What about Mouse?
If your job requires you to sit and work for hours day after day on your PC, whether desktop or laptop, then one tool you cannot miss is a mouse. It is almost impossible to operate a computer without using a mouse for most average PC users.
Using a mouse regularly involves stationary positions and small and repetitive movements of the same small muscles over again for prolonged periods. These factors can lead to discomfort, pain, and Workplace Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs). And that is why you have to be deliberate in choosing a mouse that is the most comfortable and suitable and can help you get tasks done efficiently (the best office mouse).
A mouse is simply a handheld input device that helps you navigate your PC and operate your computer more efficiently. I categorize mice into two (2) groups: by connection method: wired and wireless, and by design: flat mouse, vertical mouse and trackball mouse. You can find the technical features of the mouse in any of these mouse groups.
What To Consider When Choosing The Best Mouse For Office
When purchasing a mouse, most people focus on the price rather than comfort because many mice users have limited knowledge about mice technicalities and the obtainable types. Therefore, those who purchase a mouse just pick what is available in the store without proper consideration for their comfort and work output.
Choosing to go with any type of mouse is mostly by user preference and budget. If you are like me, who use a mouse almost four times as much as I use the keyboard, you have to exercise care when picking the best mouse. (According to Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, more people use the mouse almost three times as much as the keyboard). With this said, let’s dive into things you should consider when choosing a new mouse.
When you work with a device for several hours regularly, your comfort is something you prioritize. A less comfortable mouse would give a lot of strain on your ankle and around your hand muscles and hinders your productivity.
The size, shape, weight, feel and movement of the mouse around your hand determine how comfortable and productive your work would be. Most mice supplied with a computer as a set, Desktop PCs most especially, come with the universal basic ergonomics standard. This type of mouse may not have the most ergonomic design for every individual. Some individuals have large hands while some others have small hands. So, mice with average hand designs cause strains for users that have large or small hands when they work for long hours. Individuals must pick the one that is most comfortable in their hands.
Ergonomic mice put your hand in a more natural position; your palm rest and finger grips unstrained, offering you the best comfort.
The best work mice are ergonomically designed mice, and there are many of them in the market. Contour Unimouse ergonomic wireless mouse for instance, is one innovative ergonomics mouse uniquely designed to fit different hand sizes and provide custom comfort. It is fully adjustable and has a remarkable thumb button that gives you suitable relaxation while you work.
Another ergonomics mouse – Vertical mouse – puts your hand in a more natural stable position. Vertical mice offer better wrist support and improve your hand/wrist posture. Working with a vertical mouse is like using a joystick; you use more of your whole arm to support your hand, reducing wrist irritation while you work. The J-Tech Digital Scroll Endurance Wireless Mouse is a good vertical mouse example. It has a palm rest that causes less friction and makes it easy to move your hand when you work. It has very good positive reviews. Buy it on Amazon.
With a trackball mouse, there’s no need to move your arm around to move the cursor while you work. Trackball mice are stationary, which make your hand and arm stay relaxed while you work. In addition to its comfort, it’s perfect for tight desk spaces since it doesn’t need to be moved.
One of the best trackball mice is the latest Logitech ERGO M575 Wireless Trackball Mouse. It has precise control, a high optical sensor, smooth trackball, and is ideal for those who want to reduce wrist and hand movement.
2. Hand Orientation
A typical mouse has a left button made for the index finger (for left-clicking) and a right button made for the middle finger (for right-clicking). Hand orientation for mice designs is commonly associated with ergonomics mice. A regular standard mouse such as the popular HP USB Mouse, is designed for both right-handed and left-handed users. The click buttons can be switched from inside the Operating system to serve any user. For Windows OS users: to reverse the click buttons to suit your preferred hand orientation, simply go to Settings > Devices > Mouse, and select your preferred hand orientation-Left or Right– under “Select your primary button”.
Ergonomics mice are designed differently from regular mice. An ergonomics mouse meant for a right-hand user has the contour made to fit the right hand and has the buttons specially placed for easy reach. The case is the same for a left-hand user, and its meant to give you comfort and improve your productivity.
When picking a mouse, ensure you choose the hand orientation suitable for you.
Contour ergonomics mouse has both left-hand and right-hand mouse designs. It’s available in Left-hand wired, Right-hand wired, Left-hand wireless and Right-hand wireless. Buy from via link on Amazon below.
Another important decision you have to make while choosing a mouse for work is whether to go for a wireless or wired mouse. You can find different optimized work mice in both wireless and wired, but let’s look at these two a little deeper.
A Wired mouse connects to a computer through a cable (via USB), which provides a simple and faster connection. In most ranges of mice, wired mice are lighter and cheaper. The challenge with a wired mouse is that the mouse cord limits your space and how you want to control your mouse. You also have the mouse cord interfering with other things placed on your desk. Wired mice drag when the cable is obstructed, although some wired mice like Razor Viper mini have a high-quality cable that is drag-free on desks. Also, Glorious Model O. has a proprietary braided cable that is very flexible and lightweight, which gives your mouse an almost wireless feel. You also may not have an extra USB port on your PC and so may have to purchase a USB adapter at extra costs. Lastly, a wired mouse is not ideal when your work requires you to travel regularly.
A wireless mouse connects to a pc through a wireless receiver or Bluetooth. A wireless receiver is a tiny USB dongle that you connect to a USB port on your PC. It usually is easy to set up, mostly plug and play. Most wireless mice are sold with the USB wireless receiver. To use a mouse with a Bluetooth connection, your pc (laptop or desktop) must have a Bluetooth feature (you can buy a USB Bluetooth adapter to make your pc Bluetooth compatible).
You will admire a wireless mouse for its mobility. It is very convenient to use, provides a clutter-free desk, and helps you perform your job smoothly. You can use a wireless mouse across multiple devices such as laptops, tablets and phones (especially for Bluetooth connection).
Challenges associated with a wireless mouse are mostly managing battery and mouse misplacement.
Battery Preference for Wireless Mouse
Wireless mice have the inbuilt rechargeable battery and replaceable battery types. Mice with inbuilt batteries require charging for up to 2 to 4 hours (full charge) and can last you about 30 – 40 days before you need to do a full recharge. They come with a cable for charging.
With a rechargeable mouse, you enjoy a little more convenience. For instance, when the battery runs out, you simply charge it for a few minutes or hours and continue with work, saving you the cost and time of getting a new battery.
The main challenge of an inbuilt battery mouse is that when the battery life is up and it can no longer retain power for up to 20 minutes, you may have to let go of the entire mouse and buy a new one. But generally, it lasts long.
Logitech MX Master 3 Advance wireless mouse offers up to 70 days of use per full charge. For 1 minute charge, you get up to 3 hours of use. It is very suitable for Mac and Windows users, and it has a very high rating.
Replaceable mice use AAA or AA batteries. Depending on the wireless mouse type, usage and battery quality, the replacement period can be from 2 months to 1 year. The good thing about a wireless mouse with a replaceable battery is that you can use it for as long as you want, but you have a continuous battery replacement cost to incur.
4. Optical or Laser Mouse
Mice have different sensors and are selective of the surfaces they operate.
An optical mouse uses an LED light as an illumination source to sense its surface and works well on a non-glossy surface. You require a mouse pad to use an optical mouse on a glossy surface such as a glass table. The optical mouse can have a resolution of up to 3,000 DPI, which is very enough for most office users. As a fact, a DPI of 600 and above is okay for many office applications. Gamers and deep graphic designers may notice the slower speed and desire a mouse with a higher DPI. An optical mouse is more popular and generally priced cheaper.
DPI (dots per linear inch) is the standard used to measure the mouse sensitivity that a device can detect. It is used interchangeably with CPI and refers to the same thing. By changing the DPI you can instantly adjust mouse pointer speed for precision tasks such as in-game targeting or photo editing. The greater the number of DPIs, the higher the mouse sensitivity, and the faster the pointer speed. Some mouse models include dedicated buttons (DPI On-the-fly buttons) you can use to instantly adjust your mouse sensitivity (DPI).
A laser mouse uses a laser as an illumination source, and it senses peaks and valleys on a surface. It can work on any surface, including a glass desk. A Laser mouse has a resolution of 6,000 to 15,000 dpi, which makes it even more sensitive and can track more dots per inch than an optical mouse. Laser mice are usually more suitable for gamers and professional graphic designers. It is more expensive, but the price gap is not very wide.
5. Weight and Lift-Off Distance
Many mouse users don’t usually observe the weight of the mouse. They think that mice weigh just a fraction of weight and therefore the weight won’t be a problem. No. All mice don’t weigh the same. The weight of a mouse is dependent on design, the material used, purpose and technology.
As you lift the mouse consistently while working, the weight directly impacts your muscles, causing fatigue and hampering your productivity. A good mouse for office use should weigh 100g and below except for mice that do not require much lift while operating, such as trackballs.
Lift-off distance is the sensitivity level of the mouse between the surface where it is lifted from and the lift height. It is controlled by the mouse sensor. A mouse with a high lift-off distance requires you to lift the mouse high enough so that the sensor won’t track your movement when you try to reposition the mouse, thereby causing strain on your wrist and affecting your efficiency. A low lift-off distance mouse is the best. Most modern mice have an acceptable low lift-off distance. However, some high-end mice like Glorious Model O and Logitech M720 Triathlon Multi-Device Wireless Mouse have even lower lift-off distance.
6. Scroll wheel sensitivity
Scroll wheels in mice help you navigate through pages. Some mice have two (2) scroll wheels; the top scroll wheel for free scrolling and one for the side for horizontal scrolling. The sensitivity of the scrolls on your fingers matters. A rubber scroll wheel appears to be more comfortable for most mouse users. Also, the smooth way the wheel responds to your finger movement makes a better user experience. Some mice require you to press hard on the scroll wheel to enable auto-scroll. This is uncomfortable as it causes pain and increases fatigue. An efficient mouse has easy to press scroll wheel. Test this button before picking a mouse.
Generally, mice produce click sounds. Some mice click sounds are audible enough to distract other people around you. Check the click sound of a mouse to suit your preference before buying it.
8. Click Latency
Click latency is a factor considered mostly by those who intend to use their work mouse for gaming. It refers to the responsiveness of the mouse cursor when the buttons are pressed, measured in milliseconds. Excellent click latency means that the mouse cursor responds simultaneously with the press of the click button.
9. Companion software
Most high-end mice come with software that you can use to adjust the CPI, set remap keys and profiles for different programs to optimize your workflow. You can save your settings on the pc or onto the mouse onboard memory and enjoy your preferred settings wherever you plug the mouse. Not all high-end mice come with software, and a mouse companion software may be the least requirement you need to get a mouse for your office use. If you got a mouse that has all the other best functionalities and features, setting a profile and adjusting a DPI from the software is something you can skip, except your work application requires you to use it. By default, mice are optimized for high efficiency.
You may also like to read: A Guide to Choosing Your Best Work Keyboard.
Having a suitable mouse for your work is very important and will go very long in increasing your productivity and reducing discomfort, pain, and Workplace Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs). Know that the mouse alone will not create a perfect balance for your comfort while working on your computer. Other work tools such as your chair and desk height also contribute to your comfort at work.
To choose the right mouse for your office work, consider your work style, hand size, budget and preferences. The options available to you include an ergonomically-designed regular flat mouse, vertical mouse and trackball mouse. Vertical and trackball mice are options many users have tried and found to be more comforting. If you have the budget, you can try one or two of these options to find the type that offers you the best comfort and increases your productivity.
Featured image credit: Logitech
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