ProsGreat option for users with repetitive stress issues; fair price; reliable wireless system
ConsCan feel awkward; auto-tracking limits accuracy; buttons are hard to press due to angle of hand
Here at The Tech Buyer's Guru, we're constantly receiving e-mails from companies offering up the latest innovations in the technology arena, and some of them are most definitely a bit over the top. Not long ago, our friends at Germany-based Cherry reached out to us about a new ergonomic mouse they were bringing to the U.S., and we were intrigued. There's been a huge amount of hype over the years regarding various ergonomic keyboard styles (most of which have since vanished from the market), but little has been done with the humble mouse over that time (of course, there are plenty of companies still marketing various trackball designs, but we can't stand using them, so sorry, they don't count in our book!). We decided it was worth taking Cherry's new design for a spin.
For those who aren't familiar with Cherry, it's a company that dominates the mechanical switch market for high-end keyboards, and also has a very extensive catalog of commercial office products. With its new MW 4500, Cherry is looking to shake up the mouse market. It takes the concept of a curved keyboard, and applied it to a mouse, which in theory should better match the natural position of the human hand. Just lift your hands up right now, and notice their natural position. We'll bet you your palm isn't facing directly downwards, but rather is angled abouto 35-45 degrees, and that's what the design of the MW 4500 is intended to mimic.
So, does the MW 4500 represent a must-have innovation, or just a passing fad? Read on to get our take!
We'd like to extend a special thank you to Cherry for providing a sample of the Cherry MW-4500 Ergonomic Wireless Mouse for review.
Description and Features
We'll discuss the unique ergonomic aspects of the MW 4500 in a moment, but first let's discuss standard features. Despite its unusual shape, the MW 4500 offers up all the controls you'd get in a standard mid-range mouse and then some. It has right and left mouse buttons, a very smooth scroll wheel that can be depressed for use as a third button, forward/back thumb buttons, and even a dots-per-inch (DPI) selector switch up top, allowing you to choose 600, 900, or 1200dpi. That's a great feature that most mice in the MW 4500's price range don't include. We particularly appreciate that Cherry has chosen presets that actually make sense in an office mouse. Sure, 3,000+ DPI might sound good in theory, but it makes a mouse impossible to actually use!
The MW 4500 weighed in at 116g on our scale, including batteries, which is competitive for a wireless mouse, though you'll certainly feel its heft. The very best wireless mice today are around 100g, although many wireless mice still hover around 130-140g, which we consider too heavy. The MW 4500 is good enough in this regard.
Flipping over to the bottom of the mouse, we see the optical sensor, which is oriented just slightly off of parallel with the mouse base, which immediately had us wondering how it would track if the mouse were used in a natural grip position. Also visible in this photo is the included mini-receiver, which tucks neatly into the body of the mouse for storage and transport. We can't tell you how many wireless mouse receivers we've lost over the years, and we've mis-matched even more of them, so this is a very nice feature from our point of view. The MW 4500 requires two AAA batteries, and we've loaded our up with our go-to NiMH battery, the excellent Eneloops. Seriously, if you're still using alkalines in any of your PC or other technology products, do yourself a favor and pick up an Eneloop battery and charger kit. It will save you tons of money (and headaches) over the long run. The last thing we'll mention is that the mouse does have an on/off switch to help preserve battery life when not in use.
Now, we'll get to the elephant in the room: the MW 4500's shape. Technically, it's marketed as having an ergonomic form utilizing a 45° design, although this only applies to the top of the mouse. The side thumb buttons are actually positioned essentially in a vertical position, just like they would be on a normal mouse. Thankfully, Cherry has molded an indentation into the side of the mouse to provide a thumb rest under these buttons, another feature that's uncommon on lower-cost mice.
Ultimately, what really matters is the overall comfort and effectiveness of this design, so let's get into that on the next page.