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Contour Unimouse review: An ergonomic beauty

James Archer
9 Oct 2019
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
90
inc VAT

With its smart hinged design, the Unimouse’s balance of comfort and customisation is worth paying for

Pros 
Great adjustability
Robust hinges
Cons 
Expensive
Slight risk of discomfort
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Repetitive Strain Injury or RSI, is the bane of many a regular PC user. Since there’s no instant fix, and recovery can take weeks, the best way to deal with RSI and other computing-induced ailments is to take a preventative approach. Setting up your desk comfortably and performing regular stretches and wrist exercises are both essential, even if you’ve never suffered RSI before. However, for users who are particularly vulnerable, as well as those who are already afflicted, there are ergonomic peripherals such as the Contour Unimouse.

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Contour Unimouse review: What you need to know

This is a vertical mouse, which means that while the base still has a sensor facing onto the desk – like any other mouse – the buttons and scroll wheel are flipped up and to the side. As a result, you end up holding it with your palm in a much more vertically oriented position.

This is easier on the bones and muscles in your wrist and forearm, as it’s a more natural resting position – stick your arm out while reading this, pretend to grip a conventional, ‘horizontal’ mouse, and you might well feel like you have to rotate your wrist downwards. The difference might not seem like much, but holding yourself in this less natural position for hours at a time can eventually cause strain.

There are plenty of vertical mice, but the Unimouse takes this concept and expands on it. Having the right shape is clearly a big part of good ergonomic practice, but another is adjustability, and far fewer mice focus on this as well.

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Contour Unimouse review: Features and functionality

The Unimouse is different. It’s split into two distinct parts, with the base and sensor on the button and the top half – where all the buttons sit – attached via a hinge, not just part of the same frame as the base. This hinge lets you decide how vertical a grip you want, so long as it’s within the 35° to 70° range.

It’s a clever concept – everyone’s hands are different, so why shouldn’t a mouse dedicated to ergonomics allow individuals to choose what they find comfortable? – and a well-executed one, too. The hinge is loose enough to enable quick modifications, but is crucially stiff enough that we never re-angled the top half by accident. The entire design would have been moot if it just sank back downwards after being set to a high angle, but the hinge’s robustness prevents this.

What’s more, if you’re not used to the feel of a vertical mouse, which in fairness is very different to a traditional one, then being able to adjust the angle makes it possible to ease yourself in gradually. You can start with a low angle, and as you become more used to the notion, you can slowly go more vertical over time, until you’re at the highest (and most ergonomically friendly) angle.

Anyone who’s accustomed to regular mice will likely still have some spats with their muscle memory. The right-click button is positioned for the ring finger, for starters; that’s because middle-click functionally has its very own full-size button, in addition to clicking down on the scroll wheel. That’s not technically a flaw, and certainly isn’t a rare thing among vertical mice, but for the uninitiated it might take some getting used to.

That said, one of the weirdest things about the Unimouse is also the very best: the thumb rest. Rather than being built into the mouse itself, it sits on an extendable, adjustable arm, so just like the top half of the mouse, you can position and angle it exactly how you want it. This adjustability – not to mention the thumb rest’s deep curve and pleasant-feeling dotted grip – delivers far better thumb support than even a lot of other ergonomic mice.

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Contour Unimouse review: Design

Many vertical designs by manufacturers such as Ergonomique and Anker simply use a convex shape cut into the mouse’s body as a thumb rest. This is more ideal than just a flat side, which wouldn’t provide any support at all, but still assumes a one-size-fits-all approach, which, depending on your grip and hand size, can still leave your thumb slipping down the side. The Unimouse, conversely, gives your thumb its very own little cradle, which can be rejigged to accommodate different hands down to the millimetre.

However, the Unimouse is also guilty of a similar oversight, but on the other side: our little finger often ended up dropping down and getting caught on the edge, a risk made greater by the vertical design. This could possibly have been solved with a larger lip around the base of the mouse, like a smaller version of the static, flat thumb rests common to Mad Catz mice. Still, the edge flares out slightly, and there’s a patch of textured plastic there for some extra grip; those with smaller mitts, or even just a tighter grip, might not have the same issue.

Amid all the excitement about customisation and ergonomics, Contour hasn’t forgotten the basics. A small but still convenient set of side buttons sit just above the thumb rest, and both wired and Bluetooth modes are supported; you have to use a USB port in any case, as it uses its own receiver, but the detachable cable allows you to recharge the battery before seamlessly swapping back to wireless. There are also an impressive 10 different sensitivity levels, between 800dpi and 2,800dpi and, unlike on the Microsoft Classic Intellimouse, you can quickly switch between these with an onboard button.

READ NEXT: Best gaming mouse

Contour Unimouse review: Verdict

True, we wouldn’t expect much less for £90, which is a lot of money when basic, wired vertical mice start from around £12. Even so, considering both its wealth of features and just how uniquely adjustable the Unimouse is, that high price is justified.