Simultaneously working on a book while teaching and writing on my various blogs and projects has brought a lot of stress to my hands, experienced as twinges in my wrists and fingers. To counteract this I’ve initiated several new habits, including regular drummer stretches (which work very well for people who spend too much time at a keyboard) together with the purchase of a wrist rest and a new mouse. Of all of these changes, the mouse was the most expensive component, but arguably the one that has helped me the most.
Designed in the same way the bodywork for cars was originally built – carved from a block of wood – the MX Master is a delight to hold, particularly, I suspect, for those with large hands (mine measure 8″ from the base of my palm to the tip of my index finger). All of the controls on the mouse are located in comfortable, natural positions, and are stable and quiet: the central wheelmouse can be switched between “freewheeling” mode and a more granular notch-to-notch motion.
The wireless mouse can work via Bluetooth or its own RF signal. The latter requires the use of a very small, low-profile USB receiver, which I leave permanently in one of my MacBook’s ports: it hasn’t wiggled free after weeks of use, despite being constantly brought in and out of the close protective sleeve of my backpack. In theory, the mouse can be switched to operate up to three different computers; I haven’t had the opportunity to test this feature.
The mouse does require its own drivers to perform well, which are supported on Windows and Mac. The associated application – Logitech Options – is small, lightweight, easy to use, and very well-designed. In theory, each button on the mouse can be given its own specific function on a per-application level.
One unexpected feature that I’ve got a surprising amount of use out of is the side wheel, which is perfect for scrolling horizontally through large MySQL tables with lots of columns.
The surface of the mouse has a very slight texture to it, and appears to repel dirt and grime. The built-in rechargable battery endures about a week of constant use, with an on-screen warning showing up when battery levels run low. Very cleverly, the mouse is designed in such a way that it can still be used while it recharges via the (included) USB-to-micro-USB cable.
While it is not cheap, and arguably more than one should pay for a mouse – I bought mine for $100 (CAD) from Amazon – I feel that for someone who uses a computer 14+ hours a day it’s a very worthwhile investment.