The 3M Ergonomic Mouse is in no way new, but I use one everyday and I’m often asked about it, so you’re getting a review. Most people’s first impression (including mine) of this mouse is that it’s a joystick-type mouse, but it’s not. The upright handle is completely rigid, you slide the whole mouse around on the table the way you use an ordinary mouse. The mouse comes in two sizes depending on the length of your hand but it only comes in right-handed versions. So if you’re a dedicated leftie you’ll have to make like the Borg and adapt, or keep searching.
It’s an optical mouse so it’s maintenance-free, as much as any optical mouse is, and it has left/right click buttons and a scroller button. The button under the thumb is a dual-action rocker button, press it downwards for left click, up for right. The large button under the ring and pinky (fifth) finger is the scroller. You hold it down and move the mouse back-or-forwards, or left-and-right to scroll. The scroller is annoyingly inconsistent. It scrolls fine in most webpages but not Google Reader or Flash websites. It can be hit-and miss in other software as well. Microsoft Office programs and Adobe Reader work fine, however Windows Explorer, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign don’t work. I’ve long since given up trying to use it and instead use a Griffin PowerMate with my left hand for scrolling.
The ergonomic bit of the mouse helps you by preventing pronation (twisting) of the wrist and forearm and it’s quite comfortable as your wrist and arm stay in the relaxed/neutral “hand shake” position. You don’t need to push the upright to move the mouse, you can just rest the edge of your hand on it and slide it around. The other caveat to using the 3M mouse is that you lose the very fine control of the mouse cursor. When you hold a mouse with your hand, you will switch to moving it with your fingertips if you’re doing delicate work, i.e. drawing or selecting. You can’t do this easily with the 3M Mouse as your forearm is off the desk and all the movement comes from your elbow, a joint not known for it’s fine adjustments. Still you can get by, I can Photoshop with it in a pinch. The other thing is the mouse-upright is quite high and as I lift my arm over the mouse to use the keyboard, I frequently catch the top of it and knock the mouse over. But I am clumsy.
Very comfortable and relaxing mouse to use
Scroller is very intuitive and works well when it works – see next
Scroller doesn’t work with all software or websites.
Fine control is achievable but tricky
The 3M Ergo is an extremely quirky mouse and there are quite a few tradeoffs to using one, however if you’ve got issues with your elbow or wrist, it may be just what the physiotherapist ordered. If you don’t need the therapeutic benefits, I wouldn’t touch this mouse with a pole. You can buy one for US$59.95 for the wired version or US$72.50 for the wireless and it works with PCs or Macs.
This mouse is clinically proven to alleviate pain and discomfort of repetitive stress injuries in the hand, wrist or arm associated with the use of traditional mice – which requires forearm pronation and may cause pressure on the wrist and carpal tunnel area.