Which trackball to get?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by whiteangel, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. whiteangel macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester
    #1
    I am experiencing some pains in my arms (more in the right but some in the left), so I thought why not try getting a trackball and see if it gets better. I have never tried a trackball before, and can't find a local shop that has one on display. Nevertheless I am ready to give trackballs a shot, due to its benefits, one of which is not needing a mousing space, as I share a small table with my bf so there is quite limited space for my mouse a logitech MX510.

    So which one should I get? I looked at the logitech cordless trackman but am not that keen to have to replenish the batteries (too lazy for that).

    I read from another thread in this forum that kensington has better drivers, so I'm quite interested in the Orbit Elite and the Expert. Apparently the bigger the ball the better, and obviously expert is better than the orbit, but is it worth the price difference? Will I notice the lack of buttons on the orbit? As my current MX510 has many buttons and I use the back and forth alot, but I find using the scroll wheel quite tiring.

    What about Microsoft's offerings? Like the Microsoft Trackball Explorer

    Another question, although I've read that the finger controlled trackballs are better than the thumb ones, does anyone has any personal experience as to which one is easier to learn , get used to? I play warcraft 3 alot and hope that the trackball can be used for it as well after some practice of course. If not I can always plug in my current mouse.

    sorry for the awfully long post, but I am very eager to hear from you guys. I have searched the entire forum for the word 'trackballs' and still can't reach a decision so I need your help and input.

    Thanks alot.
     
  2. Rob0711 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    Germany
    #2
    trackballs

    i´ve been using trackballs for some time and imo, the only really usable one is the one from logitech likewise on win and mac systems. and i did try the three finger huge ball version of the logitech once... (about 5 minutes... was far to awkward to really work with it. but that depends on your habits...)

    in any case do try them out before you buy them... most peole seem to have severe problems with these things... but that´s another story :)

    and the ms one seems to be good. but it´s far too bulky in my eyes...
     
  3. whiteangel thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester
    #3
    Thanks for your prompt reply.

    Which model are you using? Are you using a thumb driven one?

    The main problem is that I can't find a place to try them, as they are not very popular, shops seldom sell them, and if they do they are not on display. I stay in Manchester (UK) if anyone can recommend me a place to try them around the city centre I will be very grateful.
     
  4. simmonstwin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2004
    Location:
    South
    #4
    I been using my wireless logitech for about a three years now and i have only had to change the batteries twice. It's very comfortable on the hand even after longer hours of usage. i would give them a 9 out of 10 rating.


    keith
     
  5. whiteangel thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester
    #5
    Looking at it, I can't find the right mouse button, and I'm not too sure where is the left mouse button. But it seems that i will be at home with all the extra buttons. Is it responsive enough for games with it being wireless?

    How easy is it to navigate using the ball? Is the ball big? I have never seen any of these in real life so I have to rely on your input.

    Any cons? Pros?

    I'm really eager to get one, but I seriously can't decide. Right at this moment, I'm considering the M$ explorer, the Kensington Orbit, the logitech marble and the wireless logitech.

    Kensington Expert seems to be the one I'll get if I feel super rich but I feel poor now.
     
  6. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    #6
     
  7. whiteangel thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester
    #7
    The kensington has better drivers I think.
    So between the Kensington expert, the microsoft explorer and the logitech marble.

    Which one should I get?

    There are only that many choices, but i want to get one that I will be less likely to regret. I don't wish to get a cheap one and end up liking trackballs and kicking myself for not getting the better one.
     
  8. kant macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    #8
    The Trackball Explorer works well with my iBook. I used to use the Logitech Trackman Marble FX but they've gotten too expensive to replace. But I have median and ulnar nerve damage so they're the only two I can use without discomfort. Never used the logitech with a mac however.
     
  9. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    #9
    I use the microsoft one you linked to and I love it. Fits my hand perfectly. One fo the best things you can do is get down to an electronics store and try a bunch of them out, see how they fit your hand. I had an orbit for a while, but didn't like the position it held my hand in. I like the buttons and scroll wheel on the side of the trackball on the MS one. It really minimizes the stress on my hand ligaments.
     
  10. simmonstwin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2004
    Location:
    South
    #10
    The right butoon is the navy part right by the ball. it is a very convient spot to place it. The postion is very natural. any trackball mouse isn't good for games, it's not the reponsiveness but the movment of the fingers in reation to the movement to the action on the screen that makes it bad. but besides that it is a great mouse.
    keith
     
  11. whiteangel thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester
    #11
    Thank you so much for your inputs.

    Although nobody recommended it, I decided to buy a kensington expert from ebay, due to the software, the scroll ring and the large ball (which I read the bigger the better).

    I'll post what i think of it when I get it. Hopefully it won't be a disappointment as it cost me £55.

    Thank you guys once again.

    :D
     
  12. whiteangel thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester
    #12
    Ok so the Kensington ExpertMouse arrived, and I've tried it for about a day. Actually I don't really like it, it seems quite difficult to learn how to control well with the ball. And the thing is very big and doesn't feel very ergonomic.
    Maybe I was wrong thinking that if it has lasted for so long, it must be very good to use and comfortable.

    Can someone who managed to learn how to use the trackball better or as good as a mouse give me some times? It seems quite difficult to move the cursor to a very specific location, I usually end up a close to it, and need to concentrate very hard to move it to the exact location.

    Anyone can give me any advice or tips?

    This thing cost me £55, so I do wish I can use it better than a normal mouse.
     
  13. kant macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    #13
    Give it some more time. It took me a few days to get comfortable using one. Try playing Diablo II with it - that'll force you to get used to it. :)
     
  14. DavidCar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    #14
    I used to use a Kensington Trackball and liked it very much. It became very easy to put the cursor exactly where I wanted it, with either my left or right hand. I'm considering getting another one.

    There was a time when my wrists were really bugging me, so I got some ergorests, which helped.

    http://www.comfortkeyboard.com/ergo_wrist.html
     
  15. whiteangel thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester
    #15
    Thanks for the encouragement guys ! :D

    I was wondering do you guys like spin the ball and try to stop it in time ( i don't think i can do that), or keep your fingers on the ball all the time and hope that you can reach the spot you want before your fingers reaches the edge?

    I find myself doing the latter, I did try to play frozen throne (Dota) with it, but because I can move the ball fsat enough, I can't run away fast enough and I die....( but i usually die anyway ).

    Oh another thing, I find that after using the trackball there is a new pain in my arm, last time the pain stretched from my fingers to my elbow, now there is a new pain between my elbow and my shoulder.

    Mind you I'm only turning 23 in december, and so shouldn't be that sensitive to aches. Anything I'm doing wrong? I using the wrist rest too as it causes me to not have to tilt my hand so much which I assume is better.
     
  16. DavidCar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    #16
    I was just looking at a "Batman" trackball at compUSA. It feels similar to my old ADB TurboMouse, but maybe a bit more wobbly when I try to spin it from the far edge. I know I used to do that (spin it) when going from corner to corner on the screen, and it worked well that way. It feels like you can spin the scroll wheel as well, which would be interesting to try in locating a spot in a long document.
     
  17. whiteangel thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester
    #17
    Do you find that using a trackball is more comfortable that using a normal mouse? My right arm has gotten so painful, numb and weak that my lecturer asked me to use my left hand to mouse instead, which I am trying now.

    I seriously do hope that I am not aggravating the condition by forcing myself to use the trackball. Do you find that your hand gets more tense as you try to control the ball more precisely? Or is it just me doing it wrong?

    I guess nobody can teach me how to use a trackball (namely the kensington expert), it is up to my own talent and skill. :(

    by the way the scroll ring is not smooth enough to spin it though.
     
  18. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #18
    I had a kensington trackball back with my IIsi. I got used to it and really liked the big ball - I recall you could alter the sensativity - don't want it to be too fast or its hard to control.

    I've seen some folks with wrist issues using the thumb track balls (and chairs that keep your arm a correct height) -

    Here's a corded one (I'm with you - don't like batteries - aside from the disposal issues, it's a bit of a pain). http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details/US/EN,CRID=2150,CONTENTID=5002

    Good luck.
     
  19. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #19
    I had a kensington trackball back with my IIsi. I got used to it and really liked the big ball - I recall you could alter the sensativity - don't want it to be too fast or its hard to control.

    I've seen some folks with wrist issues using the thumb track balls - and others (and chairs that keep your arm a correct height) -

    Here's a corded one (I'm with you - don't like batteries - aside from the disposal issues, it's a bit of a pain). http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details/US/EN,CRID=2150,CONTENTID=5002

    Good luck.
     
  20. whiteangel thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester
    #20
    so a thumb ball is better? :(
    so I got the wrong trackball then? oh no......I think I'll have to start looking to sell it on ebay then?
     
  21. Duff-Man macrumors 68030

    Duff-Man

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #21
    Duff-Man says....no, a thumb ball is not necessarily better. When talking about mice and trackballs you really have to figure out what works best and deals with the ergonomic issues for *YOU* - not anyone else here. All anyone else is telling you is their personal experience with a product and while they should not be entirely discounted you must remember that those opinions only apply to each individuals ergonomic and comfort issues. Moving from a mouse to a trackball - especially the large Kensington Expert one - will take some time to fully adjust to how it "feels" in your hand...don't give up on it yet - give yourself time to tweak the sensitivity settings and button functions so they best for you....oh yeah!
     
  22. whiteangel thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester
    #22
    :D Thanks alot !

    I'll give it more time then, it is quite hard trying to find the perfect settings for me, and I'm still not skillful in controlling the ball.

    But I'll won't give it up, because I won't admit I made a wrong purchase. hehehe
     
  23. gibbay macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Location:
    Mississauga, Ontario
    #23
    My experiences

    I've used trackballs on my computers for a while now, and the one I've really gotten to like is actually the Microsoft trackball explorer.
    The first trackball I got was this cheap one I picked up at future shop for about $30, and mechanically speaking it was like an upside down mouse, only worse cause I'd have to take it apart every few days to clean the rollers. I found that for games it worked allot better than a regular mouse though, I could be allot more precise with my movements and aiming (our rez was pretty much dominated in network games by UT and THPS2) so when one of the springs on the rollers, I decided that I wanted another one.
    When I did my shopping I decided that based on my previous experience, I wanted to go optical so I could avoid having to clean rollers all the time (I'm pretty sure trackballs are all optical now, but it might be something to double check when buying) and I also wanted to make sure that not only did the body of the trackball feel comfortable, but that the buttons were not only easily accessible but that I would be able to know without thinking which one was which. So I would defiantly try and find a store that has all the different models on display so that you can get a feel for each model before you buy (even if you do end up buying one on eBay it's good to do a test run somewhere) up here in Canada Stores like Staples, and Best Buy/Future Shop have an average of 20 different models you can try, so spend a good 30 minutes or so trying them out to make sure you find one you like.
    For me, the reasons why I was so happy with the M$TE model is because the way it's sized and shaped fits my hand almost exactly, had the right number of buttons and scroll wheels, a nice big ball, and every feature worked natively on both my Mac and PC. All those features are good for me cause it meant that while I was in school I could bring it in on those occasions I spent overnight in one of the design labs or our college newspaper office I could plug it in without worrying about installing anything (my previous model needed the driver installed to access the 4th button and second scroll wheel) or my hand cramping up 5 hours in.
    So basically, to sum up this very long post (I didn't mean for it to end up this long, really) the most important things to keep in mind when getting a trackball is that since it is piece of computer equipment you will interact with the most (or second most, depending on what you use your comp for) knowing what your wants and needs are going in are very important, and then once you have those, make sure that you pick the model that physically fits you best too, you might have to spend an extra buck or two for a better model, but in the long run it's really worth it
     
  24. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #24

    I agree with Duff Man - I've seen some used, but you may find a thumb ball uncomfortable / moving your thumb may actually irritate your inflamation / etc.

    As I said, when I had the Kensington big ball trackball (which wasn't a thumb ball) I found that the sensativity settings of the trackball made a big difference to my comfort using it. Took me a bit to get used to it, but after a bit it was second nature (e.g., could easily click and roll to highlight text, etc.)
     
  25. japasneezemonk macrumors 6502

    japasneezemonk

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2005
    Location:
    Nomad
    #25
    I have been using the Microsoft trackball explorer for a couple of years and it's great for long hours of use.
     

Share This Page