My christmas present this year was a Logitech® Extreme™ 3D Pro joystick mapped with glovepie to mostly replace my Logitech® LX8 Cordless Laser Mouse. It goes on the list of best presents ever received and also on the list for present with the most potential.
I have become a little cynical of proposed improvements. It seems like computer improves are a little like the latest World of Warcraft patch – it creates more problems than it solves or simply creates different problems leaving me, the user, no better off that I was and a little out of pocket. However, this was a required intervention more than a desired intervention and as a result, I received my Christmas present early and will probably still be working on it come February. We’ll get to the ‘why’ on that in a minute, but first I’ll explain why I need a joystick.
One of the less pleasant effects of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is unstable joints. In practical terms, it means that the smallest pressure can make most of my joints pop out of place (dislocations and subluxations are the medical terms for that). Small pressures include typing on a keyboard or gripping a mouse a little too tightly. Joints are inherently more and less stable at certain angles. Take an unstable joint, position it in an angle that is inherently unstable and as soon as the muscles tire, it pops out. Another fun symptom of EDS is muscular hypotonia; in practical terms, muscle tire very quickly. A few minutes of unsuitable positioning and out pops a shoulder, elbow, wrist, thumb or finger joint. A further effect of all this ‘popping in and out’ is that surrounding tissue gets irritated and damage in the process of joints slipping or in an effort to try and keep the bones in place, resulting in repeated strains, sprains and various inflammatory conditions. Last but not least, moving bones have the tendency to trap nerves. Ever heard of repetitive strain injuries? Carpal tunnel syndrome? Cubital tunnel syndrome? Nerve entrapment syndrome? That’s me. A walking talking dictionary of accidents and injuries.
If I were to rest my hands with every injury, I would always be resting my hands. However, I also can’t just keep going from injury to injury without paying a price. I may be able to walk on a sprained ankle given enough motivation, but I can’t walk with a sprained ankle and dislocated kneecap. There is a tipping point and staying within the realms of ‘can’ means limiting injuries below a certain level. I have tried various designs of mice and even the most ergonomic has not enabled heavy mouse usage. They’re either less ergonomic that they claim to be or too chunky for me to manoeuvre well. Of all the things I’ve given up, my mouse in world of warcraft will not be one of them. Enter Logitech® Extreme™ 3D Pro joystick left stage.
This is my first joystick and I am not in a position to compare it to others. I selected this one based on a combination of it being reasonably priced and copious positive reviews on Amazon. I’ve had it for a while now and have no complaints. It’s performing better than I thought a joystick could. I don’t use it for the purpose it was designed to be use for, but it almost feels as if it was made to suit me, with a couple of exceptions.
- Six thumbs are too many. It would have been nice to have two or three of the keys underneath my other fingers. At the moment, I have the buttons mapped to the mouse keys and it’s not going so well when I have to hold down a button and move the joystick. Only two of the six buttons lends itself to that, well possibly three, and although it’s a good fix, it’s not a great one. It has all these lovely buttons and I can’t use so many of them.
- No scroll button on the joystick itself. I’m planning to map the mouse scroll to the rudder button at the bottom, but I wouldn’t be able to scroll whilst my hand was on the joystick. I realize it’s a two-handed joystick, but it would have been nice to have a scroll button at the top. I’m still trying to map the circular button to scroll, but no joy yet.
- Height issues. The joystick is a little too high, resulting in some pressure being placed on my elbow. Not good. I have placed a pillow underneath my elbow so that it’s not dangling in the air and dislocating my shoulder, but now I’m having cubital nerve entrapment issues. I think if I played around with my pillow set-up I may be able to shift the pressure from my elbow to my forearm, but that remains to be seen.
- Excellent responsiveness: It has the potential to move in pvp as fast my mouse when my skill improves. Excellent, couldn’t ask for greater reactivity. It also means that very little movement on my part results in plenty of movement on the screen, saving my joints quite a bit.
- Ergonomic: It fits my right hand as if it was custom made.The hand-rest is just the right size, the thumb rest just the right shape and everything is at just the right angle.
- Buttons galore: Plenty of buttons to be used. I have a mouse left click button, mouse right click button, mouse left and right click button assigned and more to come. I have escape and enter assigned to prime locations too. I haven’t use the buttons at the bottom much as they would have to be pressed with my left hand and that’s on my Nostromo N52te.
- Sturdy: No issues with moving the whole joystick when playing. Although it’s sat on an uneven soft surface, i.e. leather couch, it stays in place.
- Pretty: I love the way it looks. I have a black and chrome thing going with my computer setup and it blends in very well.
All in all, a four and three quarters star raiting from me for the Logitech® Extreme™ 3D Pro joystick.