Ergonomic mouse and keyboard for better work. Million of peoples will do a typical office job this year – at the desk in front of the computer. A number that has risen sharply in recent years, which unfortunately also means that associated diseases such as mouse arm, carpal tunnel syndrome and tension headaches will occur more frequently.
Ergonomic mice and keyboards can counteract this – Logitech has now launched a new line of ergonomic products for this purpose: the K860 Ergo keyboard and the MX Vertical and MX Ergo mice. We looked at the parts on site at Logitech.
Logitech Ergo Keyboard & Mouse
Sitting incorrectly, the wrong distance and viewing angle to the screen, and the incorrect position of the mouse and keyboard can all cause health problems if you spend a lot of time at a desk.
These include tension headaches, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome or the mouse arm, both of which are also known as “RSI syndrome (Repetitive Strain Injury)”. This means recurring strains on the hand or arm that lead to minimal hand or forearm injuries.
Those affected often report tingling in their fingers or hands or even numbness. So that it doesn’t get that far in the first place, you should take regular breaks to stretch and move.
Optimal prevention also includes maintaining the ideal monitor distance and using a good office chair. Peripheral devices such as a mouse and keyboard can also help prevent such complaints. We tried out the new models shown by hardware specialist Logitech – the K860 Ergo keyboard, the MX Vertical mouse and the MX Ergo trackball variant .
Logitech K860 Ergo – a keyboard for prolific writers
With this keyboard, Logitech is targeting everyone who safely uses the 10-finger system and has a lot of paperwork to do every day. Visually, the K860 Ergo is reminiscent of a wave in two ways – this basic shape is easy to recognize both from above and from the front.
Thanks to this design, your hands and wrists rest in a natural position on the keyboard, which means that the shoulder and neck muscles remain more relaxed than with conventional keyboards.
The palm rest, which is fixed to the keyboard, consists of three materials: two layers of so-called “memory foam” and an easy-to-clean antibacterial cover.
In addition, you can change the support angle, depending on the workplace, 0, -4 and -7 degrees are available. This means that the support is at 0 degrees and is always increased a little for the other two values, while the keyboard remains in its original position.
The minimal curvature of the keys increases the comfort when typing and provides a good grip when writing – ideal for everyone who has mastered the 10-finger system. According to the manufacturer, the microswitches used should withstand around 10 million strokes.
You can connect the keyboard to the Mac or Windows PC either using the 2.4 GHz transmitter included in the scope of delivery or via Bluetooth. Two AAA batteries are sufficient as a power source. And thanks to the Easy-Switch technology, the keyboard can be used on up to three devices at the same time.
In addition, it is compatible with all mice that support Flow. To do this, however, you need the Logitech Options software. The price of the keyboard is around 120 euros.
MX Vertical – Working at a 57 degree angle
Another innovation in the Logitech Ergo line is the MX Vertical which is aimed primarily at users who want to prevent or alleviate arm or hand complaints.
After lengthy examinations in Logitech’s Ergo-Lab (see below), the developers found that the hand should not lie flat on the mouse, but should move it at an angle of 57 degrees – this roughly corresponds to the position of the entire forearm when greeting by a handshake. This design is intended to reduce the strain on the stressed muscles by around 10 percent.
Thanks to its low weight of only 135 grams, the mouse can be moved quickly and precisely over the mouse pad. The built-in sensor supports DPI resolutions from 400 to 4,000 DPI. This setting can be changed at the push of a button. You can also individually program four mouse buttons using the Logitech Options software .
Despite its low weight, the mouse is 7.85 cm high, 7.9 cm wide and 12 cm long, making it suitable for people with large hands, but due to its shape, it is only suitable for right-handers.
The MX Vertical is connected either via Bluetooth, the included Unifying adapter, which transmits at 2.4 GHz, or via a cable to a USB port. It has a built-in battery that, according to the manufacturer, should last several months on one charge. You have to spend around 72 euros for the mouse.
MX Ergo – control only via trackball
According to Logitech, the MX Ergo should offer even better protection – but again only for right-handers: The muscular strain when working should be around 20 percent lower compared to a standard mouse.
This is due to the trackball, with which you can control the mouse pointer, and to the base plate, which enables you to tilt the mouse by 20 degrees via the hinge on the left. This visually approximates the MX Vertical.
The sensor built into the MX Ergo, however, works with a lower resolution of 512 to 2,048 DPI. Despite the trackball, it weighs only 164 grams, with the metal base plate around 100 grams more.
The size of 13.3 cm in length, 5.1 cm in height and a width of 9.9 cm make the MX Ergo also interesting for users with large hands. The width is so large because the trackball is embedded on the left side and is followed by a generously dimensioned thumb rest, which enables comfortable work.
To swap the mouse buttons or change the pointer speed, you must also use the Logitech Options. Just like the other two devices presented, the MX Ergo also supports the flow feature. However, you can only switch back and forth between two devices with this mouse.
The MX Ergo does not differ from the vertical version in terms of connection options either: Bluetooth, Unifying adapter or a USB cable are available.
Logitech has also given its mouse a built-in battery that, according to the manufacturer, should last around four months once fully charged. You can get the mouse for around 69 euros at various online retailers.
The Logitech design lab
Logitech develops new products in several “design labs”, which are distributed worldwide at the various company locations. We had the chance to take a look at the laboratory in Lausanne and learn a little more about the individual production steps.
Every device begins its existence virtually, as a rough draft on the computer, before the engineers in the design laboratory build the first models based on it.
Different materials are used for this, depending on the product. For example, in keyboards for the first physical models, styrofoam is often used, on which the keyboard layout made of paper is glued.
Variants that prove to be useful in the first hands-on tests are then produced as a model with the 3D printer and given a keyboard that is not yet functional, but is sufficient for further tests.
Testers are supposed to simulate that they are writing a text to check whether the design will also work in practice. It is not uncommon for a hundred models or more to emerge from a wide variety of ideas.
On the way to the final product, Logitech also tests various materials and incorporates the results from the “Ergo-Lab” (see below) into the development process. Meanwhile, the engineers use the computer to test the behavior of the selected materials in virtual drop tests, among other things, and thus further optimize the quality of the end product.
The Ergo Laboratory: measurements for better work
In the Lausanne company location there is not only a “design lab”, but also a small ergonomics laboratory, or “Ergo-Lab” for short. Here, test persons are wired with sensors and motors on their hands and forearms to take various measurements.
For example, the specialists at Logitech record how much stress is placed on the wrists and how much stress is placed on the forearms.
For this, the test persons, who represent different types of users, have to solve different tasks depending on the device. The results recorded are then used in the further development of the product.
At the same time, Logitech cooperates with several ergonomics experts so that their research results flow into the daily work of the “Ergo-Lab”. The aim is to minimize the stress on joints, muscles and muscles.
Conclusion: Our impression of the Ergo product line
After a short training period, all devices could be used well – with the restriction that you have to be right-handed with the two mice. So if you suffer from physical complaints such as mouse arm or tension headaches, or want to prevent them, you should look at these three new devices – especially since the quality is right.
You can write comfortably on the K860 Ergo keyboard if you have mastered the 10-finger system, otherwise it is rather complicated to use. Above all, I found it annoying that the keyboard and palm rest are firmly connected.
The two mice MX Vertical and MX Ergo are only suitable for right-handers, and the MX Vertical especially for those with large hands, for whom it offers a comfortable thumb rest.
The maximum of 4,000 DPI minimizes the individual movements when working with the mouse. Unfortunately, Logitech uses a proprietary battery for this model, which you cannot replace yourself. The devices are not exactly cheap, but if you want to do something about your complaints, cheap devices won’t get you far.