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Review: Hippus HandShoe “gripless” ergonomic mouse

Sections: Macintosh/Apple Hardware, Mice, Peripherals, Reviews

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The HandShoe ergonomic mouse from Hippus NV of the Netherlands is one of few “gripless” computer mice, meaning it is designed to track around your mousepad guided by just the weight of a relaxed hand. Designed over two years of field testing and refinement in close cooperation with two medical universities, the HandShoe Mouse can help minimize stress associated with devices that must be gripped while orienting the mousing hand and arm.

The concept behind the patented HandShoe Mouse is to prevent excessive gripping and pinching as well as the stretching of the fingers. The special shape allows for the hand to continuously rest on the mouse body in a relaxed fashion, thereby reducing the risk of RSI (repetitive strain injury).

Hippus HandShoe

Medical and ergonomic specialists at Holland’s Erasmus University Medical Centre used electromyogram (EMG) technology to measure muscle activity of hand and fingers when mousing, and found that relaxation in neck, shoulders, arms and hands can be realized by reducing force exerted during mouse manipulation.

The Hippus Handshoe Mouse’s marketing focus is centered on the 25% of the computer-using workforce estimated to be suffering some degree of suffering from RSI symptoms.

Hippus HandShoe

With a shape that reminds me of a Manta Ray fish, this is a large mouse that will require a generously sized mouse pad—with gaming pads like the SteelSeries SteelPad units being an ideal choice.

Hippus HandShoe

Your hand rests in a contoured channel on the top of the HandShoe mouse entirely, with no friction from contact with the mousing surface.

There is also no need to use fingertips for pressing the mouse buttons, as small exertion of finger pressure from the big joint where it meets the hand being sufficient for button clicking. However, the stiffness of button action is my main criticism of the Handshoe, being much stiffer than with the several Logitech mice I use or an old Razer Orochi gaming mouse I consider just about perfect in lightness of button action.

Users who prefer more resistance and feedback may prefer the HandShoe scroll wheel, which can be operated with the inside of the middle or index finger. Scroll wheel action is detented, which also falls short of the excellence one finds in the weighted scroll wheels of some Logitech mice whose detents can be enabled or disabled to allow free-wheeling (the latter being my personal preference in most instances).

Hippus HandShoe

Because the HandshoeMouse is designed to fit your hand like a glove, it must be able to accommodate different hand sizes, and comes in both left and right hand versions. There are are six different variations offered, with hand sizes (left and right) corresponding to hands measured from the tip of the ring finger to the wrist crease in large (210 mm or 8.25″), medium (190 mm or 7.5″), small (170 mm or 6.75″), and extra xmall (155 mm or 6.1″). Left-hand sizes are available in most sizes. When ordering a HandshoeMouse, it’s recommended that you measure your hand according to instructions posted on the Hippus and reseller Websites and order the appropriate size for your hands. The largest-size HandshoeMouse also has a third button with the same function as the switch function of the scroll wheel, but the small and medium sizes don’t have room to accommodate this third button.

Hippus HandShoe

The HandShoe Mouse is available in both wireless and corded versions. I tested only corded models, which is what I prefer in mice for greater precision and positive connection interface, especially with large units like these which are less likely to be taken on the road with a laptop (although the test units did come with nice fleece drawstring carry-bags). The HandShoe Mouse is also available in a BlueRay Track version which is claimed to work on almost every surface without a mouse mat.

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Despite their size, the HandShoe mice are commendably light in weight. And according to Hippus’s Canadian distributor, they can even be rendered slightly lighter, if desired, by removing metal and plastic ballast weights housed in the mouse enclosure. The weights, located in the outer chamber of the underside, are specifically included by default to allow the user to reduce the weight of the mouse for users (of which I’m one) who prefer lighter weight mice, The medium sized HandshoeMouse models we tested weighs about 210 grams in standard weighted trim.

Several models and sizes of HandShoe mice are offered. I tested a standard optical tracking sensor HandShoe Mouse in optional red livery and a black example of Hippus’s new BlueRay Track model—both of them medium sized models. The BlueRay Track model unit—with its BlueRay Track Engine—is based on a double lens optical system in combination with a blue LED and a specific light frequency which supports a far higher definition of the underlying surface, resulting in a higher accuracy and a broader range of surfaces, and tangibly better in pointing precision and “feel.” I found it works on almost any surface without a mouse pad. For example, it tracks perfectly on glass and with acceptable precision even on my trouser-leg or a blanket.

Hippus HandShoe

“This new cutting edge BlueRay Track technology will take the Handshoe Mouse forward in a different league, where ergonomic and technological claims can be proven and supported by research and field reports,” says Hippus’s Chief Technical Officer, Dr. Ing. Paul Helder. Certainly in testing the laser and BlueRay Handshoe Mouse models back-to-back, the BlueRay unit has a definite precision edge, although the laser model is no slouch either. The BlueRay Track models are also expected to be especially attractive to serious gamers, who require extremely high definition.

Hippus HandShoe

The two models are pretty much identical in form-factor. The scroll wheel detents on the BlueRay Track Handshoe Mouse had a better feel, but that might’ve just been a production variation. hspads2

The HandShoe mouse is plug and play, with no special drivers for Mac or PC needed. While these mice are not inexpensive, workmanship, finish quality, and materials are all first-rate, and the HandShoe mouse has a three-year warranty. I think the button action and scroll wheel action could be improved, but the designers have achieved their objective in creating a comfortable, low-stress pointing device,

I’m giving the Hippus Handshoe Mouse a 3 out of 5, but it could have been a four if I’d found the clicking and scrolling ergonomics more to my liking.

You can get a free download of the research presentation of Erasmus University at the HandShoe website.

Appletell Rating:
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Buy the Hippus HandShoe mouse

Provides: Optical mouse input
Developer: Hippus
Minimum Requirements: USB port
Price: $119.00 (corded), $139.00 (wireless)
Availability: Now

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