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OrthoVia OrthoMouse review

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Summary

Our Score

7/10

Review Price free/subscription

The task to find both an ergonomic yet practical mouse is one that, at least in our eyes, hasn't yet been fulfilled. There are certainly plenty of comfortable ones, but invariably they involve taking a massive step down in usability as the way you hold them reduces accuracy and they also tend to lack features. Hoping to provide a truly workable ergonomic solution is OrthoVia with its OrthoMouse.

Developed by Jelio Segalle, a brazilian surgeon, over the course of many years and with many prototypes and refinements along the way, the OrthoMouse certainly has had some thought behind it. The question is, can it deliver the goods?

Key to the OrthoMouse's design, like most of these ergonomic mice, is the way it holds your hand in a more vertical, and thus natural, position and provides more support for your hand. This reduces strain on the wrist, pressure on the heel of the hand, and tension in your fingers. However, unlike some ergonomic mice that essentially leave it at that, Jelio has also thought about the usability of the mouse.

Instead of mounting the sensor bang in the middle of the mouse, OrthoVia has it positioned at the point where your fingers and thumb meet, somewhat like it were the nib of a pen. This gives the mouse a far more accurate feel, allowing you to make small movements with just your fingers just as you would with a normal mouse while maintaining an overall more comfortable position.

The combination works very well as we instantly noticed an improvement in comfort, particularly when it came to pain from pressure at the heel of the hand – the bit that normally acts as the pivot for conventional mouse movements. However, unlike some similar mice, like the Microsoft Natural Wireless 6000 and 3M Ergonomic Mouse, we were still able to maintain a decent level of accuracy, meaning everyday work was largely unaffected. That said, the sensor is a fairly basic optical one, rather than laser or Bluetrack, so didn't track all that well on shiny surfaces – a decent dedicated mouse mat is a must.

Due to its sloping sides and hard plastic surface, it's also not the easiest mouse to pick up for when making large movements, though you do get the hang of it over time. A couple of patches of rubber where the thumb and little finger sit would have sorted this out.

The next trick up the OrthoMouse's sleeve is its modularity. Both the back end and the top section that sits between your thumb and fingers can be removed and replaced, with a choice of three sections for the back and two for the top. The back section essentially reduces or increases the amount of support the palm and heel of the hand get. The longest provides the most comfort, lifting your entire hand off the table or mouse mat but, because of this, it makes it more difficult to use your fingers for movement so you lose accuracy. Meanwhile the smallest almost completely eliminates wrist support, leaving only the angle of your hand and the button positions to provide the ergonomic improvements. We found ourselves sticking to the medium size piece as it provides a good compromise.

As for the top removable section, we rather failed to see what the point in this was as our hand didn't really come into contact with it at all. One provides smoother, lower profile than the other so we guess if you have really big hands it might be more comfortable.

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PGrGr

June 30, 2010, 12:54 pm

I've been using a Microsoft Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 for several years now for day to day use. I'm not a PC gamer, but I do frequently spend upwards of 10 hours doing conventional desktop computing with this mouse. I'm the first to criticise MS, but as far as this mouse goes, I have to say, it's been excellent. I recently recommended one to a colleague who has been suffering wrist pain, and it's worked for him too. (I also would be happy to recommend the matching "Natural Ergonomic 4000 Keyboard").





If you have found that the MS mouse isn't that accurate, it suggests to me that you are not using it correctly, especially as other people always tell me that the sensitivity on my computer is turned too far UP when they use it.





The key is to rest your hand on the table, not the mouse, and just nudge the mouse with your fingers to move it.





Anyway, agree or not, but I would be first to recommend the MS mouse to folks with wrist pain, at a fraction of the price of the OrthoVia OrthMouse.





As for features, it's got a clickable scroll wheel and two programmable thumb buttons which I never use anyway, so no complaints there either!

Mattj

June 30, 2010, 5:00 pm

Between my Kensington Optical trackball (With a scroll ring) and a wacom tablet I haven't used a mouse for years. I've got a Logitech Wireless Comfort keyboard, a split design like the MS 4000, but seems to be a bit more durable and had a nicer keyfeel.





Also has the added convenience of making it almost impossible for anyone else to use my computer :)

paul

July 1, 2010, 1:55 am

G7 laser mouse all the way,omg £104 for a mouse ,i hope for that price it make the tea and gives you a bj.

stranded

July 1, 2010, 2:53 am

Ha ha ha... this is an ergonomic mouse? Because a doctor said??...........

Ed

July 1, 2010, 1:17 pm

@Bluepork: I find that mouse horribly inaccurate and cumbersome and the very fact it has a scroll wheel goes to show it doesn't completely address ergonomic requirements.





@paul: How does that solve things? This is an ergonomic mouse.





@Stranded: Do you actually have a point?

PGrGr

July 1, 2010, 1:28 pm

Ed,





I find I can use it with pinpoint accuracy and no pain. That's why I think you are not using it right.





The scrollwheel allows me to scroll by simply bending my index finger by a fractional amount. If I use the pointer to scroll using the arrows on the window, this means that I have to use move the entire mouse to get the pointer to the right position, which engages far more muscles in my forearm, and thus, far more strain on my wrist. I don't understand why you think the scroll wheel undermines the ergonomic credentials.

Ed

July 1, 2010, 1:37 pm

@Bluepork: Because the very action of using a scroll wheel is particularly strenuous. This is a fairly well established fact and is why a number of ergonomic mice don't have one.

Victoria

July 2, 2010, 2:18 am

A very thorough review.





As someone who has suffered from RSI it is good to see an ergonomic mouse so well thought out.


If it makes my every day working life less painful - £104 would be a snip.





@Bluepork: I was told not to rest hand or wrist on the desk as that increases twisting and flexing. The adjustable part on this mouse is so you keep your hand up. This is a slight compromise on fine movements but is important.

PGrGr

July 2, 2010, 1:33 pm

Ed,





It seems that you and I are the only people on here who actually care about this argument. Everyone else seems to be too busy waving a banner for Apple or Android!





Victoria,





You are absolutely correct in the advice you have been given, not to rest the wrist or hand on the table. However, this applies to a conventional mouse. The MS mouse allows you to rest the side of your hand ie the bit between your little finger and your wrist, on the table, which keeps your hand in a completely straight line with your forearm, so there's no strain at all on the tendons or wrist.





I am only commenting on my personal experience though. The MS mouse worked wonders for me, and for a colleague I recommended it to, and I have absolute confidence in it. If spending the extra gives you that peace of mind, then go for it.





(I will, however, shortly be releasing my personal range of diamond encrusted MS branded mice, which will cost £100,000 each - if spending even more money helps your wrist pain, I look forward to serving you as my first customer!)

Victoria

July 2, 2010, 8:57 pm

HaHa


Get enough diamonds on it - I'll take a few.

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