The Goldtouch Semi-Vertical Mouse we’re looking at today is not to be confused with the Goldtouch Comfort Mouse, which I reviewed a few years ago. This new offering from Key Ovation is more nearly vertical than the old Comfort Mouse, has more buttons, and adds a removable palm rest. Let’s take a look.
The vertical mouse concept is now as old as many computer users. You’ve probably heard the case for it: The human is hand is more nearly at rest in the “handshake” position rather than with the palm flattened downward. You may also have heard the less-common case against it: A vertical grip carries no advantage of gravity and thus increases the “pinch force” necessary to click the buttons. While there may be something to this, the fact remains that palm-flattening is intuitively stressful for most users.
The Goldtouch semi-vertical mouse sits at a nice 60-degree angle, two-thirds of the way to vertical and a pain-free world from horizontal. Even though I personally have no problem with a true 90-degree vertical mouse, 60 degrees feels at least as comfortable to my hand, and I appreciate the possible benefits of pinch force reduction.
The One Adjustable Thing
There’s actually not much you can adjust about a computer mouse, beyond offering it in multiple hand sizes. Even Oyster, king of the adjustable mouse genre, only allows tweaks to the vertical angle. Other mice I’ve previously reviewed, such as the Newtral2 and Rockstick2, come close to adjustability by adding interchangeable hand rests to the mix: a big one for comfort, a small for precision.
It’s in this category of adjustability that the Goldtouch semi-vertical sits; it ships with one very large, removable hand rest. While this might seem stingy compared to Newtral’s three – count ’em – interchangeable pieces, it does carry a major advantage: there are no small parts to lose.
The Goldtouch palm rest clips on magnetically, with its flange slipping under the mouse body to clip in beneath rather than from the side. The advantage of this approach is that the palm rest is less likely to part company with the mouse. On the flip side of that, you have to pick up the mouse in order to remove the hand rest, and sometimes it doesn’t seat properly the first time. If that happens, the mouse will work but the pointer may start wandering erratically on its own.
So which is better, with or without the hand rest? Depends on what you want to accomplish. If you value hand comfort above all and don’t need pixel precision, the hand rest attachment makes the mouse more pleasant to use. If not, you’ll probably want to remove it. Just be advised that the mouse may run slightly over your little finger from time to time, as there’s no Evoluent-like “lip” to keep your hand just barely up off the work surface.
Cold and hot running DPI
If you use the Goldtouch hand rest attachment, you’ll probably want to turn the speed of the mouse pointer (the DPI setting) down. The makers know this and provide a way to do it with a button press on the mouse itself. This DPI changing ability is common on ergonomic mice these days, and especially on ones with removable hand rests. Goldtouch implements the feature intelligently by using an indicator light under the logo: cooler color means slower speed. Power users can geek out by changing the DPI setting increment presets in the software driver.
The downside to a low DPI setting is that it requires more physical motion to get your pointer across the screen. On one small monitor, this isn’t an issue, but if you have a large one or multiple monitors, you may find yourself in a Catch 22 situation with the hand rest attachment: turn the DPI down and you can’t get where you need to go on screen; turn it up and you can’t control the pointer once you get there. This is why the DPI switching function is built in – and why the hand rest is removable.
The Goldtouch semi-vertical is a five-button mouse – technically a six-button, but the sixth is best left to its default function of adjusting DPI. Button remapping takes place at the software level. The Goldtouch driver doesn’t have application-specific customization, but you can create five predefined “profiles” to shift around settings. This is handy for accommodating different users of the same computer, or to keep your settings for different types of work.
There are lots of mice that do some of the things the Goldtouch semi-vertical does. It’s not the only 60-degree mouse out there, or the only one with a removable hand rest, or the only one with variable, programmable speed. But when you put all those factors together with a relatively modest price tag, the mouse has a lot to offer.