Input Devices Guide

3M Ergonomic EM550GPS Mouse (Wireless Small) review

First Looks: 3M Ergonomic EM550 Mouse

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The Mouse-stick

The Mouse-stick

Don’t underestimate the perils of working in the new century; working on a keyboard and mouse the entire day for years can cause serious damage to your wrists and carpal tunnel areas. And this is where the 3M Ergonomic Mouse comes in (also, it comes in two sizes: Large and Small, on a special order basis).

Joystick? Mouse? Joystick?

The 3M Ergonomic Mouse looks nothing like how you will envision a regular mouse to be, but rather, it largely resembles a joystick. There are two buttons situated at the top where your thumb is supposed to rest, and a larger one sitting at the side of its vertical body. The buttons here are quite self-explanatory: the former's for left/right click, and the latter for scrolling purposes.

Aside from its slightly frumpy design, the peripheral has a nice all-black, soft-touch painted surface that adds extra comfort and grip. Batteries are provided with the kit which also includes an instruction manual, the USB wireless receiver, and the optical mouse itself. It is slightly complicated than most set-ups, but is still extremely easy to follow through: slide the on-off button, press the 'connect' button at the bottom of the mouse, plug in the USB receiver, press its tiny button; and voila, you will be ready for navigation.

Features & Performance

As its main purpose is to prevent prolonged stress-related injuries, the 3M Ergonomic Mouse positions the hand in a less damaging vertical position rather than the usual strained horizontal. This allows your fingers to be wrapped around the grip comfortably whilst resting your hand on the base. Admitedly, it took awhile for us to get used to the new control scheme, especially so, since we had to work around its flaws as well. One of the more obvious is the lack of a click wheel for scrolling. While the third button functions somewhat as a scroll button, you still have to physically scroll up and down, which in all honesty, is not exactly an ideal situation for deskbound workers.

Another thing to note is that 3M itself states that this button only allows scrolling in some applications, not all. We tested on popular applications like Microsoft Word, Firefox, IE and Chrome, and while it works just fine in these, it's not guaranteed that it will work across all programs. It is also extremely easy to press the above-mentioned button accidentally due to its position, so remember to grip it gently. The left and right buttons are also extremely prone to double clicking if you apply too much force as well, so the general idea here is to use lesser force than you do on a normal mouse.

Otherwise, surfing the web and reading chunks of text can be an extremely comfortable once you get the hang of it, though the flaws can lead to moments of frustration.

Closing Thoughts

There is a mouse that works for everyone, and it is sad to say that the 3M Ergonomic Mouse isn’t that special mouse. If you are looking for an effective and highly functional mouse that allows you to complete your work at godlike speed, you might be better off with a regular mouse. Left-handers are also better off looking elsewhere as the mouse is specifically made for right-handed users. But if you are looking for a basic mouse that matches your languid and comfortable web-surfing lifestyle, look no further.