The Cherry MW 4500 Left is identical in many ways to the company’s standard wireless ergonomic mouse, except of course that it is designed exclusively for left-handed users. Using a mouse has become a natural skill for anyone that uses a computer, even though they only really became commonplace after the introduction of the first Apple Macintosh in 1984. One of the beauties of the standard mouse is that it can easily be used in either hand, though to rotate your wrist into this flat position is unnatural and has long-term effects, such as RSI (repetitive strain injury). As mouse design progressed, the ergonomic or vertical mouse appeared, offering a more natural hand position that didn’t require a twist of the wrist. The problem was that this usually only suited right-handed users.
Growing up left-handed, I remember being given the special left-handed scissors in school, finding a way to write in pen that didn’t mean smudging the words, and adjusting to a backhand shot with any kind of racket when playing a right-hander. But when it came to using a computer, the mouse caused little adjustment – aside from remembering the left and right-click.
Becoming more ambidextrous over the years I would swap to right-handed scissors and play golf, cricket and the guitar all right-handed. I also used the mouse with my right hand but was aware it lacked the same control as my left when it came to photo editing or gameplay. Touchpads, tablets and touchscreens all provide easier editing but there are times when a mouse is still the better option.
Cherry MW 4500 Left review: design
The Cherry MW 4500 Left is a solution for all left-handed mouse users, and while not the first to do so, it offers a well-thought-out design. As mentioned earlier, this follows the same look and feel as the right-handed Cherry MW 4500. The shape lets your hand sit naturally at a roughly 45-degree angle – much as it would if you rested it on your knee or on a table. Your first two fingers fall either side of the control wheel and over the two main buttons. There are two additional buttons that sit by your thumb which control the forward and back buttons on a web browser by default, but these can all be customized using the Cherry Keys software, including the small button behind the control wheel. For me, it felt a little unnatural having your first finger on the right click and the second finger on the left click, so I opted to swap them around the OS mouse preferences.
Color-wise, the Cherry MW 4500 Left is erring more towards a safe office market, with its black and grey plastic. However, the three levels of sensitivity, from 600dpi to 1200dpi mean it is ideal for more creative and gaming uses. Perhaps a brighter color version could add to its appeal.
The Cherry MW 4500 Left comes with a nano USB receiver that is stored inside the battery case when not in use and only sticks out about a third of an inch (1cm) from the computer port. The mouse is powered by two AAA batteries rather than a rechargeable Li-ion battery. While this can feel slightly wasteful, replacing AAAs is preferable to having to wait to charge a dead mouse – as these things tend to die at the most inopportune times.
Cherry MW 4500 Left review: performance
The nano receiver gives the Cherry MW 4500 Left a range of up to 10 meters, and I was able to use the mouse from the other side of my living room with no issues at all. This is handy for presentation use with a projector or setups where your desktop tower is placed some distance away.
When you first remove it from the box, the Cherry MW 4500 Left does feel a little lightweight – especially compared to an Apple mouse – but once the batteries are installed it actually has a nice weight to it, that is both heavy enough to stay grounded and light enough to move with ease.
I was surprised how quickly I got used to using my left hand with a mouse again, after many years of not doing so. I soon found that I was able to perform most tasks just as quickly as I had done with my right. The hardest part was actually using my right hand for short-cut keys on the keyboard. The only movement that is a little tough with this design is picking the mouse up to move positions. The natural grip gives you plenty of lateral movement, but you need to shift your hold to lift it.
While I can see the benefit of the two thumb buttons, in practice they get little use. This is until you install the Cherry Keys software. Cherry Keys software can be used with most keyboards and mice but is design specifically for its own products. Once installed, the buttons can be programmed to run programs, open certain files or folders, open websites, play macros or perform system functions like log out or lock. It can also be used to insert recorded text or for multimedia control. Unfortunately for Mac users, this is for Windows 10 only.
For precise movement, the option to move from the default setting of 800dpi down to 600dpi for more precise work or up to 1200dpi for faster movement is really helpful. For gaming purposes, it doesn’t drop the 400dpi preferred by many first-person shooter gamers or up to the 16,000dpi of the best gaming mice, but it will be enough for most users.
Cherry MW 4500 Left review: verdict
For a device that is priced at just $23 / £23 AU$30, the Cherry MW 4500 Left is a great value piece of kit. Changing over to an ergonomic mouse can take time to adjust – especially if you’re swapping hands too – but once you get used to the movements, it is actually a lot more comfortable for prolonged use.
The overall build is solid but doesn’t feel premium, but it’s difficult to complain at this price. I’d like to see a higher-end version of this, with a wider sensitivity range and perhaps in a more exciting color. Us left-handers are used to paying more for a specialist piece of kit, after all.
If like me though, you spend a lot of time on the computer and need a comfortable solution for a good price, the Cherry MW 4500 Left is an easy choice.
Cherry MW 4500 Left review: also consider
While left-handed mice are less common, there are still a few options out there to consider next to the Cherry MW 4500 Left. The Adesso iMouse E9 comes in both left and right-handed versions and comes in around $32 / £23. It offers four sensitivity settings from 800dpi up to 2400dpi but has a wired rather than wireless connection.
The Kinesis PD7DXT DXT Wireless mouse suits both left and right-handed users thanks to its pen-like design. At $99 / £72 it's a little more expensive than the other offerings but it comes with four sensitivity settings from 800dpi to 2000dpi and wireless operation, with a rapid charge that gives two hours usage on 30 seconds of juice.