The Salient VM-225 Wireless Pen Mouse is a replacement for the conventional mouse. It is suitable for people with RSI/other hand and wrist conditions and those looking to change the angle with which they mouse. Posturite sell it for around £58 including VAT.
I think more people should look at alternative devices even before they get aches and pains as we know the standard mouse design puts strain on the wrist and people are increasingly spending hours on the PC.
*** What is it? ***
It is a lightweight device, approximately four inches tall. It is made from a hard plastic, apart from the laser pointer butons which are on a soft rubber pad towards the pointed end at the top.
The base of the device is a flat surface, with an angled back. A blue light shines through the base - this is the optical mouse light.
On the front of the device are the left and right mouse buttons. One is on top of the other. There is no roller ball or scroll option and no double click or third mouse button.
You hold the device on flat side panels, which are plain plastic but perfectly comfortable. I hold it with my thumb on one side, with the other side of the device held upright by the part of my midde finger between my middle and top knuckle. My index finger sits over the buttons on the front.
I use it with either hand depending on how my wrist is doing. I am left handed and find it perfectly comfortable in either my left or right hand - which is very rare and worth buying for these reasons alone.
It charges by connecting the charging lead to the PC via a USB port and then plugging it into the top of the device at the back, towards the pointed tip.
In the box you get:
1 - the pen mouse
2 - a USB dongle which receives the signals from the mouse
3 - a mouse pad stand (basically a very small mousemat of approx 3 x 4 inches which has a small oval at one corner which holds the mouse pen upright when you stand it there - seems to be magnetic?)
4 - USB charging cable. This is a good length - I can plug it into the front of my desktop and comfortably mouse on the desk. I have never wished for a longer charging lead.
5 - quick start guide
6 - manual
*** Specifications ***
It requires your operating system or OS to be Windows XP or later, Mac OS 8.6 and above or Linux
You need a free USB port to plug in the USB dongle (you also really need a second one for the charger from time to time!)
It is an optical device with 1000 dpi, is 2.4 GHz wireless with 10 meter transmission distance, operates as a plug and play USB device, is rechargeable with the built in Li battery, lighweight and suitable for curved surfaces (has a "linear footing" - whatever that means!).
As a laser pointer it also apparently has page turning functions - I've never found a need to use this so can't comment on how it works.
*** What is good about it? ***
You can mouse on your leg if you want to (I just tried in the interests of a thorough review, copying an image off the box). There is no noticeable loss of control or negative impact despite mousing on my jeans rather than the mat!
More seriously, it is lightweight, responsive, ambidexterous and therefore ideal to ease RSI. I like being able to switch hands instantly. The lightweight nature is important as I found many ergonomic mice are a bit heavy and put more strain on my wrist.
As you are no longer mousing with your hand flat, but instead holding it like a pen, your wrist is so much more comfortable.
It looks smart and interesting on your desk and says "cool, and interested in gadgets" rather than "I have RSI, please tell me your opinions about what I should be doing/why RSI is all in the mind/whatever", which can help if you want to be more discrete.
For a device to address RSI the price is quite reasonable.
Posturite are a good retailer too; you can return things within a trial period if they are unsuitable I think - check they still do this if you would find that a relevant purchase factor.
*** What is not so good about it? ***
When the charging lead is plugged in it seems to unbalance it so it can manage to fall over, even when placed on the magnetic oval part of the mousemat. I also find it a bit more awkward to use with the lead plugged in.
Overall this is a really well priced and handy bit of kit that looks smart and doesn't scream ergonomic equipment. I recommend it for anyone looking for a lightweight and comfortable device and as an alternative to a mouse for laptop users as you don't need to use the mat.