that may be a small price to pay for added comfort, especially if you’re already in pain.