The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) claims Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) strikes hundreds of thousands of workers each year— one in every 50 workers have developed a long-term condition and I’ve grappled with it for years.
That’s why, when I learned of Logitech’s new vertical LIFT mouse, I had to try it out. I’ve used it for two weeks and, anecdotally at least, am glad to say it has helped reduce discomfort.
What is Logitech’s new Lift mouse?
The Lift Vertical Ergonomic Mouse (that’s its full name) is a wireless mouse designed for all-day use. It is the latest addition to the company’s Ergo Series of mice and keyboards, which have been ergonomically designed to improve posture and help relieve discomfort.
The wireless mouse is available in both left- and right-handed configurations, but is designed for smaller hands than the company’s existing MX Vertical or MX Ergo mice.
The Lift is about 20% smaller than those. It is 2.8-in. high, 2.7-in. wide and 4.2-in. long and weighs 4.4 ounces. You’ll find a rubberized grip equipped with thumb rest, a silent scroll wheel, four configurable buttons (including the scroll wheel, which acts as a button when pressed), and two mouse buttons. The whole thing is pleasingly comfortable to use.
The mouse isn’t rechargeable, which seems like a missed opportunity — though perhaps not a major flaw given it will work for up to two years using a single AA battery, and you can use rechargeable batteries if you like. Two years is what I call great battery life in a mouse.
Let it Flow
The company has also built its own Universal Control software, which it calls Logitech Flow. This lets you use the mouse across up to three devices from different operating systems, sliding between the devices by pushing to the edge of the screen. It also lets you move files between your devices.
This is not an either/or situation — Mac and iPad users will be pleased to learn that the mouse also works with Apple’s Universal Control, which means you can control three Apple devices from one mouse.
It continues to interest me that Logitech works to keep in step with Apple when it comes to peripherals, though both companies are among the oldest names in tech.
Ergonomics and RSI
Some may still recall that Apple’s round “puck” mouse was perhaps the worst ergonomic mouse ever made; fortunately there has always been a rich industry in alternative mice.
There needs to be. Millions suffer from conditions caused by poor posture and repetitive movement, and an astonishing 6.7% of US workers will be diagnosed with one of these conditions in their lifetime.
Many experts advise computer users to regularly rotate between different mice rather than using the same mouse/mouse design, as doing so helps mitigate damage over time by changing the posture of your hand and arm. That’s an approach I’ve followed for a decade and it does help.
The next step is to use ergonomic mouse designs. These work because they prevent you from twisting your arm in an unnatural way for an extended period, which is what most of us do when using a normal mouse (or touchpad). Ergonomic controllers used in conjunction with a good chair, a desk at the right height and good posture can help manage or alleviate the development of such conditions.
The next level after this is to make use of a vertical mouse, as doing so lets you use your computer in a far more comfortable and natural position. Combined, ergonomics and vertical design should help you hold your hand in a neutral (or natural) position, which reduces the stress and strain of computer use.
What Lift provides
Lift is comfortable to hold in a small or medium hand and has a slight 57-degree angle to use which helps you maintain that critically important natural forearm posture when you are using it. To see why this works, just pop your arm on the table sideways on and shift it around until you find the most comfortable position. You’ll probably find your arm leans in towards your body slightly, which is what the mouse aims to help you do.
Because the mouse is designed to help your arm lean at this natural angle, you avoid putting it under the kind of strain that feeds into problems like RSI or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It won’t completely prevent this, but it helps.
Logitech told me that the company’s ergonomic design lab put the device through an extensive development process in which thousands of designs were considered before arriving at the Lift.
Two weeks with a mouse
While it took me a little while to get used to using a vertical mouse with my (still brilliant) M1 Mac Mini, I’m glad I persevered. I must sometimes resort to pain killers to handle the discomfort my RSI causes and have become sensitive to ways of working that make a difference.
In use, I’ve found the thumb rest far more comfortable than when using a normal mouse, and the soft rubber grip nestles comfortably in my hand. My personal experience is that the new Logitech mouse has made a significant difference and has vastly reduced discomfort.
I would suggest anyone who suffers from this condition — or wants to ensure they don’t develop it — should add one of these devices to the collection of mice they rotate between.
What about the software?
The Logitech software is growing on me. It lets you create different shortcuts for the four on-device buttons. I use two for Expose and Mission Control gestures, which is useful to me as a heavy Spaces user.
The power tool here is that you can assign different app-relevant shortcuts for different applications, including Word, Safari and more.
I’ve found it’s not always worth enabling custom shortcuts for any but your most frequently used applications. This is because, like the ill-fated Touch Bar, remembering the shortcuts you have assigned becomes a burden and you end up not using them.
However, if you make frequent use of one or two key applications, this feature should save you time and help you access frequently used controls using one click.
What about sustainability?
We know hardware manufacturers of all kinds must pivot to more sustainable business models if we’re to have any hope of meeting 2030 climate-change targets. Logitech recognizes this, and while not at the same scale as Apple, is working to manufacture products with higher quantities of recycled materials. Lift uses up to 70% recycled plastics. It is also certified carbon neutral on strength of Logitech’s investments in renewable forests and community carbon reduction schemes.
Must or miss?
Any business assigning computing equipment to staff should certainly consider ergonomic input devices as a viable option to help prevent development of work-related injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or RSI. The costs associated with such industries are estimated at between $15 billion and $20 billion each year, according to OSHA.
For my own unique situation, the Lift Vertical Ergonomic Mouse is a definite must. I’ve seen a significant reduction in muscle discomfort since I’ve been using it, and for that reason alone would recommend it. I also recommend it to anyone who wants to avoid developing such a condition in the first place.
Availability and price
The mouse is available now from Logitech and selected retailers in both left and right-hand models (make sure to select the appropriate one) for $69.99 in rose, off-white, and graphite. It works with Windows, Macs, Android, iPadOS, Linux, and Chrome systems, which means you can use it with your Mac, iPad, PC, and Chromebook.
Your hand and arm will thank you for using it.
Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.
Source: Computer World