Evoluent are most probably not a firm you would have heard of. A small company built by Jack Lo, they make the Vertical Mouse 3 as well as a few other peripherals that are badged to make your time interacting with your PC a lot less uncomfortable.
The story of how the Vertical Mouse 3 came about is on this page and makes for interesting reading. Now let's put the theory to the test and see how this mouse really performs...
Evoluent have gone for the professional look with their packaging. With a picture on the front showing you what the mouse looks like when you're using it and plenty of blurb on the key points of the mouse, it would look good on the shelves for those wanting something professional.
The inside of the box follows the same professional looking theme. The box also has a window where you can actually see the mouse inside, a nice touch.
The mouse is packaged well with a plastic covering and everything looks fairly resilient to dodgy couriers.
The package with the Vertical Mouse 3 has almost everything you need in it. I say almost as the included driver disk does not have a Vista driver on it. This isn't a very big issue, however as the mouse has basic functions with plug and play and there is now a Vista driver available for download on Evoluent's website. I assume future versions of the mouse will have this included on the driver disk.
* Driver disk * Quick-start guide * Cardboard picture of the Verical Mouse 3 (I assume this is a temporary mouse mat)
The bundle is pretty good all in all, I wouldn't expect much more from a mouse bundle.
From Evoluent's website:
The grip is the same as an ordinary mouse, just turned sideways into a handshake position. Many users said they got used to it very quickly.
The VerticalMouse does not move sideways when clicking with normal force because the thumb naturally opposes the fingers. Pointer control is as accurate as any other good mouse when the pointer speed settings are properly adjusted.
Easy to use buttons
All 5 buttons are easily operable without contorting your fingers. The button force is light for easy clicking, but still firm enough to avoid accidental actuation.
Fits different size hands
The new shape fits larger hands as well as smaller hands better.
Prevents desk rubbing
A small lip on the bottom edge prevents the little finger from rubbing the desk.
High performance tracking
An Avago 3080 gaming grade infrared sensor tracks more accurately on many surfaces than most laser sensors. The Rev 2 has a button and indicator light on the bottom for cycling the true optical hardware resolution among 4 settings: 2600, 1800, 1300, and 800 dpi. This makes adjusting pointer speed easier and further improves tracking.
Programmable buttons (XP Pro, XP Home, Vista 32)
5 buttons are each programmable with different functions in different applications. For example, a button can be Double Click in one application and Ctrl in another application.
Special functions (XP Pro, XP Home, Vista 32)
Speed toggle - cycle among up to 3 pointer speed settings with a keyboard shortcut or mouse button. For example, a high speed for ordinary tasks, and a slow speed for graphics work.
Auto click - automatically perform a single or double click by pausing the pointer. Adjustable time delay for activation.
Click lock - press and hold a button momentarily to simulate continued pressing without holding down the button. Adjustable time delay for activation.
Break Reminder - visual and/or audio alerts to remind you to take a break.
The VerticalMouse 3 can be repositioned without moving the pointer:
Slide it without moving the pointer. Tilt it slightly to disable tracking.
▪ Includes driver for Windows XP Pro, XP Home, and Vista 32 for programming all 5 buttons. ▪ The driver is not required. The VerticalMouse 3 still has basic functionality without it. ▪ Freeware driver for Windows Vista (32 and 64 bit), XP x64, 2003, and 2000 at www.highrez.co.uk/downloads/XMouseButtonControl.htm Although it is freeware, please make a donation to the author if you like it. (Evoluent has no business relationship with this vendor.) ▪ USB only. Not compatible with PS2.
▪ 2 buttons and a scroll wheel in OS X 10.4.5 or newer without a driver: Click here to see why Evoluent does not supply a Mac driver. ▪ www.usboverdrive.com offers a shareware Mac driver that enables button programming. (Evoluent has no business relationship with this vendor.) ▪ USB port.
Unix ▪ Not compatible.
▪ 5 buttons in XFree 4.0.1 or higher and Knoppix Linux 3.9 or higher without a driver: left click (top), right click (middle), middle click (bottom), middle click (wheel), right click (thumb). ▪ USB port.
▪ Resolution: 800-2600 dpi true optical hardware resolution ▪ Dimensions: L 4.45" (113 mm), W 3.15" (80 mm), H 3.03" (77 mm) ▪ Cable: 6.6' (2 m)
With a dpi resolution of up to 2600, the Vertical Mouse 3's specs certainly look pretty good. Now lets take a look at the actual mouse.
The Evoluent Vertical Mouse is very different from your run-of-the-mill mice that we see throughout the web every day. Your hand does not rest on the mouse flat, instead it stays level as if you were holding a glass or cup. Evoluent claim that this is a far more natural style for holding a mouse.
First impressions of the mouse are favourable. The plastic is a sort of mat black and is quite tactile to the touch. The front is a more smooth plastic and the thumb button is a slick plastic. The colour scheme and look of the mouse is pretty neat in my opinion.
As you can see the Vertical Mouse has 3 buttons that your fingers rest on, as well as the normal click/scroll wheel. I will comment on use later on in the review. The silver effect is actually quite pleasing to the eye.
The feet of the mouse are round and quite small but they seem to glide across the surface pretty well. One of the major bug-bears I have with the Vertical Mouse is that the laser DPI selector is on the bottom of the mouse, making it impossible for on-the-fly sensitivity switching.
The cord on the mouse is made of plastic and feels pretty sturdy, although it's slightly lacking in the braided quality that the Logitech G5 offers
As this is a new style of mouse I thought that the positioning of the hands was pretty critical so I am going to say a little about it here. The Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3 is designed for your hands to sit in a vertical fashion (as the name suggests). Here's what it means:
This is quite different to how I normally hold a mouse and certainly took some getting used to. It is actually very comfortable, but takes time for you to adjust to as at first it feels very uncomfortable.
The buttons are positioned very well and all are both easy to reach and well designed for your hand. The only small quibble I had after I had gotten used to the mouse was that the thumb button was a little too easy to push in and so I inadvertantly pushed it a couple of times.
The mouse literally fits right into your hand and I must say I was impressed.
One thing to note is that people with very small hands may find it hard to use. My fiancée found it pretty hard to get to grips with the mouse when I asked her to try it out.
Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3 (Rev 2) Page: 3 Test Setup
To give you an idea of what the mouse is like I have set up the Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3 on my main PC and used it for about two weeks.
Intel Xeon 3070 @ 3.6GHz Abit IP35 Pro 2gb Cellshock DDR800 @ DDR1100 5-5-5-15 Gainward 8800 Ultra 2 x Hitachi Deskstar 7K160 Tagan 1100w PSU Custom Lian Li PC71b Custom Watercooling Dell 2405 FPW Monitor Saitek Eclipse II Keyboard
I used a variety of mousemats to test:
Icemat V1 Free hard mousemat Office-style cloth mousemat
For a comparison I am using the Logitech G5 mouse.
As the Evoluent Vertical Mouse is intended for Office and Professional use, mainly aimed at those with mouse-related injuries, the Vertical Mouse 3 does have a gaming grade laser in it. Here is what I will use for testing:
* Adobe Photoshop detailed photo-editing
* Macromedia Fireworks banner making
* Microsoft Office work (general including Outlook, Excel, Access, Word and Powerpoint)
* General web browsing/article writing
* Gaming: FPS - Counter Strike: Source
* Gaming: RTS - Command and Conquer 3
This should cover a good range of situations that you would use the mouse in.
Also note I have lived with and used the mouse for two weeks for fairness.
Note that Evoluent sent me their keyboard and keyboard rest too. Although the keyboard wasn't to my taste (I am not a fan of laptop -style keyboards), the rest is excellent for keyboard use.
Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3 (Rev 2) Page: 4 Below are the listed test results. I have completed all of the application specific tests using the Icemat V1, the surface tests are below these.
I used Evoluent's own software for button assignment. "Evoluent Mouse Manager" was very good and worked fine with Windows Vista, which is more than many companies can say about their software.
Adobe Photoshop detailed photo-editing
Using the mouse in Adobe Photoshop was very smooth and precise. Turning up the DPI to 1300 helped, but I found 1800 and 2600DPI far too sensitive for this work.
The mouse was comfortable to use and being able to assign buttons to different tasks in the Evoluent software was handy.
Macromedia Fireworks banner making
Fireworks was much like photoshop. The mouse performed very well and was very smooth. Again the higher DPI adjustment was not needed.
Microsoft Office work (general including Outlook, Excel, Access, Word and Powerpoint)
Using Office for general spreadsheet/word processing was again a pleasant experience. I really noticed that using the mouse made it more comfortable when entering data in tables and editing spreadsheets for a long period of time.
General web browsing/article writing
Again general web browsing was made more comfortable by the Vertical Mouse 3, with one exception. I found that quite often I found myself pressing the silver thumb button on the mouse - specified as back (as I do on all my mice). This button is too easy to push in and so a couple of times I went backwards when I didn't mean to.
This aside, the third finger button at the bottom is very useful once you get used to it and this further enhanced my browsing experience.
Gaming: FPS - Counter Strike: Source
Gaming on the Evoluent Vertical Mouse was pretty hard to get used to at first, but some perseverance eventually paid off and I was fragging away as normal (albeit my normal poor standard!). The mouse glides pretty smoothly over the surface and I found that 1800DPI was the best point for my fast-twitch gaming. 2600DPI saw me over-shooting the mark and it was basically impossible to play the game.
Although the Vertical Mouse isn't specifically designed for FPS, if you're a bit of a part time player the mouse certainly shouldn't affect your game after you've gotten used to it. I would even say that the button assigning helps you out as that third finger button is right where you need it.
Gaming: RTS - Command and Conquer 3
Gaming in Command and Conquer was also pretty nice, but the one thing I really missed was having on-the-fly DPI switching. It's very useful in CNC3 to have this as it allows you to scroll the whole screen in one movement. This aside, the mouse was smooth and responsive and a pleasure to play for long periods...without arm-ache.
The Icemat v1 was a good choice to use with the Vertical mouse and it glided up the smooth surface with ease, even without teflon mouse pads. At higher DPI's, however, the hard surface meant that the mouse was far too twitchy.
Free hard surface mousemat
The free hard mousemat I have is a good indicator of whether a mouse can work on all surfaces. The Vertical Mouse took it in it's stride and tracked well across the surface once again.
Office type cloth mousemat
To simulate office use I borrowed a cloth mousemat from the office. The Evoluent mouse again was comfortable and the higher-DPI settings seemed easier to use on this surface. It's a bit of a shame that I didn't have a gaming grade cloth surface as I feel this would be perfectly suited to the Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3.
The Vertical Mouse stood up to all of our testing very well and I was impressed with it's versatility. Perhaps not the very first choice of mouse if you are a hardcore gamer, the Vertical Mouse misses on-the-fly sensitivity changing and perhaps suffers from a little over-zealous thumb button.
These points aside I the mouse performed well in testing.
The Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3 is a step in the right direction for mice. Instead of manufacturers churning out the same old thing it's about time someone tried to innovate in the input peripherals field. After all, the mouse is one of the most important devices on your PC really..with the keyboard, it's the primary way to interact with your PC.
The Vertical Mouse 3 is a mouse that is incredibly comfortable to use once you are used to it. It certainly reduces wrist and arm pain from using a mouse and is very ergonomic to use, especially with that extra finger button.
Whilst gaming is not the Vertical Mouse's strong-point, it does still manage a good turnout in gaming and adds something with that extra button.
Pricing is a little on the expensive side for $80 US on Evoluent's site, but then you do get a very good mouse for your money.
I would especially recommend the Evoluent Vertical Mouse if you are a sufferer of wrist/arm/finger pain as it does reduce this with it's ergonomic design.
The Evoluent Vertical Mouse get's an "Innovation Award" and a big "OC3D Recommended", for daring to do something different.
+ Great ergonomics + Solid gaming performance + Excellent for professional applications + Good looking
- Expensive - On-the-fly DPI adjustment hard to use - Thumb button is a little too easy to press
*Update from Evoluent*
"dpi adjustment can also be done by software: a mouse button or keyboard shortcut can be assigned to change the pointer speed. See the Pointer Speed tab in the Mouse Manager."