Computer mice haven’t really changed since they were invented. It’s still a block you move about with your hand in a flat position. However, this twisting of the forearm is unnatural, and frequent mouse users will find they develop wrist pain.
The solution is a vertically oriented mouse. It lets the hand rest in a natural state and in my experience is super comfortable. These are readily available for under $30 on eBay, Amazon and Aliexpress, but are often childsize or simply not comfortable enough. After trying about 4 mice I’ve realised who the reigning champion is: Evoluent.
I’ve been a happy owner of their VerticalMouse 4 (VM4) for almost a year now. It’s comfortable but a little awkward, and required some modding to really make it good. I’ve been using it interchangeably with my Razer DeathAdder, but definitely use the DeathAdder more.
Released in February 2016, the Evoluent VerticalMouse C (VMC) is the company’s next iteration of their flagship product. It comes in wired and wireless versions, and is right handed only for now. If it’s anything like the VM4, a left handed version will follow.
I purchased the VMC Right Wired for $150 AUD shipped from B&H to Australia.
But how does it stack up against the previous VM4? Is it good enough for gaming? Read on to find out…
Evoluent has really leapt into this decade with the design of the VMC. The curves are beautiful and complement the ergonomic shape. It practically looks like a spacecraft now, and that’s a good thing!
Compared to the VM4, it’s a huge upgrade.
Compared to my DeathAdder, it’s quite a difference.
The bottom of the mouse is similarly simple, with only the sensor hole, signature, and feet.
You can also find promotional shots of the mouse on Evoluent’s page.
The VMC has again come into the modern age by replacing the silver plastic with a lovely matte finish. It’s that slightly rougher plastic that you see on mice like the DeathAdder, and it’s very sweat resistant. My VM4 is covered in dried sweat (yuck!) but I don’t see this being a problem with the VMC. The thumb area is the same material, a welcome change from the gloss finish on the previous versions. The silver gloss is now reserved for the side of the mouse you don’t touch, and it looks great.
The cable isn’t braided, but it’s not standard either - it has a rubbery finish, almost feels like RC silicone wire. Its very pliable but it also gets in the way as it catches on my mouse pad. I will probably replace this with a donor braided cable.
If you’ve never used a vertical mouse before, the VMC would make an excellent introduction. I gave myself fairly serious hand pain from playing far too much Osu and TF2. I eventually realised that sore hands every breakfast was not at all normal.
I didn’t think it was possible, but Evoluent has bested the VM4 in almost every aspect. The pinky rest lip is bigger than before and a joy to rest my hand on. The entire mouse feels more fluid, and it’s much more natural to hold. However, the grip is slightly smaller than the VM4. I have large hands, and if I fully grasp the mouse my fingers now extend past the edge of the face. It’s not uncomfortably small - the mouse is still much nicer than the VM4 - but it could be just a little bit bigger.
I have to start off with this - the VMC has no scroll wheel click. It is instead replaced by the third face button. The extra face button is certainly comfortable, but why remove the scroll click? I imagine it’s harder to press a scroll wheel and it was removed for ergo purposes, but two buttons is better than one.
Otherwise, the VMC has a fairly standard button configuration. There’s 2 thumb buttons, scroll wheel, DPI changer and the 3 face buttons. The extra face button is quite comfortable to press with my ring and pinky fingers combined, and it doesn’t feel as awkward as it looks. The thumb buttons are easy to click easy to avoid when you don’t want to click them. The DPI switcher button is conveniently placed, and the LEDs to indicate your current sensitivity are subtle and quickly glanceable. The scroll wheel feels like “upper class office” style - that weird combination of mushy (the good kind) and clicky. Personal preference, but I quite like it. My only real gripe is that Mouse1 requires about half the force to actuate than the other mouse buttons, which resulted in heaps of miss-clicks as I was adjusting to the mouse. Lighter switches are ergonomically superior, but it’s confusing why only 1 of the buttons get this treatment.
Lots of buttons are useless without configuration, and Evoluent’s software comes through in spades. Each button can be set to any standard mouse or keyboard button or a pre-recorded macro. Bindings can also be customised on a per-application basis, which is excellent to see. Also included is a break timer to remind you to get off your arse, and “Click lock” and “Auto click” features to reduce strain from clicking things.
Initially I used the VMC on my Goliathus ‘Speed’ edition mouspad. It’s a cloth pad with a smooth surface, and I enjoy it with my DeathAdder. With the VMC it’s unusable. Incredibly slippery. For those who enjoy cloth pads, it’s like switching to a super smooth hard pad - I felt I was tracking on ice. Luckily I bought a Goliathus ‘Control’ by accident some time ago. It’s also cloth but quite rough. It made a huge difference to the feel of the mouse, and tracking now feels good. I’m starting to regain muscle memory with this configuration - headshots and airshots are become more common, and I’m not overshooting on-screen buttons like I was on the Speed. The feet are as smooth, if not smoother than the ones on my DeathAdder. Combined with the vertical stance putting more weight on the mouse, this would explain the slipperiness.
I don’t actually know what DPI Evoluent is using for the VMC. There are 2 ways to adjust sensitivity. The first is using the built in Windows sensitivity settings - the Evoluent software doesn’t add any precise control. Additionally, the mouse itself has a DPI button that changes between 4 different sensitivity settings. These are not configurable. This is pretty annoying, because my DeathAdder was set up perfectly. By forcing me to adjust using the Windows DPI settings, I now have to correct the DeathAdder’s sensitivity to compensate, which is a pain. Adding a DPI slider would be a great improvement to the Evoluent software.
Unlike standard mice where you actually lift the entire mouse, the most natural way to “lift off” using the VMC is to tilt the mouse to the side and slide with one end still on the mat. The manual even recommends this method, and it’s definitely the most comfortable. However, the liftoff distance of the sensor is quite high, and not configurable. I found myself not lifting far enough and sliding back. After a few days (and swapping mouse pads) it’s getting better, but it’s another pain point to consider when adapting to the new mouse - even if you already own a vertical mouse.
Lastly, the mouse updates at 125Hz, but this isn’t a deal breaker for me. Worth mentioning for the 1KHz diehards. I’m just a schmuck on the internet, but I think Evoluent would do well to try and capture the gaming market with a dedicated product. There’s a lot of gamers abusing their hands that probably don’t realise such comfort exists.
Basic disassembly is quite simple. By removing 2 of the mouse feet and 4 screws, the bottom simply falls out, revealing the PCB and ribbon cables to the button assemblies. Having to remove the feet is annoying as ever, as it’s never quite the same when you replace them after disassembly. Replacements aren’t offered yet, but I reached out to Evoluent and they said they’ll sell them soon.
My VM4 was an early model and had an rubbish laser sensor. The VMC (and the VM4 if bought new today) have a huge upgrade - the Avago ADNS-3000. It’s not gaming class, but it’s optical and made by Avago. It uses a Kingsis lens and should be good for up to 2000dpi. I don’t know much about lenses but from what I’ve read the Kingsis seems pretty standard. The date code on the sensor indicates it was manufactured in April 2015.
The processor is a Cyprus CY7C64215. Nothing particularly special here, it does what it needs to do.
The Evoluent VerticalMouse C is a welcome upgrade over the VerticalMouse 4, and may well be the best ergonomic mouse on the market today. For office use its purchase should be a no-brainer. For gaming it certainly holds its own, and I would definitely consider a purchase if hand pain is a problem for you. However, limited DPI customisation, 125Hz update rate and missing scroll click mean the VMC won’t be ideal for hardcore or competitive gamers.
Is it worth $100 USD? It’s a tough purchase, but the answer is simple for me - $100 now or permanent hand pain as I grow old. That it happens to be a great mouse is just a bonus.