To create its new vertical mouse, Logitech borrowed from its expertise creating peripherals for players of first-person shooters. The goal? A kill shot aimed straight at the ugly heart of repetitive strain injuries.
The result of the company’s efforts is the Logitech MX Vertical. The ergonomic mouse, unveiled today, offers appealing features in a strangely beautiful design that looks something like a seashell.
The new mouse’s vertical fin sits comfortably at a 57-degree angle. That places the user’s arm at a more natural angle and reduces muscle strain by 10 percent, Logitech says.
Who needs a vertical mouse?
Vertical mice have been around for a while, but this is Logitech’s first such model. It’s aimed at “pain relief seekers” — the large number of computer users who experience discomfort as a result of repetitive strain injuries, or RSI.
It’s an increasingly common problem for people who spend hours clutching their mice in a death grip, said Jeanne Iverson, an ergonomist and CEO of VSI Risk Management & Ergonomics.
“I have to say to people, ‘Get your hand off the mouse,'” she said during a demo of the MX Vertical at the Cult of Mac office.
Testing the Logitech MX Vertical mouse
Logitech worked with Iverson to study the impact of using the new MX Vertical. They found 51 test subjects (65 percent of whom used Macs) who had never used a vertical mouse. After using the new mouse five to six hours a day for two weeks, every person in the study reported pain decreased 50 percent or more, Iverson said.
Although the MX Vertical mouse’s unusual, nautilus-shaped design looks strange at first, Iverson said users adapted to it quite quickly.
“I can get anyone to use that mouse,” she said.
Iverson said she often recommends that people who “ride the mouse” should try a vertical mouse to avoid developing tendinitis. However, “if it slows them down they are not going to use it.”
To that end, Logitech tested multiple shapes and sizes as it worked to develop the MX Vertical. Ultimately, Logitech’s designers came up with a design that encouraged natural posture without compromising performance. The company also carried over popular features from its gaming mice as well as the beloved MX Master.
While using a vertical mouse might seem a bit odd for some people at first, most took to the MX Vertical quite rapidly, Iverson said.
Borrowing tech and features from Logitech’s other mice
Part of that ease of adoption flows from the tech that Logitech carried over from its other popular models.
The company’s highly regarded Logitech G gaming mice offer the extremely high accuracy demanded by gamers, but also let users tweak the settings according to the demands of of a particular game.
‘Best-in-class’ 4,000 DPI
When it comes to gaming mice, it’s “all about the DPI,” said Wendy Spander, Logitech’s senior global communications manager, during the demo.
The Logitech MX Vertical packs a very precise, “best-in-class” 4,000 DPI sensor. It can cut down on hand movement and reduce fatigue, especially in a world full of massive 4K and 5K monitors. A handy button atop the mouse’s fin lets the user instantly adjust cursor speed and accuracy on the fly. There’s no need to dig deep into a context menu to tweak these vital settings.
Highly customizable mouse software
What’s more, Logitech’s highly customizable software allows users to choose specific settings for various programs. That’s ideal for powers users, since the ideal settings for once piece of software might differ from what’s optimal for another app.
“You can really adjust to the workflow for you,” said Frederic Frappereau, product manager leader for Logitech’s Creativity and Productivity division.
The MX Vertical also brings Logitech’s Easy-Switch and Flow features, so users can quickly hop between two computers and even copy-paste images and documents between two machines.
Logitech vertical mouse battery life and connectivity
Logitech says the mouse’s built-in rechargeable battery will work for four months. It charges via USB-C, and a one-minute fast charge will power three hours of intense work.
The MX Vertical also connects three different ways: Bluetooth, via a Logitech Unifying receiver, or by using that USB-C cable.
The thought of using a wired mouse might seem like a bit of a throwback in the wireless age. But Logitech says this feature is big with government agencies that won’t allow wireless peripherals due to (mostly unfounded) fears about security.
Hands on with Logitech MX Vertical mouse
After years of using a Logitech MX Master, the MX Vertical proved easy to pick up and use out of the box. It’s the first vertical mouse I’ve ever tested, and it was totally easy to get used to.
Programmable right- and left-click buttons sit on the mouse’s top on either side of one of Logitech’s excellent scroll wheels. Another pair of programmable buttons put your most loved shortcuts right at your thumb.
The weight and glide of the mouse seem optimized for comfort, as promised. And Logitech’s advanced mouse software make this one versatile vertical mouse.
Is a vertical mouse right for you?
Logitech says an increasing number of people are becoming aware of the physical problems related to constant computing. They are looking for ways to make their work spaces healthier — hence the rise in open office layouts and standing desks — and a vertical mouse is a natural evolution that can ease pain for some users.
“We know that many computer users experience discomfort or pain in their hand, forearm and in their wrists,” said Delphine Donne-Crock, general manager of creativity and productivity at Logitech, in a press release announcing the new mouse. “To address this, we’ve created our most advanced ergonomic mouse yet, MX Vertical, designed with an innovative natural handshake position. The unique angle is optimized for an ergonomic posture and reduces both wrist pressure and forearm strain. With MX Vertical, you can maximize your productivity in comfort.”
Ultimately, choosing a mouse is a highly personal matter. Your hand size and other factors play a big part in what mouse feels right for you. But the MX Vertical seems like an exceptional choice for anybody wanting to experiment with a vertical mouse.
Competitively riced at $99.99, the MX Vertical is available for preorder from Logitech today. It should land in stores next month.
Logitech provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article.