Note: I was reimbursed by the manufacturer for the purchase of this product in exchange for a fair evaluation of it.
I haven’t used a mouse for going on five years. This corresponds to the time I got my Macbook Pro, on which I am typing this review. So it’s taking a little time getting used to reaching my hand over to my right to grab the mouse to move the cursor or click on links, as opposed to moving down a bit to the built-in mousepad – or trackpad, or whatever you want to call it.
Keep that in mind then as you read this review. It’s coming from someone who knows how to use a mouse, hasn’t used one in quite a while, and has never used a “vertical” ergonomic mouse like this one from Autley.
Also, I realize that a review about a mouse barely fits under the category of Optics. A mouse like this was once called “optical”, though now you’d more likely call it “wireless”. In any case, I’m including it on this site because it’s close and because I want to. Nuf said about that.
What’s in the Autley Mouse Box?
Let’s start with the usual…What’s in the box?
In addition to a sleek, black mouse which comes with battery inside, you get a tiny USB receiver, a USB charge cable, a user manual (leaflet), and a customer service card.
The hardware appears to be of good quality. Just because something comes from China or other countries in the Far East, that doesn’t mean it’s automatically low quality these days.
That said, the written materials were obviously composed by someone whose first language is not English. Neither were they proofread or edited by a native English speaker.
For example, in the customer service card, there is a question and answer section. The first question says…
Q: How can I do? If the product does not work properly.
It’s not that there is anything I can’t understand on that card or in the user manual, it’s just that Autley could have taken a little more time to get it right. Hey…I would have done it for them for a very reasonable price.
Setting Up the Mouse
The first step in getting started with the Autley mouse is plugging in the USB receiver. That’s easy enough. Autley does issue this caution, however.
“If your Macbook has only usb-c(type-c) port, please connect via usb 2.0 to usb c adapter (NOT included).”
Since my Macbook is about five years old, I didn’t have any problem with this connection.
The next step is to flip the mouse over and turn it on using the toggle in the base.
When I did this, a window popped up on my screen asking me to press the unrecognized key next to the left Shift key on my keyboard. I did that (pressing the Z key), and I was told the key wasn’t recognized (still) and that my keyboard wasn’t recognized.
That’s a little strange because the mouse appears to be working just fine. I think there’s some versioning problem in the software or firmware or other ware somewhere.
There’s another toggle on the bottom of the mouse for turning on a blue LED backlight. I decided to switch that on as well. It doesn’t really do anything, but it looks nice.
I haven’t needed to recharge the mouse yet. It’s supposed to work for 12 to 20 hours. I haven’t come anywhere near that time yet.
UPDATE 12/16/19: Yesterday the mouse stopped working, so I figured it needed to be recharged. I flipped the mouse over and toggled it off. Then I plugged the charging cable into its mouse port and into my laptop.
What had been a blue light at the bottom, now became a red light. I assumed this meant charging was taking place properly. I was correct, because this morning the red light was gone and the mouse worked again as expected.
By the way, I also noticed that the red light flickers along the bottom when you switch DPI settings. That still doesn’t tell you which setting you’ve set it to though.
Using the Ergonomic Vertical Mouse
When I place my hand on the mouse, it feels silky smooth. It definitely deserves to be called an ergonomic mouse because it fits my hand…well, not like a glove…It’s more like my hand is the glove that fits around the mouse.
My index finger and “tall man” control the left and right clickers. They emit a gentle, physical clicking sound when I press them. Not that it’s supposed to, but pressing both of them at the same time accomplishes nothing.
In between those fingers is the scroll wheel which works smoothly as expected. Clicking the wheel brings up a circular icon on the screen that means I can move the mouse up and down (forward and back on the table) to scroll up and down on the page.
UPDATE 4/12/20: After the last couple of recharges, my scroll wheel doesn’t work quite right anymore. It’s very erratic. I’ve gone back to using my touchpad for most scrolling.
Autley warns me (twice) that the forward and backward buttons do not work with the Mac OS. Clicking either of them brings up the same circular icon as I got when I clicked the scroll wheel. I think that clicking (and perhaps holding) these buttons is supposed to move the page up and down, similar to clicking a scroll bar at the right side of a page. If that’s all it’s supposed to do, I’m not going to miss that function with this mouse.
There’s one more button on the right side of the mouse between my fingers. Clicking it cycles through the DPI (dots per inch) that controls the mouse speed, or sensitivity. The speed options are 800, 1200, and 1600 DPI. It seems to work, but the only way to tell which setting is active is to physically move the mouse. It would be nice if there was another visual to go by, either on the mouse itself or on my screen, that would tell me which setting I had just switched to.
UPDATE 1/28/20: Apparently there is a way to tell which DPI setting you’re using. See the first comment (and response) below.
So far, I’ve only used the mouse on a dark brown, wooden table top. It seems to work just fine on such a surface. I don’t need a mousepad as in the “olden days”. I’m guessing that you could use this on just about any surface you want, since it’s optics underneath doing all the work.
Autley Warranty for the Ergonomic Mouse
Autley gives a generous 1-year warranty that states the following.
“If the product is defective, we promise to send you a replacement for free or issue a full refund. If your order is beyond Amazon 30-day Return Window, please contact us, you will still get free replacement or refund.”
An email address, website URL, and Facebook contact information are all provided in case you need to get in touch with Autley for warranty or other reasons.
One reason you might want to contact them is to extend your 1-year warranty to a full 2 years! Under the heading “Extend To 2-Year Warranty”, Autley says to send them the order number within 60 days of the product being delivered.
That’s it. Apparently just telling them you bought the mouse can give you an extra year of warranty coverage. Nice!
Autley Mouse Specifications
Here are the significant specifications for this mouse. (There are several others listed in the user manual that almost no one will care about.)
- Model – VM04
- Weight – 117 grams
- Working range – 10 meters
- Wireless tech – 2.4GHz
- Button life – 5 millions times click
I’m quoting the manual exactly on the button life. What happens on click 5,000,001 … I don’t want to know.
With the exception of the forward and backward buttons mentioned earlier, this mouse should work fine on a Mac and with all recent versions of Windows – 8, 7, 10, Vista, XP, and 2000. (I know that’s not chronological order, but that’s the order in which the manual lists them.)
Verdict on the Autley VM04 Mouse
So far, I’m really liking the Autley mouse. If you use a mouse regularly and have muscle or tendon problems in your mouse hand, you should seriously consider switching to this mouse instead.
It’s relatively inexpensive and certainly worth the price if it means better health for you hand or wrist or forearm.