GentleMouse Review: Ergonomic Software for RSI Relief

GentleMouse is an ergonomic software program that lets you perform everyday mouse commands simply by making small movements of the cursor over well-placed menu commands. I blogged about GentleMouse when the software was first released, but I had no first hand knowledge of how it worked. Luckily, ExtremeTech did a full review of the software today, so let’s take a closer look:

Excerpts:

How does it work? The software activates and picks up the cue to click the mouse when the cursor pauses, like when a user wants to click a link. For that brief second while you hover over a link, a small transparent window pops up and displays a list of common click commands. You can select a command simply by moving the cursor over that desired command, and by pausing the cursor again, the software selects that command for you. So executing a click command requires two mouse pauses, one to bring up the window of commands, the second to actually choose which command you want when you hover over it.

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Is this the beginning of the end of clicking the mouse? GentleMouse hopes so. We’ll dig a bit deeper into GentleMouse, record our experiences, and give you the low-down on whether or not this piece of software is worth $40.

Using GentleMouse

Using a mouse without ever having to click it sounds a bit like a paradox, right? Not so. The GentleMouse software is as easy as it looks, with a learning curve as straight as an arrow. We admit that we had to use the practice settings at first to acclimate to the software, but it required almost no effort, no frustration.

The problem associated with ergonomic peripherals is that they inhibit you from using certain programs. Some ergonomic mice and keyboards aren’t suitable for gaming, and GentleMouse isn’t either. But that’s no surprise. It’s also a bit tricky to use when using a graphics application. Drawing an image, say with a paintbrush tool, exposes the weakness of having to move the cursor and extra deal in order to activate certain click commands. When drawing, you may draw unwanted lines because the paintbrush follows your cursor around until you release the hold command.

Keep in mind that GentleMouse doesn’t disable your mouse’s ability to click. So in some applications, you might have to resort to that old fashioned method of pressing on those mouse buttons.

Final Thoughts: No More Clicks?

GentleMouse is far from perfect, however. While it does precisely what it advertises, GentleMouse cannot overcome issues in certain apps where clicking a mouse is essential, such as when gaming or designing graphics. The software will also add to the time it takes to execute click commands because of the extra step or two it requires. And if you have a quick click speed, you’ll likely have the issue of the Trigger Window pop up unwillingly. These are things you’ll have to get used to, and with practice, they can be avoided or reduced.

Despite some of these imperfections, it really boils down to ergonomics. Are you willing to devote the time and effort to use GentleMouse for the sake of improving the computer experience? We think it is worth it, even for those already with RSI or clicking-related injuries.

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