Windows 10: Are Trackball Mice Good?

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  1.    10 Jul 2015 #1

    Are Trackball Mice Good?

    Over the years I've been through lots and lots of different mice, many of which were either Logitech or Microsoft, but I've never really found a mouse that I was totally happy with ergonomically and so pretty much just made do with them. I guess shape wise the Mionix NAOS was probably the best shape I came across, but the lazer sensor they used in it was too unusable with small precise movements, so I had to send it back before I could use it for any prolonged period of time.

    Fast forward to yesterday and I saw an article about Logitech changing their name and thought I'd have a look around to see if any mice manufacturers had done the unthinkable and finally revolutionised the computer mouse (Hint: No, hey haven't), but a trackball mouse caught my eye.

    I've obviously been aware of trackball mice for some time, but just never really paid much attention to them. What stood out yesterday though was the amount of Amazon reviews it had. 964 reviews on, and 6077 reviews on, of which a large proportion of those reviews were 5 star positive reviews, which is quite remarkable for what I had previously thought of as just some specialist niche product.

    So, it's crossed my mind whether to actually give one a go, but despite the reviews I'm still a bit sceptical as to whether I'd actually get on with using one. After using a mouse for so long the concept seems like it'll be a quite alien to me, especially for things like Photoshop, etc. where small movements combined with various keyboard/mouse combinations is common. Therefore, I'm curious whether anyone has been in the same position and switched to using a trackball mouse? Did it take much getting used to and did you stick with the trackball?

    This is the one I've been looking at, which has a thumb ball, however the Kensington trackballs seem to get high ratings as well, but I've no idea whether finger balls or thumb balls are better, although thumb one looks less alien to me.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2.    10 Jul 2015 #2

    I have not tried the one you show above, but in general my experience with them has not been very good. I find them more difficult to control with precision (like using a touch pad) and I think the ball will tend to gum up. Every "ball" style mouse I ever had eventually became sticky-jerky due to dirt on the ball/rollers. I like the optical style.

    I suppose it depends on what you do with your computer - as to what kind of controller is best for you.

    Plus I think there are only so many different ways to build a mouse that fits the human hand properly (the hand isn't changing), but that is not going to stop people from making new contraptions to sell you.

    Have you seen these "arc-touch" mouses?
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  3.    10 Jul 2015 #3

    I didn't realise they still used rollers lol, that brings back memories. Although, looking at the pics of the bottom of it, it appears there's a hole underneath so you can just push the ball out for cleaning. Lack of precision control sounds like quite a deal breaker though.

    Yeah, I've seem those "arc-touch" mice, but they seems to suffer from the same problem as the vast majority of other mice and that's there isn't anywhere to put your ring and pinkie fingers. Therefore, you have to keep lifting them to stop them dragging on the mouse mat and that's one of the things I get hand fatigue from. On a side note, they also don't appear to have forward and back buttons either, which I use all the time for 'Close Window' and 'Back'.
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  4.    10 Jul 2015 #4

    Trackball uses optical also but since your thumb is touching the ball the oils get on the trackball. I've always pulled the ball at the start of the day and cleaned it.

    Trackball mice are very precise but take time and use to get used to, most people never do get used to them.

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  5.    10 Jul 2015 #5

    I have two of those and much prefer them over a mouse. There are little 3 little Teflon pads that the ball spins on. They do require cleaning every once in a while. Dust collects around them so you can go quit a long time before having to clean them. The ball comes out by pushing it up with something soft tipped through the hole on the bottom. I game with mine all the time and use one daily for everything else I do on my PC. I also keep one in my laptop bag. You can do precise movements with it. You can adjust the acceleration etc the same as you do with a mouse. With the M570, the ball is moved with your right thumb. If your left handed its likely not for you. You can get trackballs with the ball in the center. I had one like that years ago but much prefer this one with the ball on the side. It leaves my fingers right on the click buttons all the time, which is great if you play First Person Shooters like I do. Forgot to add, yes it is optical. Its basically an optical mouse flipped upside down. The beam shines on the ball instead of your desk. There are no rollers like in the early track balls.
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  6.    10 Jul 2015 #6

    My experience with them has not been very good.. Just don't feel right for some reason.
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  7.    10 Jul 2015 #7

    I think that's one of those love hate kind of deals. you either love them or you hate them. You don't really know till you try one though. I love mine and can't ever see going back to using a mouse. The last keyboard I bought came with a really good quality mouse. I gave the mouse to my father because I would never use it.
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  8.    10 Jul 2015 #8

    One of the nice things about Logitech and the trackball the OP posted, is it uses a unifying receiver. I linked my Logitech keyboard to the receiver that came with my track ball. That way I only need the one receiver. The receiver that came with it went with the mouse that came with the keyboard. I just unlinked the keyboard from its receiver before I gave it to my father. When he got it he linked his keyboard to it. Now he has a spare receiver.
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  9.    11 Jul 2015 #9

    alphanumeric said: View Post
    I think that's one of those love hate kind of deals. you either love them or you hate them. You don't really know till you try one though. I love mine and can't ever see going back to using a mouse. The last keyboard I bought came with a really good quality mouse. I gave the mouse to my father because I would never use it.
    Going by the web as a whole, love/hate is the impression I get too and the verdict seems to be split, although going by the Amazon ratings it seems those who use them for a while seem to like them a lot.

    Review wise, when reading through them the biggest reasons for poor ratings for the M570 for example seem to be due to build quality rather than operation (I.E. The ball feel and plastic used for the body are cheaper and not as good quality as they used to be with the wired one it superseded, and the left mouse button wearing out prematurely causing double-click or unable to keep the button depressed). I can relate to the mouse button problems as I once used a Dell mouse made by logitech that had the same problem. Other than that, just some complaints about awkward forward and back button placement.
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  10.    11 Jul 2015 #10

    I still have the old wired USB version connected to my Media Center PC. It's pretty well identical to the M570, just minus the forward back buttons. I'm happy with where the buttons are. I don't remember ever wishing they were somewhere else. I have replaced one button switch on one of my 570's. The left click button. I put it down to playing FPS games and it being the fire button. I've played a lot of games since and it hasn't happened again. Maybe they beefed them up in latter production models, or they got a batch of bum switches from their supplier. My second 570 didn't suffer the same issue. I don't think it would wear out with normal non gaming use.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

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