Microsoft’s hardware division has delivered some top quality peripherals for 25 years now (well, the quality in the early days would be laughable by current standards). Their focus on improved ergonomics has been an important part of that evolution, and now their latest offering – the Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 – attempts to take a big leap forward in mouse comfort. I’ve been using it full-time for the last couple of weeks to see how big a difference this new slanted design makes to wrist comfort. It takes some getting used to, but it is a definite improvement. My big question: why did they stop at a slant when a true ergonomic mouse should go into a vertical handshake orientation? Read on for my thoughts on why this feels like a missed opportunity to those looking for real relief from strain at the desktop.This mouse has all the style and features one could ask for from Microsoft. It’s all just tilted to the side to shift the hand into a more comfortable position, resting on the edge of the hand rather than twisted into a straight down position. As soon as you hold this you remember your hand is more natural and more relaxed when sitting on its side.
But this is the issue. Moving your hand into this position gives a regular reminder your hand would be more comfortable if it went *just a little further*. You can sort of use this mouse if you completely rest your hand on its side, but you just aren’t quite holding the mouse when you do.
Check out the Evoluent VerticalMouse to see a mouse that puts your hand right where it should be. That’s a good design, though it is an ugly piece of work that fails to offer any buttons beyond left-right-scroll basics. If this positioning had been adopted by Microsoft and given their polish and features, this would be an absolute ‘buy now’.
As it stands, it is $99 well spent for those having trouble right now (or you could import an Evoluent from an online store). But I hope we see a second generation design that goes the extra few inches to put this on an axis that makes for a true ‘natural’ wireless mouse. Microsoft Hardware][