Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3 and Mouse Friendly Keyboard

robgs - 2007-06-24 21:29:04 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: robgs   
Reviewed on: June 26, 2007
Evoluent
Evoluent
Price: $30.00 - $80.00 USD

Introduction:

Have you ever felt numbness or even pain in your fingers, hands, or forearms after long hours spent at your computer? Arguably, one of the most serious conditions related to working with computers is carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome has been attributed primarily to some form of repetitive motion or bending of the wrist that compresses the median nerve. Is there a solution? There may just be.

The Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3 and the Mouse Friendly Keyboard with the Posture Right wrist support are products designed to help reduce or eliminate these symptoms. The awkward angles and positions that most mice and keyboards force the hands and wrists to bend are significantly reduced with these products.

Evoluent is an American company that has its beginnings accredited to an entrepreneur named Jack Lo. The company was based solely around one product, the ergonomic Vertical Mouse. As a new and innovative idea, it took some time for the Vertical Mouse idea to catch on. Because of its popularity, the Vertical Mouse has led to other ergonomically efficient products and Evoluent has added the Mouse-Friendly Keyboard and Posture Right wrist support to its line up.

 

Closer Look:

There doesn’t seem to be any common theme to the packaging of these products except for the Evoluent name.


The packaging of the Vertical Mouse is very nicely laid out with full descriptions and even some skeletal diagrams to show the corrective wrist positioning that the mouse promotes.

 

 

The Mouse-Friendly Keyboard box displays all of the features on the back as well as pictures to demonstrate the small size.

 

And finally, the wrist support used in conjunction with the keyboard has very simple packaging. The wrist support material can be felt through a hole in the plastic cover to give an idea of what this gel pad feels like.

 

Closer Look:

The Vertical Mouse’s odd shape is the most noticeable difference from standard mice, and is the factor that really sets it apart. The contents of the box are the Evoluent Vertical Mouse, and the installation CD.

 

 

 


This mouse features five buttons, including the clickable scrolling wheel.

 


The Mouse-Friendly Keyboard is nicely packaged in bubble-wrap to ensure it doesn’t get damaged. No installation CD is included, so this keyboard is not programmable.

 


The keyboard is quite compact and has the look and feel of a laptop keyboard. Also, the number pad is on the left side, an obvious change from traditional keyboards. The Posture Right wrist support and Mouse-Friendly Keyboard definitely fit together well.

Installation:

To get things rolling, it's time to install the Vertical Mouse. As stated on the box the drivers are not required, but are necessary for full functionality. First plug the USB connector into a spare USB port and insert the installation CD. Then follow the on-screen instructions.

 

 

 


The Vertical Mouse is PS/2 and USB compatible so users can choose which they prefer.

 


Choose the destination directory for the install and select “Next”. Now just wait while the driver is installed.

 


The Mouse Friendly Keyboard was a snap to install, as there is no associated driver or software to go with it. It is just a matter of plugging the keyboard into a free USB slot and start using it.

Configuration:

Once the driver and software are installed, there should be a green “E” in the task bar. Clicking on it will open the Evoluent Mouse Manager software. Notice that any new tab in the mouse configuration utility related to the Vertical Mouse now has a green “E” beside it. In the first tab of the view pane it is possible to configure each of the five buttons on the Vertical Mouse. There are a whole host of possible selections and combinations to choose from, which is very nice to see.

 

 

 


In the next tab you can choose the pointer that you like, which is the same as the original Windows mouse configuration utility.


The tab next to the “Pointers” tab is the “Pointer Speed” tab. Here there are a few more options to choose from. The original main pointer speed slider is available and below that is the configuration of hotkeys to activate different pointer speeds on-the-fly. This is very useful to quickly change pointer speed for different tasks. This can be especially useful when switching between programs where you may need more accuracy and a slower mouse speed. Three different pointer speeds can be configured and assigned to separate hotkeys.


Next is the “Wheel” tab. This is where number of lines to scroll and other options can be found. Also, this mouse supports a feature known as “Accelerated Scrolling”, which allows more lines to be scrolled when quickly moving the wheel.

Configuration Continued:

 

The “Hardware” tab is the default Windows driver options tab. 

 

 

 

 

The “Click” tab allows selection of the behavior for each of the mouse buttons. Some notable features are “Click Lock”, which will simulate continuously holding down the mouse button even after the button is released, and “Auto Click”, which will automatically click the mouse button if the mouse pointer is stopped in a clickable area.

 

 

And finally the, “Break” tab allows the configuration of an increment timer that programs the computer to automatically remind the user when a break is an order. This is to help reduce damage from the continuous strain of repetitive motion such as typing.

 

 

The Vertical Mouse is very high resolution and can be set to 800, 1,300, 1,800 or 2,600 DPI. On the under-side of the mouse there is a small button that, when depressed, will change the DPI of the mouse through a series of corresponding colors. The settings are as follows:

 

800 DPI Off
1,300 DPI Blue
1,800 DPI Purple
2,600 DPI Red

 

Installing and configuring the Vertical Mouse and the Mouse Friendly keyboard is a relatively straight forward and simple task. Now to test the functionality of these components.

Specifications:


Vertical Mouse 3:


Mouse Friendly Keyboard:


Features:


Vertical Mouse 3:


Mouse Friendly Keyboard:

Testing:


This review was written over the course of several weeks, testing the combination in a variety of applications, from word processing to gaming. The best way to test out ergonomically geared components is to simply put them through some extensive use, after all.



Test Setup:



Vertical Mouse 3:

The Vertical Mouse 3 definitely took some time to get used to. Its shape and button layout made it difficult to reposition, as I am the type of mouse user that will from time to time lift the mouse and reposition it instead of having to increase the mouse speed. As I read through the literature on this mouse I found a happy medium in Evoluent’s suggestion to slightly tilt the mouse, reposition, and set it down again. This worked wonderfully for my little quirk. The bottom side of my wrist would get sore after a few hours of game play with a regular mouse, and I would just grin and bear it. But with the Vertical Mouse 3 the discomfort after extended mouse use has disappeared.


Being able to choose from four different DPI resolutions is definitely an added bonus in addition to being comfortable. The lower resolutions of 800 and 1,300 DPI were very effective while performing tasks that didn’t require lightning reaction times like web surfing and word processing. Conversely, the higher resolutions of 1,800 and 2,600 DPI were amazing playing my favorite games.


The biggest drawback to this mouse is the time it takes to get completely used to the vertical position. It only took about two days to initially adjust to the ergonomic position of the Vertical Mouse 3, but just enough to be able to use it comfortably on some tasks. It took longer, though, to get comfortable enough to regain skill and dexterity while gaming. This mouse also requires a light touch to keep from hitting some of the buttons inadvertently. Of course, this is only one person's experience. The learning curve will vary depending on the user.


Mouse Friendly Keyboard and the Posture Right wrist support:

The Mouse Friendly Keyboard was very easy to get used to. I found the keypad to be very precise and, because I am so used to using my laptop for word processing, the laptop feel of the keyboard was very familiar. All of the pre-programmed hot buttons worked flawlessly and I found myself using them more than other keyboards with similar keys. It took some time to get used to the new position of the keypad and some of the other keys like the “del”, “home”, “end”, “pgup”, “pgdn” and “ins”. After getting used to the new position it was business as usual, except with much more comfort.


The Posture Right wrist support in combination with the Mouse Friendly Keyboard were very comfortable. With the soft gel feel, it only took a couple of days and I could really feel a difference in how my wrists felt after some long typing sessions.

Conclusion:

 

The Vertical Mouse 3 is a major improvement and step in the right direction with respect to mice and ergonomics. My initial reaction to the Vertical Mouse was one of skeptical curiosity, as its shape can be misleading. I eventually found the smooth feel of the mouse, the comfort and the precise movement to overshadow any of my previous assumptions. It must be said that this is not a gaming mouse even though it has the high resolutions of one. I found the mouse very useful and comfortable for everyday computing, but more difficult to use for gaming as it requires a very soft touch. The height of the mouse also becomes an issue if you use a keyboard drawer. Check the dimensions of this mouse against the height of your keyboard drawer to ensure a proper fit.

The Mouse Friendly Keyboard and Posture Right wrist support are a very complementary pair. The keyboard is solid and has a snappy click to each keystroke. The keyboard layout is easy to get used to and the multimedia shortcut keys work very well. The Mouse Friendly Keyboard is very compact making easy to fit on my keyboard drawer while allowing more room for my mouse. The comfort that the Posture Right wrist support offers helps complete this triad of ergonomic Evoluent peripherals.

Evoluent has hit on an area in the peripheral market that definitely needed some attention. With the personal computer being used more and more at work and at play, the need for comfortable and health oriented peripherals has become more important. Since repetitive stress disorders get worse with time and continued unhealthy practices, the sooner we start to use products better for us, the better off we’ll be.

 

Pros:

 

 

Cons: