Pros & Cons of a Trackball PC Mouse | Logitech M570 Wireless Ergonomic Mouse Review
Thumb-Controlled Computer Mouse For Greater Comfort & Control
I recently discovered the 'trackball' variety of PC mouse, and as I hadn't even heard of them before - and they do look a bit alien it has to be said! - I thought I would recommend the one I have and tell you about what makes them (in my opinion) superior to regular computer mice.
I use the computer ALL DAY so sometimes my wrists used to ache from the repetitive movement and became uncomfortable. So I started to look for an alternative to the regular mouse I used and I took a chance with the Logitech M570 trackball wireless mouse due to the 5-star ratings and the fact it is a popular product. After a bit of getting used to, I'm completely sold on this style of mouse...
...Read on to find out why :)
So What Is A Trackball Mouse?
If a mouse has a trackball it means that there is a rotating ball contained within a socket in the mouse. This 'trackball' has many dots all over it which allow the sensors in the socket to track the movement of the ball. Because tiny movements are picked up by the sensors, great accuracy can be achieved with a trackball mouse.
The trackball can roll in any direction and is usually controlled by the thumb (although some are controlled by fingers or the palm of the hand instead). Most mice also have a separate scroll wheel in the same location as on a regular mouse, although sometimes this is in the form of a 'scroll ring' which is spun around the trackball.
Kensington and Logitech are currently the main companies producing trackball mice.
Trackball mice are available as cordless/wireless or not, depending on your preference, however I think wireless gives you more freedom as it allows you to position the mouse anywhere without being restricted by a cord.
Another product which uses a trackball is the trackball keyboard, where it's basically a regular keyboard with a trackball built into it so that a separate mouse is not necessary at all. This is designed for handheld use in a living room setup - with home theatre and multimedia PC users in mind - so it acts like a big remote control with all of the buttons you might need contained within one product.
My Personal Recommendation
There are many mice, including trackball mice, which are specialized towards a certain market such as video editors, graphic designers or gamers, however this mouse is perfect for everyday and general use and so makes a perfect introduction to the world of trackballs.As you will see on Amazon, there are about 7,000 reviews on this very popular PC accessory and the vast majority of those are 5 stars, with the overall rating coming out at 4.5 stars. Not too shabby!
If you are new to trackballs, this mouse is an excellent option because the bulk of the mouse is already arranged like a regular mouse, with your index and middle fingers still being used to click the left and right mouse buttons. A lot of trackball mice are designed completely differently to a regular mouse and you would need to get used to a more dramatic change with those. With this Logitech M570 you don't have to adapt to a vastly different way of positioning your hand.Features of this specific trackball model include: a sculpted, ergonomic design to support your hand in comfortable position, a long battery life with the single AA battery (included) lasting up to 18 months, a laser sensor for accurate control of the cursor, and a tiny receiver that plugs into your laptop/PC's USB socket and connects up to 6 compatible wireless devices - such as a wireless keyboard.
Another handy addition that regular mice don't have is the back/forward button control which allows you to flick quickly through book, web and document pages. There is also a battery indicator light so that it doesn't suddenly run out of power without warning.Like other trackball mice, you can position it on almost any surface depending on your preference (see below for more details) and you can use the mouse wirelessly up to 30 feet away from your computer, which is most useful for watching movies or playing music especially.
The mouse works with Windows (XP, Vista, 7) and MAC OS X (10.5 and later), and you will require a USB port (for the wireless receiver) and an internet connection to download the included software.*3-year limited hardware warranty included.*
What Can A Trackball Mouse Do For You?
Advantages & Disadvantages When Compared to a Regular Mouse
I know that it will take a leap of faith to purchase a trackball mouse when you have been using a regular mouse from the start (as I had), especially if you have never heard of a trackball before. So I'll list the reasons you may have for buying a trackball, and then let you make up your own mind :)
- A space saver; the trackball mouse stays in one position on the desk, so it is great for when you have little space available next to your computer.
- If you have a laptop which you don't have a designated desk for, so you often rest it on your lap or an awkward place with no space for a mouse (or perhaps you don't like the touchpad on your laptop) then a trackball mouse is a great solution. A stationary trackball mouse can be operated on most surfaces so they don't even need a flat smooth surface to work on - you can use it on the sofa, bed or your leg if you like!
- If you purchase a wireless trackball mouse and want to watch a movie on your computer you can do this from further away, so for instance you can operate the mouse on the sofa (no table necessary) to play/stop/pause or alter the volume whilst the PC is across the room.
- The trackball doesn't require arm and wrist movement like a regular mouse does, so is great for people who have arm/wrist pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, repetitive strain injury, or whose wrist/arm aches simply due to long hours using the computer during the day.
- The trackball allows more precision of movement and so is especially well suited to people who use graphic design packages like Photoshop or Illustrator where they do intricate work.
- A trackball mouse can be rested on almost any surface, so you can position your arm in the most comfortable position for you without being hindered by a cable (if you get a wireless version) or needing a flat surface to move the mouse on.
- You don't need to pull on the cable (if it's not wireless) because you don't have to move the mouse around.
- Trackball mice are ergonomically designed to be most comfortable for your hand.
- The trackball is easy to manipulate (once you get used to it - it took me a week or two!), and the left and right mouse buttons can be clicked without affecting the position of the pointer. This is because once you have used the trackball to move the pointer into position, you can let go of it before clicking the buttons.
- More efficiency and greater productivity when working on design and creative projects due to more accuracy and control.
- They are also useful for people who travel with their laptop and need to be able to use the mouse anywhere such as: when camping and a flat smooth surface is hard to come by, on a rocking boat, outside, or in cramped conditions.
The downsides to a trackball are that it may take some time to get used to using them if you are used to a regular mouse, and left-handers may be out of luck with some thumb-operated mice that may not be available as a left-handed version due to low demand. I think it's definitely worth persevering with it though, and there are symmetrical mice available which can be used by both right and left-handers.
Top-Rated Alternative Options For Trackball Mice
The following 2 products show some of the different choices you can make with the style of this type of mouse; for instance you can buy a handheld mouse, you can have a scroll ring rather than the usual scroll wheel, and there are also various positions of tracker ball available to choose from.
Once You Get Used To A Trackball, You Will Never Go Back To A Regular Mouse!