Bakker Elkhuizen Evoluent Mouse C ergonomic mouse
A lot of office equipment is poorly designed for the human body and can cause long-term repetitive strain injury. Bakker Elkhuizen’s ergnomic mouse is here to save your wrist.
Given that millions of worker drones around the world use the standard computer office equipment for hours every day, for days at a time, when this equipment is actually designed to work with our bodies the better it is for us in every respect. Split and angled keyboards are an option for a more natural, relaxed typing position, but the humble mouse is often overlooked as a key potential contributor to better desk-bound health and efficiency.
Our first thought when we saw the Evoluent C ergonomic mouse was, "That’s one weird-looking mouse. Kind of like a silver shark fin covered in buttons and lights." Our second thought was, "Blimey, £150 is a lot of money for a mouse - even if it is shaped like a weird-looking silver shark fin covered in buttons and lights".
Having used this mouse all day, every day for a month, our third thought and final conclusion is, "This is a really good mouse, a world of right-arm comfort away from all the standard point-and-click devices we’ve used."
When you’re using a device all day, every day, the more human-centric the design, the more natural the operation. There’s no going back once you’ve experienced a superior tool.
Bakker Elkhuizen, the company behind this mouse, offers a wide range of ergonomic mice, as well as other office equipment, under the banner of "luxury and modern design for comfortable working". All of the products are designed to reduce the specific strains placed on the typical human body sitting in a chair all day and working with a laptop or desktop computer. Thanks for thinking of us worker drones, Bakker.
Although we might rarely, if ever, think about how we use a mouse - being an action that we perform instinctively hundreds of times in a working week - once you consider it more critically, it does obviously present a number of problems. The constant reaching out to the side, having to turn our wrist in a contrary direction to take control of the mouse, our palm and fingers clenched to keep hold of the mouse and operate its controls: these unnatural postures are far from ideal.
An ergonomic mouse design turns the traditional operation on its head - or at least on its side. The ‘handshake’ position of vertical mice helps prevent the wrist from bending or twisting so much, keeping it in a more neutral position, while the forearm inward twist is also greatly reduced, along with muscle activity. Once you try it, you immediately feel the difference.
After a short initial period of adjustment, rewiring years of ingrained mouse-oriented muscle memory, we settled into using the Mouse C Ergonomic. The curved shape fitted our palm comfortably, with the thumb naturally falling into its concave space and our little finger resting on the right-hand lower lip. This lip is useful for tilting the mouse in order to pick it up or move it without changing the cursor position.
The concave thumb chamber also has two buttons above and below the thumb, which are set up out of the box to move back and forth between web pages (last page, next page) but can also be configured to control other actions with the Mouse Manager software. The Mouse Manager software can be used to tailor any of the five buttons on the mouse.
Out of the box, you have standard left and right-click buttons, onto which your first and third fingers fall naturally, with a nice smooth scroll wheel just below your first finger. In the middle of these two buttons is a third button, which has different functionality depending on context. In a Word document, for example, or on a web page, clicking the third button places a scroll icon on the page. Positioning the cursor above or below this icon then automatically scrolls the page, the speed of scroll determined by how far away from the icon you position the cursor. In a web browser or for web links, clicking a link with the third button immediately opens the linked page or document in a new tab.
A small button located just back from the scroll wheel sets the cursor speed around the screen, with four speed options to cycle through - 500/1000/1500/2000 Mickeys - ranging from "tortoise slow" to "Speedy Gonzales fast". The slow mode is great for precision work and it’s great that you can adjust this on the fly from the mouse itself. For day-to-day standard office tasks, we settled on third gear.
The current "gear" is indicated by the row of blue LED lights on the upper silver fascia. Talking of blue LED lights, the Evoluent name is also picked out in blue on the black side of the mouse, which looks pretty cool and is, indeed, merely "pure eye candy", in the words of the company. All the lights turn off when you put your computer to sleep.
We used this mouse with both our Windows 7 office PC and an Apple MacBook Pro running macOS Sierra 10.12.5. No problems whatsoever. Our only issue is that the three buttons are sufficiently sensitive - in a good way - such that if you try to lift the mouse whilst holding it near the top (e.g. with your thumb in the concave space), your fingers will almost certainly trigger some action or series of actions as you tighten your grip. The way to lift the mouse is to drop the thumb down to the base on the left-hand side and use the lip and your little finger on the right-hand side for balance. This works perfectly, with no accidental clicks. The mouse isn't heavy, either, so there’s no strain involved in the lifting.
We should also note here that we were testing the right-handed cabled version, which comes with a generous length of USB cable (shy of one metre). A left-handed version is also available. Bluetooth versions are also an option, if you prefer a wire-free desktop, although they will require regular recharging. The wired version, Bakker Elkhuizen told us, is a popular choice for large companies, as they naturally mean less maintenance for the IT guys.
We really like the Evoluent Mouse C. Any other mouse is going to seem like hard work after this and if you’re still suffering from sticker shock, consider the return on investment for something that you will probably be using for many hours, every day, for years to come. Your mouse arm will definitely thank you.