My first stop was the trackball mouse everyone seems to go to when they ditch a regular mouse: the Logitech M570. It is a thumb style trackball with 3 buttons, a scroll wheel and a pair of back/forward buttons. The buttons and scroll wheel performed just like the other Logitech mice I had used. That meant the ball was the only thing I would need to get used to.
Unfortunately, this mouse has a relatively small ball that doesn’t have much weight to it. Because of this, I had difficulty moving the pointer any distance by spinning the ball. I also had quite a bit of difficulty with accuracy. The pointer seemed to jump around a bit. To be fair, I think I must have a thumb impediment. I never could get it to do what I wanted it to do. I can’t exactly blame that on the mouse. Even though I used it for over a month, I never really felt comfortable with it.
- Extra navigation buttons
- Standard scroll wheel
- Mouse buttons are operated with the usual fingers
- Small, lightweight ball tended to lift out of its place a bit
- For me, movement was awkward with my thumb
Kensington Orbit with Scroll Wheel
The other mouse I tested was the Kensington Orbit with Scroll Ring which I was able to find on sale. The name is quite a mouthful. There is a previous version without a scroll ring simply called the Orbit. I’m not sure why they didn’t just rename it when they added a scroll ring. Anyway, it’s a center ball with two buttons and a scroll ring, which I thought was very intriguing. The ball is a bit bigger than the Logitech M570 and the buttons are noticeably firm.
I quickly adapted to using the trackball with my index and middle fingers, and the scroll ring seemed completely natural after the first few days. It took a short while to get accustomed to left-clicking with my thumb, which does present a bit of finger confusion if I need to use a regular mouse for some reason.
It was easy to spin the ball to bring the pointer from one end of a dual monitor setup to the other. I was able to accurately place the pointer where I wanted, and I found that I preferred the firmness of the buttons. This became my new favorite mouse after only a few days.
- Larger, heavier ball with smooth movement
- Center ball that you move with your fingers (or whole hand) instead of your thumb
- Smooth scroll ring
- Using your thumb for left click can result in a little finger confusion when switching to use regular mice for gaming or at another machine
- Only the two buttons. It could use a third button or some navigation buttons