Forever trying to make what is probably the most used device on our computer easier to use, Microsoft has launched the Microsoft Natural Wireless Laser 6000 Mouse, a more ergonomically friendly mouse designed to reduce the risk of getting RSI. We get scrolling to find out whether it works.
According to Microsoft the average desktop worker spends approximately 6 hours each day on a PC. We all know that poor wrist and hand posture over time can cause pain and possibly permanent damage.
With this in mind, Microsoft's latest mouse, which is about the size of a tennis ball, has an elevated thumb scoop shelf to maintain hand rotation and to reduce pressure on the carpal tunnel and a rounded shape that more closely matches the relaxed curve of the hand to reduce finger extension.
There is also an angled profile which promises to reduce wrist pronation (turning or rotating) and the vertical right side allows the side of the hand to rest comfortably on the desk while improving wrist posture.
According to one Microsoft spokesman "Hold your hand down by your side and let your hand go loose, it's the shape your hand is now, that the Natural Mouse is designed for".
All very well, but does it work? So far, having used the mouse for a good 20 hours or so, we would have to say that while it was a little bit uncomfortable at first, we are starting to like the position our hand sits in. We say uncomfortable, but this really means not the static position our hand was resting in, but the new thought process that you have to adopt to move your hand when it's in a slightly different position to how you normally have it.
Comfortable to hold, the aesthetics of the Natural Wireless Laser 6000 are also very good with plenty of rubber grips. Buttons are tactile enough to give a solid but light "touch" feel and there are a number of buttons (four plus the scroll wheel) to customise.
While the scroll wheel isn't as dynamic as Logitech's latest Revolution offering, it's none the less easy to use and features up and down as well as left to right scrolling.
At almost the size of a tennis ball, the idea behind the Natural mouse is that you hold it with your hand on the side rather than from above as usual.
As a mouse it's fairly standard stuff, with a good solid build and plenty of customisable buttons, but aside from addressing RSI concerns there is nothing ground breaking here.
That said, it is very comfortable to use.