Does Your Old Mouse Make Your Wrist Ache? See why the Evoluent Mouse is the Best.
Evoluent Mouse Review
I know right when my wrist problems started- about six months after I started playing an online first-person-shooter game called CrossFire. I had always played some online games- but generally slower-paced, more "cerebral" games like StarCraft. After about six months of running, jumping, spinning and shooting my way to winning the ACE award in matches I played I noticed my wrist would be sore after an hour or so of playing. Over the next six months it took less and less time before my wrist would start to feel sore when playing and it took longer and longer for the pain to go away after I stopped. I stopped playing that game altogether but found that my wrist would start hurting after just a few minutes of using the mouse for anything. I started paying attention to those carpal tunnel treatment ads on TV.
Before resorting to a doctor’s appointment to see about potential surgery I decided to research changing my mouse. I read about RSI (repetitive stress injury) and the way that using a mouse can cause carpal tunnel damage. I was considering switching to a trackball type mouse which has you using your finger or thumb to move the cursor on the screen rather than moving the entire mouse with your wrist. It is sort of like an upside-down ball mouse. I have used that type of mouse before when using someone else’s computer and found that it just wasn’t quick and accurate enough for me. Also my wrist seemed to hurt just by placing it on my desk in the position to use a regular mouse or a trackball mouse. It was as though my wrist hurt simply from being in that position. What was I going to do?
Looking for mouse reviews and including terms like RSI and carpal tunnel I ran across a type of mouse I had never seen before- it seemed to stand up on its side. This was the Evoluent mouse. When I went to their website and read more I learned about how the way we have to twist our arm to put it in the position to use a mouse on a desk- it is not a natural position for the arm to be in for an extended amount of time. The two bones of the forearm- the Radius and Ulna- have to twist around each other to put your hand in a "palm down" position. This isn’t how an arm at rest is held. You can see this for yourself by letting your hands fall into your lap. For most people their arms at rest won’t be completely palms down- the arm will naturally stay turned inward so that the palm is facing somewhere between facing down and facing to the side. This is called the "handshake" position- for obvious reasons. The people at Evoluent have designed a mouse that works in this more natural handshake position. They kept the format of the mouse basically the same as the traditional mouse that everyone is used to using- they just turned it up on its side so that you can have your hand in a much more comfortable position and you can support the weight of your hand and forearm by spreading that weight across the thumb, palm and the webbing in-between. So much more comfortable.
Though a little pricy (I got mine for about $75 with a coupon) I ordered one and thought it is a small price to pay if it saves me from surgery-and probably less than even my insurance co-pay would cost. It came in a rather nondescript box (no fancy Apple packaging) with a little paper with brief instructions and a mini-cd with the drivers that will let you program the buttons and some special features. When I plugged it in my Windows 7 computer recognized it right away and set it up for use as a standard mouse.
Finally a touch of fanciness for my $75- the Evoluent name in blue lit up on the back of the mouse and it was ready to use. It took almost no time to get used to using it to move the cursor and to click on icons. Right-click was a little trickier because by default the bottom-most button is set for that- but that means right-clicking with my fourth finger. I kept clicking the middle button by mistake when trying to right-click as that is where my third finger rested- and that is my "right-click finger." So I installed that software that came with the mouse and reprogrammed that button so that the middle button would do right-click. The real test was yet to come- would it game?
I tried it in StarCraft 2 first and found that without having really gotten used to using it as a mouse yet I was already feeling it was 90% accurate. I had to concentrate a little more to make sure I clicked the units I intended to click but it was accurate enough that I wasn’t going to be able to blame any game loses on the mouse! And even more importantly- I wasn’t getting that all too familiar ache in my wrist after a few minutes of playing. After playing a number of games of StarCraft 2 I think I got my accuracy with the mouse up to about 95%- which was good enough. I could tell that I would probably never get back to 100% accuracy like I had with my traditional mouse just because of the limited contact my hand now had with the desk. With the Evoluent mouse the only part of your hand that might contact the desk is the edge of your little finger. And the mouse has a built in lip along the bottom so that your little finger can rest on it rather than dragging on the desk- so you have to make some effort to have your finger touch the desk. The thing about touching the desk is that it truly allows you fingertip control of the mouse and absolute precision. I don’t think you can ever get that kind of exacting precision with your wrist and arm. But as I said, for StarCraft 2- good enough.
After a week of using the mouse I found my wrist feeling better all the time and the sudden aches that would sometimes hit and last for a few minutes for seemingly no reason became less frequent. And then I got the bright idea- I wonder if could go back to playing CrossFire without my wrist hurting? I hadn’t played the game in over a year and it was probably dumb to risk reinjuring my wrist right when it was finally starting to heal- but that is what I did. I found that this mouse did not have the finger tip sensativity of my old mouse, and so I really stank at the game using the old mouse. Some of it was just being rusty at the game but I could tell that using a mouse that didn’t offer the fingertip control that I would never get back to my 1.5 KDR days of old. But if that was my biggest worry in life what right did I have to complain?
This mouse was studied and evaluated by Heath Service at UC Berkley and it is the only mouse they recommended for UC Berkely staff. And I second their opinion. Buy one and save your wrist today.
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