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November 1996 Reviews TOC

11/96 Reviews HW: Contour Mouse

Declare Yourself Ergonomically Correct

By Hailey Lynne McKeefry

For years, input device companies have tried to build ergonomic products. Now, an ergonomics company is trying to build a better mouse. For the most part, it has succeeded.

The Contour Mouse comes in three sizes, and a chart on the side of the box helps you decide which size is right for you. Although the chart suggested that a medium would be right for me based on the length

of my fingers, I found that the small size fit my hand much better. For those on either end of the hand-size spectrum, Contour Design announced that an extra-small and extra-large model would also be available. The unit comes with a serial port connector and an adapter for the PS/2 port.

Shaped with a curve that fits directly into your palm, this mouse encourages you to hold your hand at an ergonomically correct straight angle. A thumb rest at the side supports your thumb at a natural angle. The three buttons have grooves for your index, middle and ring fingers. Unfortunately, the thumb rest makes this mouse just about unusable for the left-handed. (Contour Design promises that a left-handed model, in medium and large sizes, will ship soon.)

Instead of propelling the mouse with the thumb and pinkie, you control this unit directly with the palm. This translates into very tight control, requiring less effort to move the cursor. I found myself overcompensating at first, but manipulating the mouse quickly became second nature.

With the software and drivers for both Windows 95 and 3.1x, you can customize the mouse's behavior, determining cursor speed, double-click speed and chording speed, as well as the cursor's appearance (white, black or transparent) and size (small, medium or large). In addition, mouse trails, cursor wrap and quick-locate features are enabled by clicking a box.

The software lets you assign macros or shortcuts to any mouse button. The list of 18 shortcut options, plus the ability to program any of the 12 function keys, include everything from backspace to undo. You can assign a command to any of the three buttons, to a combination of buttons, or to a combination of buttons and keystrokes.

If you want to replace the mouse that came with your system with something you can use comfortably over a long period of time, this may be the mouse for you.

--Info File--
Contour Mouse
Pros: Utilities
Cons: Learning curve
Platforms: 3x, 95
Contour Design
800-462-6678, 603-893-4556
WinMag Box Score 3.5

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