Apple’s Trackpad allows you to swipe and pinch on your Mac. With an iPad or iPhone these fine, small motions feel more or less natural, mostly because you can move the device. However, a Trackpad is another matter. Just like a traditional or Apple’s mouse you’re bound to run into painful problems at some point in time. Our shoulders and arm muscles are simply not made to make micro-movements with our hands in an awkwardly rotated position. To avoid the occasional pain from becoming a permanent agony you’ll need an ergonomic mouse. Until now, I personally used a Swiftpoint mouse, but an even better one seems to be the “DXT Wireless Mouse 2 (light click)” by City Ergonomics.
The DXT Wireless Mouse 2 (light click) is an upright ambidextrous mouse. What immediately struck me, though, is its size: it’s higher than a Swiftpoint, but its base proportions are about the same. It has a curved front surface with two buttons that have an upward sloping design and a generous wheel. The back surface has a moulded recess to rest your thumb. This allows you to move the mouse and pick it up with no effort. The back also has a button that enables you to switch from left-handed to right-handed use, as well as a micro-USB port for charging the wireless model. The bottom has an ON/OFF switch and a button which allows you to cycle through a resolution value of 500 to 2000 dpi.
The mouse is light as a feather, with all weight centred in the bottom half. This makes it comfortably stable when sliding across your desk, while making movements requires almost no muscle tension. The buttons are very light to the touch. The developers of the DXT Wireless Mouse 2 have an excellent Youtube channel with a video explaining why the mouse has been developed this way and why that matters for your health.
The DXT Wireless Mouse 2 enables the so-called precision grip. Most other mice, including the ergonomic ones, force you to use them with a pinch grip. Pinching requires more force than precision holding. Holding a fountain pen equals precision grip. That’s why you can write hours on end with a pen in the first place. Turning a key to open a door equals pinch grip — you have to hold the key firmly so you can turn it. If you imagine doing that all day long, it’s easy to see why at some point you will be in pain. Ergonomic mice that force you to open your hand by their sheer size are even worse.
That’s not to say handling the DXT mouse feels natural immediately. It may be ergonomically as close to perfect as it possibly can, but due to a long tradition of rotating our hand to a palm-face-down position, it takes some getting used to.
I started using it with my left hand (I’m right-handed) and one of the things that I found frustrating at first is that as soon as you touch a button, it clicks — no muscle tension required, indeed. After a couple of days I realised I was pinching when I didn’t need to. Moving the mouse around did feel natural immediately, but if you have used a Trackpad for some time, you’ll miss the ability to swipe. Nevertheless, having no pain at all after a few days compensates nicely for this missing capability.
A week later I switched to the right hand and again it took me a couple of days before it felt comfortable. And it does feel comfortable once you have gotten the hang of it. When I now feel tired, I just switch hands with the mouse’s L/R button and I will be fine.
The only thing that bothers me is that I sometimes bump into it when I reach for something across the desk — making the mouse fall over.
My Swiftpoint GT has a swiping option (which actually breaks the ergonomic design, to be honest) and that is nice to have. However, if I’d have to choose, I would have a slight preference for the DXT Wireless Mouse 2 (light click) because of its shape and ambidextrous capabilities. The DXT Wireless Mouse 2 (light click) costs €99.