The 3M EM500GPS Ergonomic Mouse looks so much like a joystick that we
initially thought we'd be moving the mouse around by tilting the
mouse's vertical grip. But looks can be deceiving.
The mouse is available in two sizes -- small/medium and large -- to suit different users. Both sizes are available at prices as low as £40 -- a decent amount for a comfortable mouse with simple functionality.
The EM500 Ergonomic Mouse functions by dragging across the desk surface, just like a traditional mouse. The unique vertical grip is designed to keep your hand, wrist and forearm in a neutral upright position -- much like a handshake -- that eliminates the forearm twisting that's blamed for some repetitive stress injuries.
You navigate by resting your hand on the base, loosely grasping the vertical grip and sliding your hand from side to side to move the cursor. There are just two buttons on the EM500: a rocking thumb button and a broad button at the fingertips. The former functions as traditional left and right clicks -- press down for left click, up for right click -- while the latter functions as a center click and scroll key. Unfortunately, these buttons are not programmable.
Aside from its unusual design, everything about the EM500 Ergonomic Mouse is simple. To use it, just plug it into your computer's USB port or a PS/2 port using the included adaptor. No software is required, though we had to increase the mouse sensitivity in the Control Panel to account for the unique shape.
Once we'd adjusted the sensitivity so the cursor traveled farther with less movement, we found the mouse's optical sensor very accurate and sensitive. We were surprised at how quickly we adapted to the unusual mouse shape.
We were also surprised that we used the EM500 Ergonomic Mouse as our primary mouse for nearly a week without pain -- quite a feat, considering we've been mousing left-handed for years and a few hours with a traditional right-handed mouse usually results in a dull ache. Of course, we'd prefer to have a left-handed version, but sadly 3M does not offer one.
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday