UNBOXED: Reviewing the Evoluent Vertical Mouse 4
Typically when we go into a computer mouse review, we’re thinking about the product in the sense of how it would translate to the computer gaming experience. Gaming mice, much like their keyboard brethren, have become a specialty kind of product for gamers, as well as everyday desktop computer users—myself included. While comfort and ease of use is definitely a major part of the standard mouse review, it’s never really been the focal point. But that’s exactly what we have with the Evoluent Vertical Mouse 4.
While there are a few options for customizability and more buttons than a standard mouse, what really sets the Evoluent Vertical Mouse 4 apart is exactly what its name suggests: this is a mouse that is literally turned on its side. The purpose of the design, according to Evoluent, is to create a more comfortable and natural form factor for the user.
Despite the prevalence of the palm-down grip design that we’ve all become accustomed to over the years, Evoluent suggests that the traditional mouse is truly hurting and creating discomfort in the wrist for a lot of users. That’s because this “standard” grip essentially twists the bones in the forearm. The Vertical Mouse, though, uses Evoluent’s handshake grip design to keep the arm in a neutral position.
It certainly makes for a funky design that’s sure to catch a lot of odd glances in the office, but the mouse really does provide a more comfortable experience over longer stretches of time.
Beyond the form factor, the Evoluent mouse has an adjustable optical sensor, a smartly designed thumb rest that has access to two customizable buttons, an extended lip rest for the pinkie, and your standard scroll wheel. Evoluent also has myriad options as far as left- and right-handed mice are concerned, adding in different color options, and wired and wireless mice.
The difficulty for me personally with the Vertical Mouse—beyond the aggressive pricing ($90)—was simply getting used to changing my grip. At times, I still found myself trying to hold the mouse like a standard, palm-down product, often grasping it like a claw with my thumb not even on the thumb rest. And though you can navigate by simply flicking your wrist left and right, I found it odd trying to move the cursor up and down the screen. Am I supposed to move my whole arm? Or should I still bend my fingers to move the mouse?
The learning curve was a big one, and I don’t think it’s one that I ever got over. But if the user is able to smoothly transition to this unique mouse design, I can absolutely see the benefits of switching your grip.