Microsoft Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000

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Microsoft Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:03 pm

We review half a dozen mice a year, and swapping the previous one for the next is never a big deal (although uninstalling and weeding the former out of the Registry is). Usually we adjust our grip by a few millimeters, practice clicking the buttons a few times, and are accustomed to the new rodent in a matter of minutes or at most one or two hours.

We didn't feel comfortable with the Microsoft Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 for four days. Then we felt very comfortable indeed.

Priced at $80, the Natural 6000 -- not to be confused with the Wireless Laser Mouse 6000, Wireless Notebook Laser Mouse 6000, and Laser Mouse 6000 in Microsoft's glutted lineup -- marks the debut of an ergonomic mouse alongside the company's ergonomic keyboards. Like other mice designed to cradle your right hand, it provides a slightly protruding shelf or thumb scoop on its left side, along with slightly concave buttons for resting your index and middle fingers.

Unlike other mice, it's noticeably heavy -- 6 ounces with its two AA batteries -- and big -- imagine holding a softball. Or rather, half a hemisphere carved out of a softball: Seen from the rear, the right-hand side of the mouse slopes down like a steep hill, so your hand is at about a 45-degree angle to your desk instead of resting horizontally just above it.

Indeed, the hand position is halfway between that of a regular mouse and the handshake grip of the Evoluent Vertical Mouse 2 we tested two years ago.

Sit At Attention

As we said, this takes some getting used to. One quirk is pushing the mouse forward with the butt of your palm instead of a cupped hand. Another is deciding where to put your pinky -- the mouse curves back inward at the bottom, but we weren't accustomed to including the little finger in our grip, as if starting to make a fist, instead of leaving it idle.

It's also important to keep your elbow at a 90-degree angle, with your wrist a bit above the desk. This means sitting up straight -- when we slipped into a slouch or even a modest lean backward, the Natural felt unnaturally awkward and our shoulder felt downright painful.

During our first days with the 6000, it felt as if we were moving the mouse pointer so slowly and carefully that what used to be a split-second, instinctive flick -- right-clicking to bring up a context menu, then swooping down to left-click one of the choices, for instance -- seemed to take five minutes. Tossing away our mouse pad for a bare desktop made the device feel quicker and more responsive, as did a day or two of trading our usual, unconscious mouse moves with conscious practice to increase our speed and relearn skills such as the right-left sequence above.

But by the third day, we were feeling pretty good. And by the fourth, we were enjoying the mouse very much: The design really does make a difference in wrist comfort, and having the hand at a 45-degree angle feels noticeably nicer than parallel to the desk.

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