Most computer users know a mouse in the traditional design where the optical sensor at the bottom glides over a flat surface to move the cursor. You press the buttons on the top to click, and the middle wheel lets you scroll across the page.
But in the last few years, a different kind of ergonomic mouse has seen a spike in popularity. The vertical mouse essentially functions in the same way, except you hold it differently. A vertical mouse lets you hold it more like a joystick (or in a handshake position) where your hand would go over or on top of a traditional mouse.
The first one was created in 1994 to combat wrist pain, but it wasn’t until Logitech and Evoluent introduced new designs in 2021 that a new generation started to take notice.
While Logitech has pieces of various consumer technology in its stable, it only introduced its first vertical mouse in 2019. It connects to a computer through three different methods (two wireless and one wired), and has several buttons within easy reach.
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As with many others, the MX Vertical has an angled grip, but this one is at a unique 57 degrees. This makes for a more natural hold on the mouse without rotating the arm bones too much.
It has a highly sensitive sensor with a maximum of 4,000 dots per inch to minimize hand movements. That means the cursor can move 4,000 pixels across the screen when you move the mouse an inch. The battery has excellent longevity, as a quick one-minute charge gives enough power for three hours of use. When fully charged, it can last for up to four months.
The MX Vertical is also more robust than other mice. It is drop-resistant from a height of 35 inches, and the buttons are certified to work for up to 10 million clicks. It is primarily sold as a wireless vertical mouse, but you can operate it with the included USB-C cable attached.
No matter the brand or model, a vertical mouse is awkward to get used to. The lack of a thumb wheel further complicates this, so you can’t scroll sideways on large horizontal projects. A traditional mouse lets you press on the sides of the wheel to navigate horizontally.
If you have smaller hands, you might also battle with getting a good grip. Logitech seemed to design the MX as middle-of-the-road as possible, so even larger hands might find the positioning difficult.
A vertical mouse isn’t ideal for video games, and the MX proves that. Its bulky size hampers portability, and the click lag (time between clicking the button and registering in the game) is too high for first-person shooters. However, it is adequate in other types of games, such as role-playing or real-time strategy, where your actions' speed isn’t as crucial.
The MX Vertical has a generous surface area that people with small hands might struggle with. If that is the case, you should consider the Logitech Lift Vertical Mouse. It is smaller than the MX Vertical while still having most of the features.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
The first vertical mouse was invented and patented in 1994 but was continually rejected by electronics companies. Inventor Jack Lo started to manufacture the first models in 2002, eventually shifting to factory production in 2004 under the Evoluent brand.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
A clear advantage that Evoluent has is in the model selection. There are three distinct vertical mice, but you can also go wireless or wired and choose between different sizes. However, the most significant difference is that there are separate models for left-handed and right-handed users. This is nonexistent for other brands.
The wireless version of the VerticalMouse 4 comes with a 2.4-gigahertz receiver compatible with Windows-based computers and Apple devices. It has several buttons easily pressed with minimal finger movements and two programmable thumb buttons for extra versatility.
At the base of the mouse is an extended lip that prevents the side of your hand from rubbing on the surface. It also lets the mouse glide much easier, while the improved thumb rest aids with comfort.
As the industry inventor, Evoluent has had more time to develop and fine-tune the initial designs. This should be an advantage, but all too often, companies with more funding, such as Logitech, can funnel a lot of resources into making theirs.
Evoluent’s vertical mouse has a simplistic design, not far removed from a traditional mouse that has simply been turned on its side. This makes the Logitech vertical mouse more attractive.
The Evoluent's angle is also more acute than others and borders on being unnatural. This is a shame, as the goal of a vertical mouse is to let your hand operate in a less stressful position.
This wireless vertical mouse is ideal for users with a small right hand and positions your hand to prevent wrist pain. The mouse manager software lets you program several buttons, and there is a shallow groove on the finger buttons for easier movement.
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Evoluent spends a lot of time explaining that it invented the vertical mouse, and not much effort goes into marketing the features. This might be for several reasons, but when you compare the VerticalMouse 4 with Logitech’s option, it quickly becomes clear that Evoluent is getting muscled out of its own territory. The MX Vertical is superior in almost all aspects, having a more natural grip and looking much better.
The VerticalMouse 4 has four adjustable DPI settings, but it is still much lower than the MX Vertical, as it ranges from 800 DPI to a maximum of 2,600 DPI. Both are terrible options for playing video games, and you’d be much better off with a gaming mouse, but Logitech compensates for this with the 4,000 DPI.
Whether you need a vertical mouse is still debatable, but the only clear option is Logitech’s MX Vertical. Even with the improved buttons, grip and overall control, it still costs less than Evoluent’s VerticalMouse 4.
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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.