Everglide Wrist Rest PlusReview date: 11 March 2000. Last modified 03-Dec-2011.
Breast breast breast breast breast.
This thing feels like a breast.
There. I said it.
I felt I had to, because every person - well, every MALE person - that touches Everglide's new squishy Wrist Rest Plus seems compelled to comment on the thing's breastiness. I don't know about the women; maybe they just don't spend as much time thinking about breasts as we do. Hard to believe, guys, I know. But it could be true.
The Wrist Rest Plus doesn't look like a breast, though. It's just a blob of silicone gel filled polyurethane foam (hence the odd feel), covered with smooth fine-weave Lycra. One edge is straight, one curved to fit the cut-outs in the bottom of all of Everglide's mouse pads, except for the simple rectangular ones.
You put the Wrist Rest in the cut-out, you rest your wrist on it, you use your mouse. It stops your wrist from dragging on the desk or being abraded by the edge of your mouse pad (if you've got an Everglide, the beveled edge means this isn't likely anyway), and, if you're a heavy computer user, it may save you significant fatigue. The Wrist Rest comes in blue, green, charcoal or black, and you can buy one directly from Everglide for $US9.95 plus whatever the shipping is to where you happen to be.
The bottom of the blob is shiny grabby plastic, which sticks to smooth desks in exactly the same way that those plastic protective sheets stick to the displays of various electronic items. This means it's easy to move the wrist rest, but not by just moving your wrist. It stays where it's put until you peel it off.
This is not necessarily a great thing, because mouse wrist rests are different from keyboard ones.
Keyboard wrist rests are meant to stay put - but you're not meant to touch them while you're typing. They're there to keep your wrists straight when you pause in your typing. Without a wrist rest, many people just rest their wrists on the desk when they pause, with the fingers still on the keys, which means the wrists are put in "extension", as it's called. This upward bending of the hands is not good, and wrist rests reduce it. You can avoid it in other ways, of course; you can put your hands in your lap, palms up, for instance. The larger change of arm position needed to do this is A Good Thing, according to ergonomicists.
Mouse wrist rests, though, are different. You hold your wrist straighter while you're using a mouse, rather than letting your fingers droop onto it as you do (or should do) while using a keyboard. Ergo, your wrist is close to the desk while you're holding a mouse - touching the desk, in fact, for most people. This means that if you put a rest under your wrist, your wrist will be resting quite heavily on the thing, and may be jacked up quite a lot compared with the usual position. If all you want to do is reduce the pressure of wrist on desk - which can cause soft tissue damage - then a thin, soft wrist rest would seem to be adequate. The taller the rest is, the more heavily your wrist is likely to push on it, and the more friction you'll have to deal with.
Some people say that mouse wrist rests are supposed to be able to move, or at least rotate, so they can follow the movement of your mouse hand. Some other people - clearly including Everglide - don't seem to think this is so important. I don't think anybody's come up with hard evidence either way, though; a great deal of nonsense is spoken about ergonomics, often by quacks eager to cash in on their own pet treatment for Repetitive Strain Injury or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or whatever they choose to call it. The syndrome is real enough, but the treatments aren't, necessarily, and there are more than a few wrist rest gadgets for mouses that don't move.
It seems to be universally agreed, though, that the wrist works best when it's straight. If you're typing with your wrists resting on the desk, your wrist is in extension, and that's bad. If you've got some housebrick-sized wrist rest holding your whole arm up above your mouse, your wrist is in flexion, and that's bad too.
If your wrist is held higher than your hand and the rest of your arm by a wrist rest, then you'll probably be resting most of your arm's weight right on the bend of the wrist. This is likely to start out uncomfortable and rapidly get worse. That means it's not likely to do you any harm, because you're not going to keep the darn wrist rest there if it feels awful from the start. The ergonomically dangerous positions are the ones that feel quite comfy until its too late.
To get your wrist straight, you need to get the position of your mouse pad on your desk, the height of your mouse pad, and the height of your chair all sorted out. Even the mouse itself makes a difference; if it's a low-slung Boomslang then your hand will be significantly closer to the desk than if you use a big fat Intellimouse Explorer (as I do, at the moment).
If all of these factors come together to make your wrist pretty much comfortably straight to start with, then a rest like the Everglide one can be a nice, though not drastic, addition. You may, however, have to change the exact way you hold and use your mouse. If you've got the Everglide rest hard up against a mouse pad, then the back of the mouse'll hit the rest if you try to use it too close to the near edge of the pad. And if your wrist was previously drooping off the back of your mouse and the wrist rest elevates it back to straightness, you'll have to change your grip on the mouse a bit.
The silicone-filled foam of the Everglide rest means it ought to last very well, and it sticks solidly to the desk, and the Lycra surface is pretty smooth. It's quite comfortable, provided you've got your limbs arranged properly to start with.
If your work area is already an ergonomic disaster zone, this thing won't save you, or even make much of a difference. But as computer toys go, it's a cheap one, and it's a nice partner for an Everglide mouse pad. It'd make quite a nice gift.
And, in case I forgot to mention: It feels like a breast!
Review Wrist Rest kindly provided by Everglide.