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| Carpal Tunnel Gaming: The Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 (18 comments )|
by: obsolete (29) | Posted in cluster Editors Challenge Sponsored by Intel Round 2
Posted 75 months ago ( edited 75 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
Eight years ago, I developed my first symptoms of Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI). My hands began to stiffen and tingle: the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a specific type of RSI. My mouse hand in particular felt the most uncomfortable, and my weapon accuracy dropped as much as 10% in FPS games. I searched online for ergonomic mice, but all I found were overpriced, gimmicky products that looked embarrassing to use. Showing up with one of those at a LAN party would be like wearing headgear to a high school prom.
|» MEDIA (4)|
Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000
How to hold the mouse.
Proper hand position.
Since the development of an RSI, I have done my best to prevent further complications by doing exercises, taking frequent breaks, and avoiding Diablo clones. In addition to lifestyle changes, I had no problem finding a suitable ergonomic keyboard. Just about any ergonomic keyboard will help and there are many fancy, expensive models as well. However, compared to ergonomic keyboards, ergonomic mice are a rarity. I recently tried the Evoluent VerticalMouse (fig. 1), which helped my mouse hand but broke after a couple months of heavy use.
Disheartened, I rolled the dice and did the unthinkable: I went wireless. I purchased the Microsoft Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 (fig. 2)Öa name so long I aggravated my carpal tunnel googling it. I say unthinkable because wireless mice are notorious for paling in comparison to their corded brethren. In the test lab of the hardcore gamer, think of wireless mice as the ones injected with the fat gene.
Yet hardcore gamers are also at risk to develop RSI symptoms, and as one of those cases, I am willing to trade accuracy for continued use of my hands. First, I will give a more detailed description of the mouse, as well as a summary of my experience with the product over two months of heavy use. Next, I will look at how the mouse affects play in popular PC game genres.
The overall build quality of the mouse is exceptional. The mouse has retained structural integrity despite heavy usage over two months as a student at a game development Masterís program, a hardcore gamer, and an internet news junkie. I use my mouse anywhere from eight to sixteen hours a day. Unlike other ergonomic mice, the primary and secondary buttons continue to have a solid click. I can count accidental clicks over the past month on a single hand. The scroll wheel feels a bit loose but sensitivity is adjustable in the driver settings. As a gamer, some of the extra features such as the fourth button magnifier are more annoying than helpful, so I recommend turning the extra bells and whistles off for hassle-free gaming. Donít turn them all off though, as the battery meter indicates when juice is low before response times get slow.
Regarding comfort, the shape takes some adjustment. The angled design works well for RSI prevention, but gamers must hold the mouse properly (figs. 3 and 4). The thumb groove is an essential piece of the puzzle, allowing gamers to reduce strain while maintaining a controllable grip on the mouse. The changes to the shape mark a great improvement over traditional mice. Whenever I go back to a normal mouse, I can feel a noticeable difference in my hand in just a few minutes. For a person with RSI, comfort is important.
For a gamer with RSI, comfort alone is not enough. Many wireless and optical or laser mice perform fine for word processing but canít keep up during games. To confirm whether the mouse is usable, I tested the ergonomic mouse against a gaming mouse (Logitech G5) in games spanning several genres.
MMO Ė Guild Wars: Nightfall
Nightfall is a stand-alone expansion for Guild Wars, which offers an alternative MMO experience for people who prefer to jump immediately into PvP (I recommend buying the PvP edition, which unlocks all the skills for immediate use). Nightfall doesnít require ultra-precise mouse control, as the keyboard is the optimum tool for targeting, spell casting, and movement. For camera control, hotkeys replace extreme mouse movements. Due to the slower pace and heavy keyboard usage, I found both mice to be equivalent.
FPS Ė Counter-Strike: Source
Unlike quicker games such as Quake 4 and UT2k4, CS is playable with the ergonomic mouse. Surprisingly, the main issue playing an FPS with the mouse is not the wireless but the shape. While holding the mouse properly, twitch aiming with pistols and the AWP is more difficult than with the gaming mouse. Hardcore FPS players may want to consider switching back to a gaming mouse for serious matches.
Advantage: Gaming Mouse
RTS Ė Company of Heroes
I donít play CoH competitively, but my experience with using the ergonomic mouse in both single and multiplayer was very positive. Similar to MMO games, hardcore players will make prodigious use of hotkeys, eliminating some of the need for ultra-precise mouse control. On the other end of the gaming spectrum, casual players wonít move fast enough to cause any problems.
RPG Ė Neverwinter Nights 2
RPGs and other games that encourage long hours of continuous play require the most comfortable mouse possible. Neverwinter Nights 2 allows the player to pause the game to issue orders, and never once did I feel the urge to resort to my old gaming mouse.
Advantage: Ergonomic Mouse
Although mouse preference comes down to personal taste, gamers with RSI symptoms donít have many choices. Even as a hardcore FPS player, I am willing to accept worse aim when it means less discomfort. For casual gamers who require less precision, I would recommend this mouse as a preventative measure. My largest complaint is that the mouse is small and harder to use for people with large hands. For people with small to medium-sized hands, there are only minor issues, most of which vanish once you train your hand to use the mouse properly.
With silky-smooth Teflon feet, cordless freedom, and solid laser technology, the Microsoft Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 can stand its ground with most gaming mice. Combine that with an ergonomic design, and this is the best mouse for gamers with carpal tunnel.
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