Contributor, Tech AdvisorJUL 20, 2023 11:24 am BST
Image: Martyn Casserly
At a glance
Comfortable to use
Takes up a lot of room on the desk
Some software inconsistancies
If keeping your hands healthy or lessening the impact of conditions like RSI or Arthritis are primary in your needs, the SliderMouse Pro is a very serious option to consider. Admittedly, it’s expensive, but it could have the ability to save you a lot of pain, which as any sufferer will tell you is worth every penny.
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For those who suffer with RSI, arthritis or general hand pain, ergonomic accessories can be a lifesaver. There are plenty of dedicated keyboards around, with split or angled keys, but most mice you see are weird shapes that alter how you hold and interact with the device. Contour has a different and novel approach.
Its SliderMouse Pro acts as a highly maneuverable bar across the top of a wrist-rest. So, does this method help or hinder? I put it to the test to find out.
Design & Build
Connect via wired or wireless
Risers needed for low-profile keyboards
At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a pretty standard wrist-rest. The SliderMouse Pro has a wide, curved surface for precisely that function, with just the top area giving away its actual purpose.
The rest area is covered in what looks like fabric, but once you touch it you realise it’s a textured rubber top, which is also padded to make it comfortable when typing for long sessions.
There’s an offset section along the upper edge of the rest area that’s home to a scroll wheel, much like you’d find in the middle of a mouse (albeit much wider). This is surrounded by five programmable buttons that can be used to trigger typical mouse commands and the wheel itself can be clicked to open a link in a new tab.
The real artistry is the row above the wrist rest which houses the ‘mouse’ mechanism, not just another scroll wheel. Here you’ll find the Sliderbar section that can be slid vertically and horizontally to move the cursor as you would with a standard mouse. It contains a few horizontal lines to give some grip and it all moves freely.
There is a little noise where it sounds like the material is slightly dragging on the Sliderbar at times, but this doesn’t translate into anything you can feel or affect the movement of the cursor.
A little button on the left side panel lets you adjust the sensitivity of the cursor and the setting is illustrated by a column of five lights just above the button. Connecting it to your computer is done in one of three ways – wired, USB dongle or Bluetooth.
A cable comes in the box (USB-C to USB-A), plus there is an included USB dongle and a converter that allows you to plug in a longer USB cable. Contour states that a fully charged battery will give you three months of normal use, so you won’t need to bring the power lead with you if you’re out and about.
The company also throws in a couple of adjustable plastic keyboard risers that you can put under your keyboard to lift it up. These are necessary, as the edge of the SliderMouse Pro sits quite high if you use a low-profile keyboard (such as the Apple keyboard). The risers work ok but don’t feel that stable unless you find the perfect placement.
If you’re using a taller keyboard, like a typical mechanical one, then the SliderMouse Pro actually sits at a good height already.
Contour offers the Slidermouse Pro in two colors, light grey and dark grey, and it also states that you can swap the covers out for others that attach by magnets, including a rather fetching wooden one. I have to admit I couldn’t find the covers on the website, so they may be currently unavailable. This could have changed by the time you read this. If you don’t want the large wrist rest section, then there is the Slidermouse Pro Slim, which reduces the space taken up on the desk by getting rid of the flatter part of the rest. Alternatively, there’s also the Slidermouse Pro Extended, which adds an extra section on the right side of the frame to give you even more room.
Features & Performance
Fast and accurate Sliderbar
Six programmable buttons
Probably better suited to right-handed people
One of the main advantages the SliderMouse Pro has for those with hand problems is that you don’t have to position one hand off to the side as you would with a standard mouse. It acts more like a laptop would, with the controls directly beneath the keyboard.
The Sliderbar sits nicely under the thumbs and has very little friction, making it easy to manipulate. It does take a little while to get used to it, but once you’ve adjusted to the ergonomic design it’s a nice way to control the cursor. I think, being left-handed, that it’s better suited to right-handed people, as the offset position of the Sliderbar means that the right thumb has a lot more room to move.
The Sliderbar is also clickable, so you can make choices without moving your typing position. One thing you can’t easily do with the bar is drag a page up or down or do the same for list options. These are best handled via the scroll wheel instead. Again, this takes a bit of getting your head around, but due to the reachable location of the wheel it soon becomes second nature.
You can also avail yourself of the buttons around the wheel while you’re there, giving you pretty much all the controls you’d get with a standard mouse. Downloading the accompanying drivers (for macOS or Windows) allows you to configure the buttons to do what you want, which is helpful. You do miss out on the gestures that you may be very attached to if you’re a regular macOS user. This does take some adjustment, but there are key combinations that can achieve most of the quick navigation controls that you lose.
Having copy and paste on dedicated buttons is a nice shortcut which can reduce the number of button presses you need to do, which again is beneficial for stopping hands from getting fatigued.
I did see some inconsistencies with the buttons, in that the copy/paste function worked happily in Microsoft Word but not Google Docs, so hopefully Contour will be able to fix this with an update. Otherwise, it’s a really solid and impressive way of navigating your desktop.
Price & Availability
As with most ergonomic accessories, the prices are higher than a standard, mass-produced model. Contour sells the SliderMouse Pro (wired) for $259/£274 while the wireless version bumps that to $274/£289. You can also buy it from Amazon UK.
This is expensive when compared to ergonomic mice like the Logitech MX Vertical (which costs $99/£109.00) or the budget Anker 2.4G Ergonomic mouse ($25/£30), but they still have the same problem of placing your hand and wrist to the side of the keyboard and requiring you to keep changing your position.
The SliderMouse Pro is a different category of device, bringing with it the cost of that exclusivity and comfort. See our chart of the best keyboards for more options.
I have to admit I was a little sceptical of the design when I first saw it, but after only a few hours it began to really grow on me.
I’ve long suffered with arthritis and RSI which means I haven’t been able to use a regular mouse for over a decade. The SliderMouse Pro makes a comfortable change from trackpads that can leave my hands aching after a while.
The ergonomic layout, mixed with the responsive Sliderbar and multitude of buttons, allowed me to tailor the commands to those I use most, lessening the impact on my hands and joints that would normally occur.
You don’t necessarily have to already suffer from pains in your hands to use the SliderMouse Pro, either. In fact, it might actually help prevent those conditions from ever appearing. Yes, it’s an expensive amount to spend on a mouse, but if you use a computer everyday, then it could well pay for itself many times over if it keeps your hands healthy.
10 levels (600-2800 DPI) of sensitivity
5 levels of click resistance
6 programmable buttons
Wired or Wireless connection (depending on model)
Driver app for customisation features (Windows and macOS)
3-month battery life
38.3 cm x 16.5 cm x 2.3 cm/ 15 in x 6.4 in x 0.9 in
Martyn has been involved with tech ever since the arrival of his ZX Spectrum back in the early 80s. He covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews for Macworld and its sister site Tech Advisor.