by Jamie Fletcher on October 15, 2010 in Peripherals
To help combat things such as RSI, companies have long been developing ergonomic peripherals, and for the most part, most of them are predictable. But Smartfish has looked outside the box and developed a mouse like no other we’ve ever seen, and whether or not that’s a good thing… we’re here to find out.
Smartfish is a new company in the ergonomic mouse arena, and probably a company that you have never heard of before. Its latest product under review today is the ErgoMotion Laser Mouse. Nothing immediately screams ‘ergonomic’, no interchangeable parts, no fancy shapes. It looks like a plain old mouse, until you look at it from the side… then its main feature will become apparent.
When the sample arrived, I was greeted with the bane of all electronic devices… that of the blister pack. Fortunately, it had already been skilfully opened (probably to make sure I received a working sample). It is simple in design and a few pictures will help show you how the mouse works. All that is included is the mouse, the popular nano-receiver, a pair of AA batteries and a very small, easy to read booklet. There are no drivers to install; it is pure plug and play joy.
Once taken out of the packaging, the main selling point becomes clear… the body of the mouse pivots upon a base plate. This is a very interesting concept, and one that some of you may appreciate straight away.
As you move the mouse around, your hand naturally wants to lean into the direction you are moving, the pivoting mechanism allows your hand to effectively float about the surface. For me, the motion was a little strange at first, and I wasn’t sure what to make of it, or even how to use it to reduce strain.
The first few days of use had no real affect; if anything it aggravated the strain in my hand. This can be normal for people adapting to a new mouse design. I use a variety of mice, including a Razer Lachesis and an original Boomslang, a Logitech Trackman trackerball and a Wacom Bamboo Graphics Tablet. The two Razer mice are quite low profile, ambidextrous designs, something I’ve grown accustomed to over the years.
Why the pain? Probably comes down to not using the mouse properly. I tend to use high DPI settings to minimise hand and arm movement, so my natural inclination is to move the mouse with my hand and fingers, rather than my arm. When the ErgoMotion mouse is used with your arm and locked wrist, the benefit can be noticed immediately.