Vertical mice are apparently all the rage these days. Companies like Cherry and Microsoft have already tried their well-rested hands at creating productivity mice from a (literal) new angle, and now Logitech has entered the fray, too.
The veteran Swiss peripheral manufacturer already makes the best gaming and productivity mice on the market, so rotating the whole project by 90 degrees, in theory, shouldn't present much difficulty.
In practice, though, the Logitech MX Vertical Advanced Ergonomic Mouse ($100) is a mixed bag. The device falls victim to a lot of the same problems as the rest of the mice in the vertical space: pressure on the thinnest part of the wrist, a base that's a little too easy to move and a general sense that you could get an equally comfortable gaming mouse for the same amount of money.
But if you like the vertical format, there's a lot to recommend in the MX Vertical. The software is robust (albeit imprecise), the physical design is inventive and the wireless connectivity is well beyond reproach. I can't recommend the MX Vertical without reservation, but at the moment, it's one of the better full-featured mice in the ergonomic space.
If you've never seen a vertical mouse before, the MX Vertical acts as a pretty good introduction to the style. Imagine a standard mouse flipped almost 90 degrees clockwise, with a large, ovular base on the bottom, and you've pretty much got the picture. The MX Vertical is large (3.09 x 3.11 x 4.72 inches), with a lightly textured thumb rest and a little extra space past the right button for you to rest your fingers. Whether you find this comfortable or repellent will largely depend on how you hold your wrist when you work on a computer.
Button-wise, there's a lot going on with the MX Vertical. On the face of the mouse, there's a left button, a right button and a clickable scroll wheel. On the top edge, there's a dots-per-inch (DPI) sensitivity adjuster. Just above the thumb rest, there are two thumb buttons. Flip the mouse over, and there's an on/off switch, as well as a button that can connect the MX Vertical to one of three wireless setups, then instantly switch among them. (For example: a desktop, a work laptop and a personal laptop.)
The button layout is smart and not too crowded, although constantly picking the mouse up to change between wireless settings can be cumbersome if you need to use two or three machines at once. (This comes up in office settings more often than you'd think.)
Instead, my issue with the mouse is that the vertical setup doesn't alleviate wrist pain completely; it just changes the location. It's no secret that regular mice (even fancy gaming mice) can induce carpal tunnel symptoms in computer-centric workers. The MX Vertical takes the pressure off the bottom of your wrist -- but it puts a ton of pressure on the side of your wrist.
After using the MX Vertical for two days, the right side of my wrist was stiff, sore and tender. In order to prevent the pain, I would probably have to use a gel wrist rest -- and if I need to invest in one of those, it sort of defeats the purpose of an ergonomic mouse. The other alternative is to hold the mouse without resting your wrist on a desk, but that can tire out your arm very quickly.
The MX Vertical's unconventional shape created as many problems as it solved, at least for me. I'm assuming that other users might have a different experience, though, since this design didn't occur in a vacuum.
The biggest feature of the MX Vertical is its design, which is unconventional but potentially polarizing, as described above. Aside from that, there are two major selling points: the wireless functionality and the software.
On the bottom of the mouse, you'll find a button that switches among three different wireless channels. You can connect via either Bluetooth or USB dongle, and the connection seems very stable either way. This is a welcome upgrade, considering I've had trouble switching between USB and Bluetooth on Logitech mice like the MX Master. The only issue is that there's no place inside the mouse to store the tiny, losable USB dongle. Even much cheaper mice, like the Cherry MW4500, offer this functionality.
The software, Logitech Options, is more of a mixed bag. I love how you can customize almost every button with almost any command -- you'd be surprised how many productivity mice don't offer anything like this. But I don't love how setting your DPI (up to 4,000) is imprecise and handled via sliders rather than hard numbers.
With Logitech Options, you can also perform a very cool operation, where you can move the cursor off
one computer, and right onto the screen of a second, provided they're on the same network. You can even copy and paste files in this manner, although you can't drag and drop, which is a bummer.
The feature works -- which is pretty amazing in and of itself. It's a lot simpler than trying to create an ad-hoc file network between two machines. But it's also sluggish and imprecise, as moving the mouse between the two monitors is not instantaneous. It's not always easy to tell which computer the mouse is targeting, and it's easier than it should be to accidentally trigger the switch. (You can specify that you have to press Ctrl before this happens, but then you have to trade convenience for precision.)
Just having the Logitech Options software puts the MX Vertical well ahead of many of its competitors. But the program isn't perfect, or 100 percent necessary.
To gauge how well the MX Vertical functions as a productivity mouse, I used it at the office for a few days (for everything except testing games, of course). Generally speaking, it was like using a regular mouse, except that my wrist felt a lot sorer. I wound up using the file- transfer feature a few times, which was useful, but not night-and-day different from uploading and downloading files from Dropbox or Google Drive.
The DPI- and wireless-switching functions came in handy a few times, though. At work, I have both a desktop and a laptop, and jumping from one to the other with the same mouse was much easier than normal. This feature isn't unique to the MX Vertical, of course, but if you really want a mouse with this kind of ergonomic design, you can use it on three systems simultaneously without issue.
For what it's worth, Logitech claims that the battery can last for up to four months on a charge, but in practice, that's hard to gauge. You can't see the exact battery life left, or how much you've used in a single session. At the very least, it's quick to recharge with an included USB-C cable.
I was happy to put the MX Vertical away once I finished reviewing it. I didn't find it comfortable, and the vertical design made it too easy to accidentally double-click files, or move them when I meant to open them. But of the vertical ergonomic mice I've used, it's easily the best.
The MX Vertical has robust software and intelligent wireless features, with plenty of options to customize your experience. The asking price is admittedly pretty steep, but Logitech builds products to last, and you could conceivably power through quite a few years on the job with a peripheral like this.
If you're intent on a vertical mouse, the MX Vertical is about as good as they currently get. If not, a comfortable, low-key gaming mouse will get the job done just as well.