Contour RollerMouse Re:d Review

If you’ve read this blog for very long, you may know that I am a fan of the Contour RollerMouse, a remarkable revolution in pointing devices. When I reviewed the RollerMouse Free last year, I could barely stop talking about it. I had less to say about the older Pro model, but still found it a solid device. Now, however, there’s a third-generation RollerMouse – one that makes all previous models pale in comparison. It’s called the Re:d, and I’m very fortunate to have one sitting on the desk in front of me as I write this.

RollerMouse Red In Use, Top View

In case you’ve just joined us…

If you already know what a RollerMouse is and how it works, feel free to skip this section. If not, I’ll explain it as simply as I can.

A RollerMouse is a way of controlling your mouse pointer that differs utterly from all that went before. The unit itself is stationary, like a trackball – only there’s no ball. Instead, there’s the rollerbar, a rubberized tube that slides horizontally and rotates around a smaller metal tube. These rotations and slides serve to move your mouse pointer up, down, and sideways. Controlling it like this is way more intuitive than you are probably imagining.

Contour RollerMouse Re:d
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The rollerbar can also work as your primary click “button.” To register a click, you simply depress it. There are also separate physical buttons on top of the unit for left, right, and double-click – plus a scroll wheel with middle-click, and special-purpose controls for copy and paste. All of these functions can be customized with Contour’s free downloadable driver for PC and Mac.

Some aspects of RollerMouse functionality can also be tweaked at the hardware level so they will work the same on any system. These include the cursor speed, which has five levels managed by a button on top, and the rollerbar click tension, which also has five levels and is adjusted similarly. The loudness of the click sound can also be changed this way – more on that later.

For details on how to adjust these hardware-level settings, see the handy instruction booklet that comes with the RollerMouse Re:d.

What’s in a name?

Before I start typing this “Re:d” business over and over again, let’s establish a couple of premises. First, it’s pronounced “red,” like the color. Pay no attention to the colon behind the “e.” Second, I don’t like it either. I understand it was concocted by the big-name marketing company that Contour uses, but I think these high-priced marketing suits sometimes outsmart themselves, and this was one of those times.

If you’re interested, the colon is there to separate the “re” from the “d” so that the latter could stand for more than one thing, e.g. re:designed, re:developed. Really catchy, huh? Right. Don’t worry, though. This device may come with a goofy name, but after using it, I think you’ll be renaming it something else – like “fabulous,” for example. It doesn’t really matter what it says on the box.

The good and bad of heavy-duty aluminum construction

The RollerMouse Re:d is the definition of solid. Unlike its comparatively flimsy predecessor, the Re:d’s whole body is made of heavy-duty aluminum – the same grade of aluminum that is used to make airplanes. You could probably repel an office intruder using the RollerMouse Re:d as a club, and still be able to mouse with it afterwards. Needless to say, it doesn’t flex or bend under even the heaviest hand. The extra stiffness also helps it work well with the front part hanging off your desk.

The RollerMouse is pretty dazzling in its natural aluminum, but I don't find it practical to use without the palm rest.

The RollerMouse is pretty dazzling in its natural aluminum, but I don’t find it practical to use without the palm rest.

So, what could be bad about a solid, heavy-duty unit? Two words: electrostatic shock. I don’t know if this fact somehow escaped the Contour engineers or it was simply considered unimportant, but the heavy metal unit can administer a noticeable jolt. Several times a day, I slide into my chair, touch the unit, and receive a small but annoying shock.

On balance, my brother uses the Re:d full-time, and he has never gotten a static shock from it. This could be due to a number of factors, including his physiology and working habits vs. mine, or even his office environment. For example, I have a plastic chair mat and he does not.

In any case, we may be sure that a non-metallic unit would not be capable of zapping the user under any circumstances. Perhaps Contour would consider the addition of a micro-thin, insulated coating to the exposed metal parts of the Re:d. Aerospace aluminum is very cool, but electrostatic shock is not. There are more than enough sparks flying around most offices already.

The palm rest is not a decoration

Most of Contour’s pictures show the Re:d in all its aluminum glory, without the included palm rest. I assume this is just for good looks in the advertising, because I can’t imagine that very many people would actually use it that way. The aluminum body is not just potentially shocking. It is also hard, cold, and at entirely the wrong height for resting your palm.

Turn the included key, and the palm rest comes off.

Turn the included key, and the palm rest comes off.

I believe Contour understands this, because their mechanism for removing the palm rest – which comes installed by default – is unconventional and quite inconvenient. Where previous models attached with plastic clips, the Re:d palm rest simply pressure-fits. However, this fit is so tight that if you tried to pull it apart by hand, you’d likely break something – on yourself, not the RollerMouse.

How, then, does it come off? If you said, “special included prying tool,” give yourself a peanut. The RollerMouse Re:d actually ships with a “key” that you’re supposed to insert in a slot and rotate to remove the palm rest. Seriously weird. And also, from my perspective, irrelevant, as I would never, ever remove the palm rest from a RollerMouse Re:d.

Speaking of the palm rest, it’s much improved from the Free version in at least one respect: it lacks the frontal angle of the Free, which on the old design could cause harmful wrist extension. I find the Re:d much more comfortable to use, and conducive to a better wrist angle.

A bigger, better rollerbar

See the texture dots on the larger RollerBar? This feature makes a world of difference to precision.

See the texture dots on the larger rollerbar? This feature makes a world of difference to precision.

It only makes sense that the Re:d’s most significantly changed feature is the business end of the device – the rollerbar. This part of the unit is so different from the Free version – and so much better – that it’s barely recognizable. To start with, the Re:d rollerbar is fatter. This makes it easier to move precisely, and much easier to grip for steady on-target clicking. The grip is also enhanced by a grid pattern of small, soft “dots” molded into the rubber coating.

The Re:d rollerbar also uses an entirely new optical tracking system. With the old Free, you could get a hair down in the unit and suddenly find your mouse pointer slip-sliding away, or completely stuck in one spot. The Re:d sensor, however, is actually sealed inside the rollerbar itself, where no dirt or dust can ever reach it.

No more falling off the edge of the world

Here’s my number one favorite improvement of the RollerMouse Re:d – its rollerbar almost never runs out of space. How Contour accomplished this is beyond me. All I know is, it works.

With the old Free and Pro models, the rollerbar would very frequently bump into one end or the other of its track. There was a limit switch there to reset the cursor position each time, but this never really worked all that well. For one thing, the switch was “springy” – the rollerbar would bounce back from it, which could make it almost impossible to click on the very edge of the screen.

There are no springy switches on the Re:d. This is nice, but it doesn’t really even matter, because the bar hardly ever reaches end of travel – even with multiple monitors! Again, don’t ask me how this is accomplished. Just enjoy it. I do.

RollerMouse Red Top Side View

Pushing against nothing

When you click an ordinary mouse button – or the rollerbar on previous RollerMouse versions – you are actuating a mechanical switch. This switch usually makes a clicking sound; hence the word “click” to describe selecting something with your mouse pointer.

The Re:d, however, does not use a switch for its rollerbar click. Instead, clicking action is tracked the same way as pointer movement, by lasers which monitor the position of the rollerbar. These lasers actuate a click when the bar is depressed to a certain adjustable level.

This system has significant practical benefits. Because the bar does not have to close a switch in order to register a click, there is no “force feedback” against your fingers. Thus clicking becomes a relaxed, almost detached motion – one that happens more electronically than physically.

Sound and fury

Once you understand that rollerbar “clicking” action is actually silent, one significant question presents itself: How do you know when you’ve clicked?

Contour RollerMouse Re:d
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Believe it or not, Contour answered this question by installing an artificial click-noise-maker in the RollerMouse Re:d. This gives you some unusual capabilities, such as being able to turn the click sound volume up or down, or even mute it. Why would you want to mute it? Glad you asked. Even on its lowest setting, the rollerbar’s artificial click is so loud that it absolutely drives me bananas. My personal solution is to mute the silly thing, restoring blissful silence to my office while I’m trying to work.

The downside, of course, is that I’m left guessing whether or not my click has registered. This can be more of a challenge than you might think, as not all applications provide instant feedback when you click on something. (Especially when they’re frozen like molasses in Antarctica. I’m looking at you, Quickbooks!) Within a short period of time, however, I developed a good “feel” for the force required to register a click. Not a perfect experience, but more than good enough. And quiet.

Even the Re:d packaging is first-rate. The box, which has a magnetic closure, is great to re-use for travel.

Even the Re:d packaging is first-rate. The box, which has a magnetic closure, is great to re-use for travel.

Condition Re:d

If the RollerMouse operating principle sounds appealing to you, I urge you to consider purchasing Contour’s highest-end model. The Re:d is more expensive than its Free predecessor but only by about $25 (and yes, Free is an odd name for such an expensive device – almost as odd as Re:d).

To say that the Re:d improvements are worth $25 would be a ridiculous understatement. I would even go so far as to say this: Even if you already own another model of RollerMouse, you should think about selling it and upgrading to the Re:d.

It’s that good.

Disclosure: This review was made using a complimentary sample from Contour Design.

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59 Comments

  1. Leanne
    Posted June 2, 2016 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Hi,

    Wondering if you could tell me will the Contour Pro 2 roller mouse will fit and work with a Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard. I need to look at a ergonomic keyboard due to wrist issues and like the roller mouse.

    Many Thanks,

    • Jason
      Posted June 3, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Any curved keyboard – especially one with an integrated palm rest like the Sculpt – is less than ideal for use with a RollerMouse, because the RollerMouse itself is straight and also has a palm rest built in. I recommend a split model instead, such as the Kinesis Freestyle or Matias Ergo Pro.

  2. Laura Varner
    Posted June 1, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Dear Jason,

    I have had my Rollermouse Free2 for about 5 or 6 yrs now, and am very happy with it. However< I think it's time for cleaning? how do I do this and are there any special precautions you recommend? my mouse is not very responsive now and I suspect it is because of accumulated dust in the roller mechanism

    • Jason
      Posted June 2, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      I could give you cleaning tips for the Red, but I’m not sure about the Free. I’ll shoot a link to this conversation over to a guy at Contour if see if he’ll weigh in.

    • Jason
      Posted June 24, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Finally got some RollerMouse Free cleaning instructions posted here.

  3. Jadelyn
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    I’ve got a Red that I absolutely adore, but it really does not want to play nice, desk-space-wise, with my Microsoft Natural keyboard because of the super-curvy and very wide bottom of said keyboard. While typing, I end up resting my arms across my rollerbar and clicking on things inadvertently, or one piece or the other slides around while I’m trying to use the other piece, I’m constantly having to rearrange my desk to try to get a halfway decent working position that works for both typing and mousing, and it’s starting to drive me nuts. The Red is here to stay, so I’m looking at replacing the keyboard instead.

    Do you know of any ergo keyboards that you would recommend for use with the Red? I need something with a numpad (not the integrated kind where it overlays half the keyboard and you toggle it on and off as needed, those drive me nuts and I do way too much alpha-numeric data entry for that to be practical), so as much as I like the review you did of the Goldtouch Go2, I’m not sure that would work well for me. Have you – or do you plan to – review Contour’s own keyboard, the Balance? I’m considering trying that one out simply because I know for sure it’ll play nice with the Red.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Jason
      Posted April 28, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Yeah, trying to use a RollerMouse with a curved ergo keyboard is kind of a recipe for frustration. As far as I know, however, there’s nothing all that magical about Contour’s new board; it’s mostly about aesthetics and having things match. Pretty much any keyboard other than one like you’ve got will work fine. I use a Kinesis Freestyle myself, but that might not work for you if you need a numeric keypad. If a straight keyboard with a numpad is your choice, you might perhaps consider a mechanical model such as the Matias Quiet Pro; that will work well with the Red and give you significant typing action benefits.

      • Jadelyn
        Posted April 28, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        Thanks Jason! I’m definitely a fan of mechanical keyboards, so I’ll take a look at the Matias. Appreciate the help!

  4. Bacon
    Posted February 27, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    My employer will not allow software installed on our work computers, including drivers. It has taken me two months to get a keyboard tray approved (but not yet ordered), despite a recommendation from our internal ergonomist and my doctor. Several questions: 1) do you think the re:d will work without driver? 2) with two monitors? 3) if I am using a 22″ workrite banana board keyboard tray, with a 5 degree tilt downward (as in, my fingers are lower than my wrists), will the r:ed work ok with the downward tilt? 4) the tray specs suggest it is 18.5″ wide and about 11.5″ deep of usable space. Assuming a standard clunky keyboard (F keys, numbers, etc.) which is probably 6″ deep, will the 5″ of remaining usable space between the keyboard and the front edge of the tray be enough? Based on math and product measurements, there is enough room, but the examples I’ve seen online show people using the r:ed on a desk. I found a video that shows how to mount a r:ed on a workrite, but not of anyone using it… Before I buy one, I am curious if you have used it with a tray or know of anyone who has?

    • Jason
      Posted February 27, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      1) Yes, the Red will work without a driver. I think I had one installed on a previous computer, but I didn’t even bother loading it on my current machine because the Red does everything I need without it – including basic button remapping at the hardware level.

      2) I have a 27″ monitor and a 17″ monitor, and the Red works without a fumble. I also know of people with even bigger setups who use it just fine.

      3) Downward tilt shouldn’t be a problem either. My brother actually prefers his RollerMouse Red that way, so he props it up on the front edge of his keyboard tray.

      4) 5″ of clear space should be enough for any ordinary user.

      • BACON
        Posted February 27, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Thank you!!

  5. NG
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jason, thanks for the review.
    I am thinking of buying the kinesis freestyle 2 split keyboard. Will the roller bar of the contour roller mouse:Red be long enough on each side – so that I don’t have to angle my wrists inwards relative to the right or left halves of the keyboards to access the roller bar.
    Is the movable part of the roller bar on roller mouse free 2 longer than that of the roller mouse red?
    Thanks

    • Jason
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      First of all, the Kinesis Freestyle and RollerMouse Red are, in my opinion, a match made in heaven. I use that combination of devices all day, every day, and so does my brother.

      As I understand the question, you’re wanting to make sure you can properly operate the RollerMouse by touching mostly the ends of the bar, so your hands won’t have to go to its center. While this would be easier on the Free than the Red – its RollerBar is about 9.5″ end to end, vs. 7″ for the Red – I think it may not be the best approach. There are buttons and a scroll wheel in the middle that you may want to access, and depressing the bar from one end (to click) might prove uncomfortably difficult in any case. You really don’t have to “angle” your wrists much to use a RollerMouse, even touching it in the middle. Coming in at an angle, with arms fairly straight, works fine. You can actually see this in the top picture on this article.

      Hope this helps.

      • NG
        Posted February 2, 2016 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Jason. This is really helpful. You answered the exact query that I had in mind!

  6. Alan
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Having used a mouse for over 25 years it had given me arthritis in my right index finger, lots of pain in wrist & forearm and worst of all pain in my right shoulder from raising it all the time to use the mouse.
    I took the plunge and bought the RollerMouse Red, a lot of money here in Australia AU$490.00 so went in with my fingers crossed.
    Initially I thought it would take a few days to get used to, but had it mastered in all of 10 minutes.
    I have an ebay store with hundreds of items which needed lots of upgrades, I was able to fly through this task, much, much faster than an ordinary mouse.
    There are some tasks that are not quite as easy as an ordinary mouse, but this pales into comparison of the benefits of the RollerMouse.
    But the best is left until last, all pain is gone from my arm and shoulder, I do hours of work now that I would have tried to avoid previously.
    Contour Design RollerMouse Red is a brilliant product and a lifesaver for me.

    • Jason
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing your story. I have yet to meet, or hear of, a user who experienced any significant adjustment time when switching to the RollerMouse. It’s one of those rare things that looks way harder than it actually is.

  7. Raymond
    Posted November 9, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Can I turne RollerMouse Re:d on 90 degrees to play First Person Shooter games to get rid of the barriers from left and right side of bar to play the game with fully 360 degree of motion in the horizontal plane ?

    • Jason
      Posted November 10, 2015 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Offhand, I don’t think that’s possible. Have you considered switching to a trackball such as the Kensington Expert Mouse? That would give you 360 degrees of movement in all planes.

      • Raymond
        Posted November 14, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Trackball can not be so good in aiming because of it’s idle twist. You can move ball up down left and right to move cursor, but you will twist it too without any visible effect so you will never know so good about your real impact on cursor because of this idle twist. That why RollerMouse Re:d is so good and much better then any trackball and better then optical mouse. RollerMouse Re:d is only point devise with out idle twist, so theoretically I can aim extremely fast and extremely precision in game. I can feel horizontal and vertical shift of my in game crosshair separately with help of my fingertips. Latched idle twist gives me this advantage. So for me this is very importante to have the opportunity to turne RollerMouse Re:d on 90 degree for better gaming.

  8. Neal
    Posted May 26, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Saw this article when I was looking something up about drivers. Anyway I do have one comment. Palm rests are evil incarnate. You should never use them. Only real issue I had with moving to the Rollermouse. Your wrists should always be even with your arm and hands when typing. So remove the palm rest and move the keyboard to the end of the desk or tray if you are not using a rollermouse. If you are, then remove the palm rest and keep your hands off of the metal for both typing and using the mouse.

    And if you aren’t using the palm rest the rollerbar is much easier to use and therefore more precise. Without the rest attachment you can pinch the rollerbar with finger and thumb and still have a lot of play. And yes, use the right hand for the rollerbar and the left hand for the buttons. That reduces the strain on your right hand.

    OK one last thing, make sure the scroll wheel is centered between the G and H keys. Otherwise you can get some pain from moving too far to the left or right when using the mouse.

    • Jason
      Posted May 27, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for posting your thoughts. I can’t agree that palm rests are “evil incarnate,” but there’s no doubt that they don’t work for everybody. Glad you’ve found the setup that works for you.

  9. camilla thomson
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    Hello Jason,

    Thanks for the excellent review! I am concerned about the electric shock/spark you mentioned. I am very sensitive to getting shocks from my computer equipment. Have you worked out a way to solve this? Would a rubber mat under the device stop the shock?

    Am I correct in my understanding that you can only turn off the noise of the ‘mouse click’ in the Rollermouse Red device and you cannot turn it off on the Rollermouse free 2 device?

    Thank you for your time

    • Jason
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      You are correct that the click noise cannot be turned off on the Free, because it is a physical click switch. The Red can be turned off because it is an artificially generated sound effect.

      Funnily enough, I haven’t noticed a major problem with static shocks lately, even though we are very much in static shock season. Might have something to do with having a humidifier on this year, or perhaps with using the ArmSupport Red as I’ve been doing for the past few weeks.

      Not sure what effect a rubber mat would have, but the RollerMouse Red has one thing going for it that makes it very easy to test: it’s returnable. :-)

  10. HK
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    I’m using the rollermouse red for almost a year now, and I’m very happy with it. However, at this moment the cursor is swabbering across the screen, not reacting to commands and doing other silly things.
    I guess this is because there is dirt before the sensors or lasers, but how can I clean them? I already tried using compressed air, to no avail. I also tried to press the roller bar while pushing it from left to right. Doesn’t work either. Has anyone a tip for me? This is my second rollermouse, the first one had a similar problem.

    • Jason
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      For a minute I wondered if my brother had commented on the blog, as he has been working through this same issue with his RM Red. Have you talked to Contour tech support? 800-462-6678 during East Coast business hours. Jeremy or Brett will help you out – they really know their stuff.

      • HK
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        I’m living in The Netherlands, but I contacted the company where I bought the rollermouse. They offered to send me a new one, which is very nice of them. But, incredibly, the mouse just started working normal again. So I’ve decided to wait a bit and see what will happen next.
        Apart from this, I’m really very, very happy with the rollermouse. It was very easy to learn to work with it, the mouse is very precise and my RSI complaints (shoulder) are almost over. It is definitely worth it. Now, let’s hope the problem will not come up again, but I’m almost sure dust or dirt is the culprit here.

    • camilla thomson
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 3:25 am | Permalink

      Hi Jason,
      Thanks very much for taking the time to reply to my query.
      I have the rollermouse red here now – and I just LOVE it – a fabulous piece of technology. Thank you for the review.

      I am still having a problem with the shocks though. I think it’s the power supply to our house, we live in Asia and the house is quite old. I need to find a machine that regulates the power so I don’t get a spike? Not sure yet?

      Anyway – thanks! Wishing you and all your readers a happy 2015

    • kflint
      Posted March 15, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      I am on my second one. It completely relieved my tendonitis and I love it. The mouse does go wonky (only able to scroll diagonally and will not click) if I do no unplug it when I restart my computer. All I have to do is unplug it and plug it back in and it seems to work just fine. I did not have to install a driver (my IT person said that could be the issue) so I just deal with it by unplugging it and plugging it back in.

  11. Johnc
    Posted December 22, 2014 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    I am considering getting the rollermouser red as I am a programmer and use the mouse all day with increasing aches in my shoulder/finger form mousing. The mouse features that I use a lot of quite precise are right-clicking and selecting words/areas of text with copy/paste ( I know there are dedicated buttons for that) so my concern is – how easy is this rollermouse when doing precise right-clicks and selecting text?
    many thanks
    John

    • Jason
      Posted December 22, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      The RollerMouse Red is extremely precise, provided you use both hands – one to move the bar, and one to click. (Might also work to use the thumb on the bar-moving hand, but I find that hurts my thumbs.) The point is, clicking with the rollerbar, while doable, tends to reduce precision. But if you click with the other hand, you’ll have all the precision you need with a minimum of strain. Hope this helps!

  12. Jonathan
    Posted May 2, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    How do you mute the mouse click sound from the roller bar?

    • Jason
      Posted May 2, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Instructions are on page 8 of the manual that comes with your device. If you don’t have a hard copy you can download one here.

  13. Mark
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m currently using an trackball on the right hand and a mouse on the left hand. For my new pc i’m looking towards the Logitech M570 for the right (as my wireless Optical Trackball is sadly out of production) and a mouse on the left (e.g. the handshoe or a normal one). Before going for these known options i am investigating the RollerMouse and MouseTrapper if these could be an alternative. Do they work without irritating points (like f.e. accidental rolling, clicking, cursor positioning, etc?
    Also i’m not convinced it will work comfortly with an ergonomic keyboard, f.e. the new Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard?

    Do you know how it does compare to the MouseTrapper?

    • Jason
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      The US MouseTrapper distributor declined to provide me a sample, so I cannot make any informed comment on that device. As for the RollerMouse Re:d, I have found no major irritations such as you mention, and neither have my two brothers, who use the Re:d full time. It’s just a really good solid device that works as advertised.

      As for compatibility with ergo keyboards, I’d be wary of anything that has a non-removable palm rest. The Re:d works best with a minimal ergo board such as the Kinesis Freestyle.

  14. Birgit
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I just bought the Rollermouse based on this review and I am so glad I did. This is my second day using it and it is very easy getting used to. In fact, on my first day I was equally precise working with my left hand than I would be with my right hand using a high dpi mouse (which I currently can’t due to pain in my right hand).

    I do think the palm rest is rather small. You can only use it for resting during typing, but there is no way to rest your hand while handling the mouse keys or roller bar. I think there is a larger replacement for this rest available from this company, but I did not find it in any shops. I am thinking about adding a very narrow and possibly rather flat additional palm rest in front of the Rollermouse instead.

    The precision of this mouse is actually quite amazing. My primary concern with the available ergonomic mouse options was the lack of precision, But there is no problem like that with this mouse and working with 2 monitors of 1920px width is not a problem.

    It is hard to stop crying while paying 320€ for an HID but without it I couldn’t work at the moment, so what options does one have…

    • Jason
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing your experience. If it makes you feel any better about the price, there are HID’s that cost way more than 320€. Look up the Maltron keyboard line sometime! :-)

      I have to disagree that the palm rest cannot be used while operating the mouse. I can see how it would be impossible in some cases, but I am able to do it because I let the front part of my fingers hang off the back of the unit during use. (I have room behind the unit because of my split Kinesis Freestyle keyboard.)

      I just spoke with Contour Design about the extended palm rest for the Re:d, and they confirmed that it is available to order now. The product will be officially launching on their website in four days, and the additional cost seems to be quite modest. I would get with your distributor on this – or order directly – before jerry-rigging something.

      • Birgit
        Posted November 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the advice, letting the fingers hang off is even more relaxing, I never thought of that because my keyboard was placed right along the Rollermouse edge. I’ll see how this goes for a while before deciding if I need the larger palm rest. It’s interesting how something so obvious can escape me that easily :)
        In the meantime, the TECK I just ordered should arrive so I can see how they both work in combination. While I trust the Kinesis devices are excellent, I am intrigued by the TECKs thumb keys even more. While I never noticed that before, now that I am experiencing pain in my hands I realize how far my small hands need to stretch to reach the backspace key for example.
        Thanks again for your input, your help is much appreciated.

  15. Volker
    Posted November 5, 2013 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    This is probably the best review I found for the RollerMouse. Thank you!

    But i´m still not 100% sure if I should go with it for replacing trackballs, sadly the market for high quality trackballs is almost non existent today. The logitech ones last 1 year until the buttons wear out. The perfect solution would be something like a keyboard with a trackball mounted right under it but the kensington which look like the best option today are to big for such setup.

    I have a “Das Keyboard” which I love but my biggest concern about getting the rollermouse is what I have read here and in other sites. Multiple monitors…

    Moving between 4 monitors can´t be really done unless you have a trackball with a high DPI setting. You mentioned in your review that this new rollermouse can move fine even with multiple monitors but then someone here in the comments says the opposite.

    I don´t game, so I would not have a problem with using such a device, its actually perfect for my type of work where I write, click, write, click, etc. But I have a serious concern about using it with multiple monitors.

    If would be really great if you could really clarify on this issue. Moving a cursor between 2 monitors is one thing, moving it between more than 3 some which are 1920 pixels wide, would be another story. And this devices are designed for heavy computer users, and I don´t know anyone that uses single monitors setups but works all day with computers, so I find it rather strange Countour did not designed this devices for this setups. I yet had to find one single demo with more than 1 monitor with the rollermouse which is what concerns me.

    I have no way to test this in person and there are almost no reviews about how fast or sensitive the cursor really is. I don´t expect it to be perfect but if you cant even move if from one screen to the other it would cause more pain than not using the device at all.

    I would really be interested in hearing some experiences of users with wide screens or multiple monitors and I assume im not the only one. Yes, I could just buy it and test it, but this is not exactly cheap. If it works it would be worth every penny and even more than that, but this is my biggest concern. Will it work fine with multiple monitors? How does it compare to a high end trackball?

    • Jason
      Posted November 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      I have used the high-end Kensington Expert Mouse trackball, and I would say that the Re:d is at least as precise – probably more so.

      My brother has dual displays 1600 pixels wide apiece, and he reports that the Re:d never reaches end-of-travel, period. I also tested it on my 1920/1280 setup with the same result. (The old Free, on the other hand, would bump all the time with just one monitor.) Obviously with four screens, it could be a different story. You’d simply need to turn up the DPI setting as high as possible and see how it works.

      In addition to simple speed, there is some end-avoidance technology built into the unit; it actually accelerates when it detects that you’re nearing the edge. This seems to help quite a bit.

      If you’d like to try the Re:d, you can order it from this site with free shipping, and send it back within 30 days if you don’t like it. In that case you’d be out only the return shipping cost – but I tend to doubt it would come to that. It’s just really hard not to love this thing once you’ve tried it.

      Hope this helps.

  16. Al
    Posted October 12, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Overall, I am a bit disappointed with the Rollermouse Red strictly for ergonomic reasons. I previously purchased a Rollermouse Free 2 and use it at work. This device is fantastic and really helped years of myofasical pain and elbow and wrist tendonosis. In fact, a pending Harvard University study on the Rollermouse Free 2 verified my experience:

    http://ergo.contour-design.com/benefits/research

    I decided to order the Rolermouse Red for my home computer. While I was impressed with the construction, I noticed more forearm and wrist pain than when I use the Rollermouse Free 2. Ultimately, I think the larger rollerbar helps more precise mouse actions at the expense of requiring more forearm use. Additionally, the rollerbar motion does not go as wide as the Free 2 promoting use of one verses two arms. I can still use two arms with rollerbar, but its not quite as easy as with Free 2. The salesperson at Contour Designs told me they want you to use only right arm to move rollerbar and left arm to click buttons. Seems weird to me and do not understand the rationale. Don’t get me wrong, this product is still better than anything else I tried other than the Rollermouse Free 2.

    I’m still trying to decide whether I will keep Rollermouse Red when the 30 day free trial period ends. At this point, I’m leaning on keeping it since I have a 3M adjustable keyboard tray with limited room for larger Free 2 and I do not work too long on home computer.

    • Jason
      Posted October 17, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Interesting observations – thanks for sharing your experience. (Sorry for the interval in getting your comment approved; it fell through the cracks.)

      • Al
        Posted October 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        Do you recommend placing the Rollermouse so far forward on a desk as show on this video:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5I6Z0e4fQ4U

        • Jason
          Posted November 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, this conversation seems to have fallen through the cracks! :-)

          Personally, I like the RollerMouse just as close to me as I can possibly get it, because that’s the way I like the keyboard. I can, however, see where some users might like it further away – particularly if they sit in a chair without arm rests.

  17. Hieronymus P. Organthruster
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    I have the Re:d — a genuinely silly name that can only hinder people Googling for it — on 30 day trial at present, and while it was surprisingly easy to get along with, with virtually no learning curve, I have multiple monitors and with the pointer sensitivity on the highest setting my brain can withstand, the movement of the bar doesn’t cover my desktop.

    What this means is I can cover roughly three quarters of the horizontal area before the cursor finds itself suddenly magnetised to the nearest edge – Contour’s answer to this problem being to flick the pointer to the extent of its travel. In most circumstances this neatly sidesteps the issue of the bar having a bump stop at either end, but here it regularly gets in the way. One quarter of my desktop cannot be accessed without me having to reset, making it feel more like a giant touchpad. I can’t stand touchpads for this reason.

    So while I’m undecided I am leaning towards returning it. The lack of a driver means I can’t remap buttons, which of course just adds to any annoyances. The buttons themselves are slightly awkward, given the pain I have is in my thumbs – they are spaced rather too widely, about one and a half times further apart than on a regular mouse, and require surprising effort to push. In addition, even after some days’ use the scrollwheel feels like it’s in the wrong place, and would be better located where the arc of LEDs is. To reach it currently, I have to bend my index finger virtually in half, and how exactly are you supposed to scroll with your finger bent in half? You can’t.

    Long story short: nice idea, but feels like it was designed for one particular type of user – probably one with very small hands – and the lack of driver support means you can’t change anything about it.

    • Jason
      Posted September 25, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Good points and questions here.

      I have multiple monitors and with the pointer sensitivity on the highest setting my brain can withstand, the movement of the bar doesn’t cover my desktop.

      How many monitors do you have, at what resolution? And which DPI setting are you using on the RollerMouse?

      The lack of a driver means I can’t remap buttons, which of course just adds to any annoyances.

      Hold the fort! The cavalry is (supposedly) coming….

      The buttons themselves are slightly awkward, given the pain I have is in my thumbs – they are spaced rather too widely, about one and a half times further apart than on a regular mouse

      I think you identified the problem when you mentioned your thumbs. I am not sure, but I believe the engineers intended users to operate the buttons with thumbs rather than fingers. If you don’t like pushing things with your thumbs – and I’m with you on that – the RollerMouse can be a bit tricky to use. The key for me is to position my hands so my fingers can reach both the bar and buttons. I have rather large hands, by the way.

      In addition, even after some days’ use the scrollwheel feels like it’s in the wrong place, and would be better located where the arc of LEDs is. To reach it currently, I have to bend my index finger virtually in half, and how exactly are you supposed to scroll with your finger bent in half? You can’t.

      Once again, I think the scroll wheel is intended for your thumb. I get around this by moving my whole hand back to use the wheel with my index finger, or by operating it with my other hand.

      • Hieronymus P. Organthruster
        Posted December 2, 2013 at 5:29 am | Permalink

        Jason,

        Still no sign of the drivers for the RollerMouse Re:d. Do you have any sway with them – or at least can you bend the ear of someone there? This is a good product that is being let down gradually by the fact there is seemingly no urge to support it. There is nothing on the web site indicating that a driver might even be forthcoming.

        All that is happening is that competitor products such as MouseTrapper are being gifted a larger gravitational pull – particularly as that device has a very comprehensive driver set.

        Regards (and many thanks for your continued updates here)

        • Jason
          Posted December 2, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

          I have had several conversations with Contour regarding the driver, and from the details they’ve mentioned, I’m confident that active development actually is taking place. Obviously, though, it is taking longer than anybody would like. I’m optimistic that we’ll see something operational in the next few weeks or so.

  18. Mikael
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Have you tried taping over the speaker hole?

    It works very well on smartphones that are too noisy at the lowest sound setting, maybe it works just as fine here?

    • Jason
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Interesting idea, but I don’t think it would work because the noise-maker is a solenoid. So it’s actually a physical “click,” only generated by an auxiliary device.

  19. Christoph
    Posted July 27, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    I first had tried the Rollermouse Pro and was on the fence whether I should keep it, considering the price. When I tried the Re:d it was like love at first sight. The roller is much easier to move due to it’s increased diameter and I agree with Jason that the problem with hitting the end of the rollerbar is virtually non-existent (if it still happens, there is no bounceback and scrollbars and Xs in windows can easili be used).

    I tried both roller mouses with a laptop but found that it is not as comfortable as with the Kinesis Freestyle2 that I got at the same time. For one, I have to move my hand(s) further, second, I realized when using the “mouse” I like to let my middle through pinky fingers relaxedly hang over the far edge of the mouse, a “posture” that the (physically) split keyboard allows. But still, a laptop and the Re:d still make good buddies due to the increased height of the roller over previous models.

    • Jason
      Posted July 29, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      I do the same thing you describe with the RollerMouse, letting my fingers hang off the back in the space between my keyboard halves. Can’t imagine doing it any other way.

      (Note to readers: The last two comments are from two different guys named Christoph.)

  20. Christoph
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Jason for the excellent review! I use a Kinesis Advantage keyboard. Do you think its palm rest would interfere with the rollermouse?

    • Jason
      Posted July 25, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Good question. I don’t currently own a Kinesis Advantage, so I haven’t tried it myself. Contour tech support thinks it should do fine. I tend to agree, provided you don’t mind having your keyboard pushed back far enough to allow space for the RollerMouse Re:d on your desk. In any case, there’s a 30 day return policy – so you could try it and send it back if it doesn’t work for you.

      • Christoph
        Posted July 25, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        Thx for your insights! I will probably give it a try (given I find a reasonable reseller – prices in the EU are so much more expensive than the US price). I had the same problem with the Kinesis Advantage already – I actually ordered it straight from the US in the end.

        • Jason
          Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          I think the RollerMouse is a pretty big deal in Scandinavia at least, so hopefully you won’t have any trouble.

  21. JT
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    “All of these functions can be customized with Contour’s free downloadable driver.”

    I’ve been looking for a driver for the Red on the Contour site, with no luck. Do you have a link for the driver?

    • Jason
      Posted July 25, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Hmm… thanks for pointing that out. I just spoke with Jeremy at Contour, and he told me that the Re:d driver is still under development. It is expected to be available toward the end of next month, but no firm date on that yet. I have added a note to the review so others will not be confused.

  22. Neerav
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the review Jason. I’m curious as to how well the RollerMouse situates with various keyboards. I see in some pictures that it is put in front of the laptop keyboard. Does it not get accidently moved (rolled) when typing using the laptop keyboards? And then for the various ergonomic keyboards such as the GoldTouch wouldn’t it interfere or does it serve as a pseudo palm rest?
    Also, sorry if you already answered this, but is it possible (and easy) to move the cursor diagonally with the RollerMouse?

    • Jason
      Posted July 25, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      I have never tried the RollerMouse with an actual laptop, so I’m not sure how it would work. I haven’t tried it with an ultra-thin keyboard either, but I expect you could use the keyboard risers to compensate and avoid accidental rolling/clicking.

      The RollerMouse doesn’t strictly “interfere” with the Goldtouch, but if you like your keyboard as close as possible, you’ll be better off with a Kinesis Freestyle, as the Freestyle has more of a gap in the middle. The RollerMouse can serve as a palm rest for the Freestyle, but only if the keyboard is in a nearly-flat position. Otherwise you’re going to end up angling your wrists back.

      Yes, diagonal movement is just as easy with the RollerMouse as with any other kind of pointing device.

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  • About The Blogger

    Jason, the All Things Ergo bloggerI'm Jason, a user of many ergonomic devices by necessity and choice. I'm also a partner in a business that operates a number of commercial enterprises, including All Things Ergo.

    I have no particular training or expertise in the area of ergonomics. My views are based on my own personal experience, and what works for me won't necessarily work for you.