Last Updated on February 2, 2023
In today’s fast-paced digital world, a mouse is an indispensable tool for a computer user. While there are several different types of mice available in the market, trackball mice have gained popularity among users due to their unique design and ease of use. This article is a comprehensive guide to trackball mice that covers everything you need to know about trackball mice, including their history, how they work, the different types of trackball mice available in the market, and their advantages and disadvantages.
What is Trackball Mouse?
A trackball mouse is a type of computer mouse that uses a ball on the top of the device that can be rotated in any direction to move the cursor on the screen. Unlike traditional mice that require the user to physically move the device across a surface, trackball mice allow the user to control the cursor without moving the entire mouse, making it a popular choice for those who want a more ergonomic option or have limited desk space.
A Brief History of Trackball Mice
Trackball mice technology was first introduced in the 1950s by the Canadian company, Xerox Corporation. At the time, it was primarily used for scientific and engineering purposes. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s when trackball mice technology was commercialized for personal computer use. The first commercial trackball mouse was called the X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System and was developed by Canadian computer engineer, Douglas Engelbart.
In the 1970s, trackball mice technology gained popularity with the introduction of the first ball-based trackball mouse, the Kensington System Saver. This was followed by the popularization of the Logitech TrackMan, which became the industry standard for trackball mice technology.
In the 1990s, the trackball mouse technology saw further advancements with the introduction of optical tracking, which allowed for more precise cursor control. This led to the development of trackball mice that featured more buttons and customization options.
Today, trackball mice are used by a variety of individuals, including graphic designers, gamers, and those with disabilities who find it difficult to use traditional computer mice. With the advent of wireless technology, trackball mice have become even more popular and continue to be a favorite among computer users for their ergonomic design and improved cursor control.
How Trackball Mice Work
Trackball mice are a type of pointing device that use a ball instead of a sensor to control the movement of the cursor on the screen. The ball is located in the center of the mouse and is designed to rotate easily in any direction.
The ball is connected to two or three optical or mechanical sensors inside the mouse that detect the movement of the ball. The sensors translate the movement into signals that are sent to the computer, which then uses them to control the movement of the cursor on the screen.
The user controls the movement of the cursor by rotating the ball with their thumb, fingers, or the palm of their hand. This is done by applying pressure to the ball in the desired direction. The rotation of the ball is translated into movement of the cursor on the screen, allowing the user to easily control the position of the cursor.
Trackball mice are often used by people who suffer from conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome or repetitive strain injury as they require less wrist movement and allow for more ergonomic positioning of the hand.
Overall, trackball mice are a convenient and alternative way to control the movement of the cursor on the screen and are used by a wide range of users, from casual users to professionals who need a highly accurate and precise pointing device.
Why trackball mice are becoming increasingly popular?
Here’s the reason why trackball mice are becoming increasingly popular:
- Increased Accuracy: One of the primary benefits of a trackball mouse is the increased level of accuracy. Trackball mice are much more precise than traditional optical mice, making them ideal for tasks that require a high level of control and precision.
- Reduced Physical Strain: Another advantage of trackball mice is that they reduce physical strain on the hands and wrist. With a traditional mouse, you are constantly moving your hand, which can lead to wrist pain and other physical discomfort. With a trackball mouse, you simply move your finger, reducing physical strain.
- More Space-Efficient: Trackball mice are much more space-efficient than traditional optical mice. This is because they don’t need room to move around like traditional mice do. This makes them ideal for people who have limited desk space.
- Great for Gamers: Trackball mice are also popular among gamers because they offer precise control and accuracy, which is essential for gaming.
- Increased Durability: Trackball mice are also known for their durability. Since there are fewer moving parts, they are less likely to break or wear out over time.
Overall, trackball mice are becoming increasingly popular due to their precise control, reduced physical strain, and space-efficiency. They are especially popular among gamers and people who need a high level of accuracy in their work.
Advantages of using a trackball mouse
- Increased accuracy and control: Trackball mice allow the user to control the cursor precisely and accurately, reducing the risk of repetitive strain injury.
- Greater precision: The ball inside the trackball mouse provides greater precision when compared to traditional optical mice, giving you greater control over your movements.
- Increased speed: With a trackball mouse, you can move the cursor across the screen more quickly and with greater accuracy, which can help you complete tasks faster.
- Improved navigation: The ball inside the trackball mouse makes it easier to navigate complex websites and applications, as you can control the cursor with greater ease.
- Space-saving: Trackball mice do not require much space for movement, as the ball is located on the mouse itself. This makes them ideal for use in small or cramped workspaces.
- Reduced hand and wrist movement: Trackball mice reduce the need for hand and wrist movement, reducing the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain injuries.
- Comfort: Trackball mice are often designed with ergonomics in mind, providing a more comfortable experience for users who spend long hours working on the computer.
- Customization: Many trackball mice offer customizable buttons and functions, allowing users to program them to suit their specific needs.
Types of trackball mice
- Traditional Trackball Mouse: This is the classic trackball mouse design with a large ball located on top of the device for scrolling and movement.
- Ergonomic Trackball Mouse: These trackball mice are designed for users who suffer from repetitive strain injuries or wrist pain. They are typically contoured to fit the hand comfortably and offer customizable buttons for enhanced control.
- Wireless Trackball Mouse: These trackball mice have no cords and connect to the computer using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
- Vertical Trackball Mouse: This type of trackball mouse is designed to be used vertically with the hand and wrist in a natural, relaxed position.
- Left-handed Trackball Mouse: This type of trackball mouse is designed specifically for left-handed users, with the trackball placed on the left side of the device.
- Gaming Trackball Mouse: These trackball mice are designed for gamers, with quick response time, programmable buttons, and customizable lighting.
- Optical Trackball Mouse: This type of trackball mouse uses an optical sensor for precise movement and accuracy, and is ideal for graphics designers, CAD professionals, and others who need precision in their work.
Finger Trackball vs Thumb Trackball: Which Better?
A Finger Trackball is a device that is designed to be controlled with your fingers rather than your thumb. This type of trackball is typically used by individuals who have disabilities or who need to use their hands for other tasks while controlling the cursor.
A Thumb Trackball, on the other hand, is designed to be used with your thumb and provides more precise control. This type of trackball is commonly used by gamers or individuals who need to make quick movements while using the computer.
In terms of comfort, some individuals may prefer a Finger Trackball as it allows them to use their fingers instead of their thumb, which can become fatigued with extended use. However, others may prefer a Thumb Trackball as it provides more precise control and is less likely to cause discomfort in the fingers.
Ultimately, the choice between a Finger Trackball and a Thumb Trackball depends on personal preference and the specific needs of the user.
Wired vs Wireless Trackball Mice
Wired trackball mice are connected to a computer via a USB cable, while wireless trackball mice use a wireless connection, such as Bluetooth or RF, to connect to a computer.
Wired trackball mice are typically more reliable and have a lower latency, making them a good choice for gaming and other applications that require quick and precise cursor movement. However, they can be less convenient and more cluttered, as they require a cable to be connected to the computer.
Wireless trackball mice are more convenient, as they do not require a cable to be connected to the computer. They are also less cluttered and can be used from a greater distance from the computer. However, they may have a higher latency and can be less reliable than wired trackball mice, as the wireless connection can be disrupted by other devices or by interference.
Trackball Mouse vs Ergonomic Mouse
A trackball mouse and an ergonomic mouse are two different types of computer mice designed for different purposes.
A trackball mouse is designed for precision cursor control and can be used by those with hand or wrist pain, as the user doesn’t have to move their wrist or hand around the desk to control the cursor. The ball on the top of the mouse is rotated with the thumb or fingers to control the cursor.
An ergonomic mouse is designed for comfort and to reduce hand and wrist pain during long hours of use. It often has a unique shape that is meant to fit the natural shape of the hand and reduce stress on the wrist and fingers. Some ergonomic mice also have adjustable buttons and scrolling options to reduce repetitive stress injuries.
In conclusion, both trackball and ergonomic mice are designed to improve comfort and reduce the risk of repetitive stress injuries, but they approach the problem from different angles. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and the type of work the user is doing to determine which mouse is best for them.
How to choose the best trackball mouse for your needs
To choose the best trackball mouse for your needs, consider the following factors:
- Ergonomics: Look for a trackball mouse that fits comfortably in your hand and supports your hand position for long periods of use.
- Button layout: Consider the placement and number of buttons and how they can be programmed to meet your specific needs.
- Ball size: Choose a trackball mouse with a ball that is the right size for your hand, as well as one that has smooth and precise tracking.
- Ball Type: Trackball mice can have either mechanical or optical balls. Mechanical balls are more durable but may be less precise, while optical balls are more accurate but may be more prone to wear and tear.
- Wired or wireless: Decide whether you prefer a wired or wireless trackball mouse and make sure it has the right connectivity options for your setup.
- Compatibility: Make sure the trackball mouse is compatible with your operating system and has the right software to customize its settings.
- Cost: Determine your budget and look for a trackball mouse that provides good value for the price, without sacrificing quality or features.
By considering these factors, you can find the trackball mouse that is best for your needs.
Top trackball mouse options on the market
- ELECOM HUGE Trackball Mouse: The ELECOM HUGE Trackball Mouse is a high-quality computer mouse designed for maximum comfort and ease of use.
- Logitech MX Ergo: This trackball mouse is designed for maximum comfort and precision, with an adjustable angle and ergonomic shape.
- Kensington Orbit: The Orbit trackball mouse features a scroll ring for easy navigation and a diamond eye optical sensor for accurate tracking.
- ELECOM DEFT Trackball Mouse: This trackball mouse has a large 55mm ball for ease of use and a wired or wireless option.
- Kensington SlimBlade: The SlimBlade trackball mouse is designed for portability and precision, with a compact design and two buttons.
- Perixx11568 Perimice: It is designed for comfort and ergonomics, and is ideal for users who suffer from repetitive strain injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, or other wrist and hand problems.
The ELECOM HUGE Trackball Mouse is a unique computer mouse that features a large trackball instead of a traditional optical or laser sensor. This mouse is designed for users who prefer a more ergonomic and less physically demanding mouse operation.
Design: The mouse has a large, circular trackball at the top, with two buttons on either side. The mouse is designed to be used with your thumb, and the buttons are placed in a way that they can be easily reached by your thumb. The mouse is also ambidextrous, making it suitable for both left- and right-handed users.
Performance: The trackball is very smooth and easy to use, and the buttons are responsive. The mouse is also very accurate and has good precision, making it ideal for tasks such as image editing and gaming. The mouse is very responsive, and the trackball is sensitive enough that you don’t have to move it very far to get it to move on the screen.
Comfort: The large size of the trackball makes it very comfortable to use, and the ergonomic design of the mouse reduces the risk of hand and wrist pain that can be associated with using a traditional mouse for extended periods. The mouse is also very light, so it’s easy to move around and won’t tire your hand out quickly.
Software: The mouse is plug-and-play and doesn’t require any software to be installed, but there is a software available that allows you to customize the buttons and trackball sensitivity. The software is easy to use and allows you to adjust the speed and sensitivity of the trackball, as well as assign different functions to the buttons.
In conclusion, the ELECOM HUGE Trackball Mouse is a unique and innovative computer mouse that offers a more ergonomic and comfortable way to navigate your computer. The large trackball is smooth and easy to use, and the mouse is highly customizable. It’s a great choice for users who are looking for a less physically demanding way to operate their computer.
The Logitech MX Ergo is a wireless trackball mouse that offers a unique ergonomic design for improved comfort and precision during long hours of use. It has an adjustable hinge that allows you to tilt the angle of the trackball to match your natural hand position and posture, reducing hand and wrist strain.
One of the standout features of the MX Ergo is its precision mode, which allows you to slow down the cursor movement for fine control when you need it. This is particularly useful for tasks such as photo editing or graphic design where you need to make precise movements.
The trackball is made of a high-quality material that is both smooth and precise, making it easy to control the cursor with just your thumb. The mouse also includes two customizable thumb buttons for added convenience, which can be programmed to perform specific actions.
The MX Ergo is also equipped with Logitech’s advanced tracking technology, which allows it to work on a variety of surfaces, including glass, without losing precision. This makes it a versatile option for use in different environments.
In terms of battery life, the MX Ergo can last up to four months on a single charge, making it a great option for those who don’t want to worry about constantly changing the batteries. It also includes a battery-saving mode that conserves power when the mouse is not in use.
Overall, the Logitech MX Ergo is a top-notch wireless trackball mouse that offers excellent comfort, precision, and versatility. It is a great option for anyone looking for an ergonomic solution for their mouse needs.
The Kensington Orbit is a wireless trackball mouse that has received positive reviews for its ergonomic design and ease of use.
The trackball is positioned in the center of the device, allowing for a natural hand position and reducing the risk of repetitive strain injuries. The scroll ring around the trackball makes it easy to navigate through documents and web pages.
One of the standout features of the Kensington Orbit is its ability to connect to multiple devices through its 2.4GHz wireless connection. The device comes with a USB dongle that can be stored in the mouse when not in use. The mouse can be connected to up to four devices and easily switched between them with the press of a button.
The Kensington Orbit has a symmetrical design, making it suitable for both right and left-handed users. The mouse has four buttons that can be programmed for specific functions, and the trackball has been designed for precise control and accurate movement.
Overall, the Kensington Orbit is a well-designed and highly functional wireless trackball mouse. Its ergonomic design, ability to connect to multiple devices, and precise trackball make it a great option for anyone looking for a mouse that is comfortable to use for extended periods of time.
The ELECOM DEFT Trackball Mouse is a unique and innovative mouse that combines the traditional mouse design with a trackball mechanism. The trackball mechanism provides precise control and eliminates the need for physical movement, making it ideal for users with wrist or hand pain.
The mouse features six buttons that can be customized to suit specific needs. The buttons are easily accessible and responsive, providing a comfortable and efficient experience. The trackball itself is smooth and accurate, allowing for precise cursor movements.
The design of the mouse is sleek and modern, with a black and silver color scheme. The mouse has a compact size, making it ideal for users with limited desk space. The device is also ergonomically designed, making it comfortable to use for extended periods of time.
The ELECOM DEFT Trackball Mouse is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems and requires no additional software to be installed. The mouse also comes with a 2-year warranty, ensuring quality and reliability.
Overall, the ELECOM DEFT Trackball Mouse is a great option for users looking for a mouse that provides precise control and is designed for comfort and efficiency. The trackball mechanism is a unique feature that sets it apart from other mice on the market, making it ideal for users with wrist or hand pain.
The Kensington SlimBlade is a sleek and stylish wireless mouse that provides reliable performance and comfortable use. This mouse is designed to be slim and lightweight, making it an ideal choice for those who prefer a more minimalist aesthetic.
One of the standout features of the SlimBlade is its 2.4GHz wireless connection. This means that the mouse can connect to your computer without any cords or wires getting in the way. The wireless range is excellent, allowing you to use the mouse from up to 33 feet away from your computer.
The SlimBlade’s design is ergonomic and comfortable, making it ideal for both casual and professional use. The mouse features a smooth surface that is easy to grip, and the buttons are responsive and quiet. Additionally, the mouse has a built-in rechargeable battery, which means that you won’t need to replace the batteries as often.
In terms of performance, the SlimBlade is a solid choice. The mouse is responsive and accurate, making it ideal for both gaming and productivity. Additionally, the mouse supports a range of different operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS.
Overall, the Kensington SlimBlade is a great option for anyone who wants a stylish and reliable wireless mouse. Its sleek design and excellent performance make it an ideal choice for both casual and professional users.
The Perixx 11568 Perimice Trackball Mouse is a compact and ergonomic mouse that offers a comfortable and efficient alternative to traditional mice. This mouse is ideal for users who spend long hours in front of a computer and are looking for a comfortable and precise way to navigate their cursor.
Design: The Perimice Trackball Mouse has a sleek and compact design that is comfortable to use for long periods. It is easy to grip and control thanks to its ergonomic design, which includes a large trackball that makes cursor navigation effortless. The mouse also features four buttons that are easily accessible, allowing you to perform right-click, left-click, and scroll functions with ease.
Performance: The trackball mouse is highly precise and accurate, providing smooth and responsive cursor movement. The large trackball is also highly responsive, making it easy to navigate your cursor precisely and quickly. The mouse also features a scroll wheel, which is responsive and smooth, making it easy to navigate through pages and documents.
Compatibility: The Perimice Trackball Mouse is compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems, and it connects to your computer via USB. The mouse is plug-and-play, meaning that you can simply plug it into your computer and start using it immediately.
In conclusion, the Perixx 11568 Perimice Trackball Mouse is a great choice for users who are looking for a comfortable and efficient way to navigate their cursor. With its compact design, precise navigation, and compatibility with Windows and Mac, this mouse is a solid option for anyone looking for a trackball mouse.
A trackball mouse is a great option for anyone looking for a mouse that offers increased comfort and precision, and that can be used in tight spaces.
Trackball mice are often considered to be good for certain tasks, such as those requiring precision and control, such as photo editing or CAD drafting. They can also be useful for people with disabilities or injuries who have difficulty using a traditional mouse.
Some benefits of using a trackball mouse include:
- Reduces hand and wrist strain, as the user does not have to move the mouse around
- More precise control, as the user moves the ball with their thumb or finger, rather than the mouse moving
- Can be used on any surface, making them more versatile than traditional mice
However, trackball mice are not for everyone, as some users may find them difficult to get used to, or may not like the lack of physical feedback that a traditional mouse provides. Additionally, they can be more expensive than traditional mice, so they may not be the best option for those on a budget.
Here are some reasons why you may want to try a trackball mouse:
- Comfort: Trackball mice are designed to be ergonomic and can reduce wrist strain and fatigue, making them a great choice for those who spend long hours working on a computer.
- Accuracy: Trackballs are known for their accuracy and precision, making them ideal for tasks that require fine movements, such as graphic design or photo editing.
- Space-saving: Trackball mice are compact and do not require a lot of movement, making them ideal for those with limited desk space.
- Customization: Many trackball mice offer customizable buttons and settings, allowing you to personalize your mouse to suit your individual needs.
- Versatility: Trackball mice are compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems and can be used for a wide range of activities, including gaming, office work, and multimedia tasks.
So, why not give a trackball mouse a try and see the difference it makes in your daily computer use? You may be pleasantly surprised!
What is a trackball mouse and how does it work?
A trackball mouse is a type of computer mouse that uses a ball instead of a traditional optical or laser sensor to move the cursor on the screen. The ball is located on the top of the mouse and is surrounded by a ring that can be rotated with the fingers. As the user rotates the ball, the movement is detected by sensors inside the mouse and translated into movement on the screen.
Trackball mice are typically used for precision tasks such as photo editing, gaming, and design work. They are also popular for people with hand or wrist problems who find traditional mice uncomfortable to use.
The way a trackball mouse works is simple. As the ball is rotated, it rolls on a series of rollers inside the mouse that track the movement of the ball. The rollers are connected to sensors that detect the movement of the ball and send a signal to the computer. The computer then interprets this signal and moves the cursor on the screen accordingly.
Trackball mice can be wired or wireless, and they can have additional buttons and features like scroll wheels, programmable buttons, and sensitivity controls. Overall, trackball mice are a versatile and efficient way to interact with computers and other devices.
What are the benefits of using a trackball mouse compared to a traditional mouse?
Here are some benefits of using a trackball mouse compared to a traditional mouse:
- Increased precision: The trackball mouse allows for more precise movement than a traditional mouse, which can be especially useful for tasks that require fine control.
- Reduced strain: With a trackball mouse, you don’t have to move your arm as much, reducing the risk of repetitive strain injuries.
- Space-saving: The trackball mouse doesn’t require as much movement as a traditional mouse, making it ideal for use in small spaces.
- Comfort: The trackball mouse is more comfortable to use than a traditional mouse, as it eliminates the need to constantly grip and move the mouse.
- Reduced clutter: The trackball mouse eliminates the need for a mouse pad, freeing up desk space and reducing clutter.
- Versatility: The trackball mouse can be used with either hand, making it ideal for left-handed users and for those who switch between hands during use.
- Increased durability: Trackball mice are typically more durable than traditional mice, as they have fewer moving parts and less wear and tear on internal components.
How do I choose the best trackball mouse for me?
When choosing the best trackball mouse, consider the following factors:
- Comfort: Choose a mouse that fits comfortably in your hand and has a smooth and easy-to-use ball.
- Features: Look for features like adjustable sensitivity, multiple buttons, and programmable buttons that can help increase efficiency and comfort.
- Connectivity: Consider whether you want a wired or wireless mouse, and if wireless, make sure it has a reliable and long-lasting battery.
- Compatibility: Make sure the mouse is compatible with your computer and operating system.
- Brand reputation: Consider the reputation of the brand, customer reviews and ratings, and customer support options.
- Price: Decide on a budget and look for a mouse that offers the best value for your money.
Additionally, consider trying a trackball mouse in-person or reviewing its specifications online to see if it meets your needs and preferences.
What are the top trackball mouse options on the market?
Here are the top trackball mouse options on the market:
- Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball Mouse
- Kensington Orbit Trackball Mouse with Scroll Ring
- Logitech Trackman Wheel Optical Trackball
- Elecom DEFT Pro Trackball Mouse
- Kensington Expert Wireless Trackball Mouse
- Perixx PERIMICE-517 Trackball Mouse
Are trackball mice good for gaming?
Trackball mice can be good for gaming depending on the individual’s preference and type of game. Trackball mice offer more precise control compared to traditional mice, which can be useful for games that require precise aiming or movement, such as first-person shooter games. However, trackball mice may not be suitable for fast-paced games that require quick movement, as they are not as quick to move as traditional mice. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and the type of game being played.
Is a trackball mouse suitable for both left and right-handed users?
Yes, trackball mice are suitable for both left and right-handed users as the design of the trackball is typically located in the center of the mouse and can be operated with either hand. Some trackball mice even have ambidextrous designs with buttons that can be programmed for either hand.
How does a trackball mouse compare to a touchpad in terms of accuracy and precision?
A trackball mouse is generally considered to be more accurate and precise than a touchpad. The trackball mechanism allows the user to physically move the cursor, giving greater control and precision. Touchpads, on the other hand, rely on finger movements, which can be less accurate and less precise, especially for fine movements. Touchpads are also subject to interference from sweat or other environmental factors, which can negatively impact their accuracy and precision.
However, it’s worth noting that touchpads have improved significantly in recent years, with many now featuring multi-touch capabilities and improved sensitivity. Additionally, some people prefer touchpads because they are more ergonomic and require less physical movement, reducing the risk of repetitive strain injury. So, the choice between a trackball mouse and a touchpad will largely depend on personal preference and the specific tasks being performed.
How does a trackball mouse help prevent repetitive strain injury (RSI)?
A trackball mouse helps prevent repetitive strain injury (RSI) by reducing the need for repetitive arm and wrist movements. Unlike a traditional mouse, which requires the user to constantly move the wrist and arm to navigate the cursor, a trackball mouse allows the user to control the cursor by simply moving the ball with their thumb or fingers. This reduces the strain on the wrist and arm, as well as eliminates the need for excessive movement. Additionally, many trackball mice are designed with ergonomic features, such as adjustable ball size and placement, which can further reduce the risk of RSI.
Are trackball mice compatible with all operating systems and devices?
In general, trackball mice are compatible with most operating systems and devices, including Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Chromebooks. However, compatibility may vary depending on the specific model and brand of the trackball mouse. It’s recommended to check the manufacturer’s website or product specifications for compatibility information.