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Friday April 6, 2007 5:30 pm

Microsoft Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 Impressions

Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000Sweet Mother of Pearl…what is it with companies and these ridiculously long product names. Let me tell you, there’s a reason why “Flickr” is popular, and it’s probably because it’s easy to say. Now that I’ve gotten this out of the way, on to Microsoft’s new ergonomic desktop mouse.

Strangely enough, it wasn’t that long ago that Microsoft’s mice were considered to be the most ergonomic that you could get, but in reality, while they were more comfortable to hold, they were never truly ergonomic. I’ve been using computers from a young age, and as a result, I have a fair amount of RSI built up in my wrists, mostly the right wrist. I can’t use a non-ergonomic keyboard for long without experiencing pain, and that’s why although I’ve tested a great many keyboards in the past, I keep coming back to Microsoft’s Natural series of keyboards. Finally, they put a mouse through the same ergonomic design process as their keyboards and what came out was one of the goofiest looking mice ever made.

The Natural Mouse (and that’s all I’m calling it, thankyouverymuch) looks a lot like a ball sitting on your desk. The flat edge is smaller in width than the rest of the mouse, which widens out for your thumb and palm to rest on. Speaking of your thumb, that’s one of the first things people will notice about the mouse ... it has a thumb rest. Your right hand (sorry, this mouse is for righties only) is sort of hanging off at an angle, which will feel strange for a while. In fact, everyone I’ve handed the mouse has said how weird it feels. That doesn’t go away when you actually start trying to do work with it; the mouse feels like it’s moving at angles, and that’s because you haven’t adjusted to it yet. Just like the Natural Keyboards, an adjustment period is needed. Thankfully, it’s less of an adjustment than the keyboard, you simply need to think of mousing as moving your arm and not your hand. Once you make that transition (it took me only a day), you’ll be moving as precisely as ever.

In just a couple of days, I’ve noticed that I haven’t had any pain or numbness in my right wrist and arm, which I normally feel towards the end of a long mousing session. This is because your wrist is now on it’s side when resting on the desk, not the unprotected bottom compressing the nerves. OK, so I’m playing doctor here a bit and I have no clue whether this is technically accurate, but suffice it to say that it works. Other than that obvious benefit, the mouse is functionally equivalent to the standard Wireless Laser Mouse 6000, with the notable addition of a battery life indicator on the mouse itself, which sadly, can’t be seen when you’re holding the mouse..

I want to give it a few more weeks and see how things go, but so far, I’m a big fan of this mouse. I did notice that the driver has specifications for a 7000 series Natural Mouse as well, but we haven’t heard anything about it or what the differences might be. Curious.

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