Getting my first trackball

Discussion in 'Mice and Keyboards' started by mnewxcv, Sep 3, 2018.

  1. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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    As the title says, I am going to be picking up my first trackball mouse today from best buy. I have always looked at trackball mice as sort of odd and useless, back in the day when logitech had that one with the big red ball, probably about the time they introduced the wave keyboard (I did buy one of those though, no regrets there). However about a year ago, I started hearing how people in FPS competitions used them for speed/control/whatever else. I found that interesting, but still had no desire to buy one.

    Until today! I am making the shift to mostly mobile computing (aka a powerful laptop instead of a powerful desktop) and find myself using my laptop on a variety of surfaces not necessarily ideal for an optical mouse. I have a logitech M510 which has been fine for basic use (scroll wheel, forward and backward buttons are a lifesaver for web browsing), but for gaming, it is just about as useless as the touchpad, and if you are on an uneven surface (let alone in bed), forget it.

    SO I decided to price some new wireless mice, and came across the M570, with a trackball. It looks like it may be the best solution available to me, has wireless (no bluetooth unfortunately), 18 month battery life (amazing, I don't want to need to 'maintain' my mice by charging every few days), and of course the integrated trackball. I do photo and video editing as well as gaming, and I think this should be a great improvement over a traditional wireless mouse. It may even be better than a standard mouse on a desktop, we will see!
     
  2. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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  3. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    yup that's a trackball.
     
  4. DrLobotomy

    DrLobotomy [H]ardness Supreme

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    Fire up some Missile Command!!
     
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  5. N4CR

    N4CR 2[H]4U

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    CAD fags and CEO at a company I work close with love these.
    Few years back they were buying the NOS from the old models and lamenting that was coming to an end, they're very happy now. I may get one too, only thing that gets me is trying to move the whole mouse when I sit down at a workstation like that.
     
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  6. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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    I had no idea they didn't have an optical sensor built in. I guess I always assumed you had the option of using it like a normal mouse or using the ball. Shows how little I know. Got it hooked up, will definitely take some getting used to. Seems to be a bit darty on high pointer speed settings and works better with low speed set and spinning the ball more. I tried battlefield for a minute and it will take getting used to, but not any worse than trying to use an optical mouse on your leg or something.

    20180903_174640.jpg
     
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  7. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    they work alright for RTSs and stuff that isn't twitchy. friends dad swore by it but always switch to a reg mouse for fraggin'.
     
  8. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'm usually a scout/recon class so nothing too crazy in terms of movement. I did try playing as assault and kind of froze up when trying to figure out what to do. There's no muscle memory in my thumb yet :p
     
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  9. SamirD

    SamirD [H]ard|Gawd

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    Welcome to the 'other pointing device'. :D

    I switched to an original Logitech wired thumb trackman back in the early 2000s when my right shoulder was giving me pain after about 8hrs straight of working. The trackball solved that problem--and has been on my desk ever since. I actually have about 4 of them now, carefully picking them up when I can since they are no longer in production. The wife finally joined me when she ran into the same problem as you with her work laptop--no mouse and no surface for one. She has the same one you got and loves it. She even does this weird thing of using it on her thigh when standing up--if there was a way to velcro it there, I'm almost willing to be she and her co-workers at work would work the whole day like that, haha.

    There's also a finger version of the logitech that may work better for you if your thumb doesn't like it. For me, the finger style ones overextend my wrist ligaments so I'll have pain in about an hour, but everyone's different so try one out. The ball is a bit bigger too. Plus, more than just logitech makes these (kensington, et al), so you have a variety of companies to try. (y)

    If you like the thumb ball but it's just not perfect, I'd look into the thumb one made by elecom. It's almost the exact same design as the logitech except the ball is at a slightly different angle and your hand placement is slightly different. I actually have a left-handed one of these so I can work on getting good with either hand, and build quality is top notch. It's a wireless design too with a few more buttons to boot. If my wife's logitech dies and she wants to try something slightly different, I plan to get her one of the elecoms.
     
  10. acascianelli

    acascianelli [H]ardness Supreme

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    I've been using Logitech Trackballs since the second version they made.

    tcd26f-1.jpg

    I like the M570 much more than the new one they just came out with. I actually have to buy a new one for work because I wore out the left click button. :D
     
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  11. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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    I've been enjoying the m570 quite a bit. Great for travel.
     
  12. mlcarson

    mlcarson Limp Gawd

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    Thumb based trackballs are simply a bad ergonomic design and mainly cater to those that are looking for a trackball that looks similar to a mouse design that they are used to.
    You should have gotten a finger based trackball like the Elecom Huge. This is probably the closest trackball currently produced to that of the original Microsoft Trackball Explorer that everybody raved about.
    upload_2018-9-13_10-44-41.png

    If you can get by with fewer buttons and no scroll wheel then the Logitech Trackman Marble is a good inexpensive option.
    upload_2018-9-13_10-51-0.png
     
  13. acascianelli

    acascianelli [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'm no expert on ergonomics, but it would seem that manipulating a trackball with your thumb would be easier because your thumb has a wider lateral range of motion compared to a finger. Fingers are better for scolling and have a wider range of motion for that application.

    I only used the Logitech Trackman Marble FX a few times, but I like that idea.

    UOZlU9Z.jpg

    Logitech has come a long was with it's trackball ergonomics. :)

    102633813p-03-01.jpg
    102633813p-03-03.jpg
    102633813p-03-02.jpg
     
  14. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'm not complaining. I find it works perfectly well for my use
     
  15. mlcarson

    mlcarson Limp Gawd

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    Your fingers naturally have more precision than your thumb does. You'll also see that manipulating a thumb based trackball will put a lot of stress on your thumb basal joint which is a common point for arthritis.
    Here's the latest Elecom Deft Pro. I haven't used it but am thinking of purchasing it now.
    upload_2018-9-13_12-37-27.png
     
  16. NoOther

    NoOther [H]ardness Supreme

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  17. SamirD

    SamirD [H]ard|Gawd

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    I completely disagree with you. Everyone's hands are different and strain in different ways. The finger-based logitech pictured above literally kills my fingers after 30 minutes. And yet they're awesome for my parents (we have 2 of them).

    There is no 'best' design when it comes to ergonomics--the diversity of trackballs and keyboards wouldn't exist if there was only 'one' answer.

    I'm with you on the thumb. I also find I don't have to move it as much as I do on the finger balls since the ball is smaller.

    The FX is a very unique character. I never got to use one, but I don't think my hand would like it.

    Now that classic trackman is what I first remember in a trackball. We actually bought it back in the early 1990s to try it out, but it was too expensive, so we returned it. But now that it's old, maybe I should pick one up because I really did like how my hand rested on it. (y)
     
  18. SamirD

    SamirD [H]ard|Gawd

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    If that was the case, my thumb should have already developed arthritis by now after almost 20 years on the trackman. Like I said before, everyone's hands are different. And that's why Elecom also makes thumb-based trackballs like this one (which are fantastic):
    M-XT3URBK_05.jpg

    If there was one answer to the trackball, then there wouldn't be such a diverse number of products.
     
  19. mlcarson

    mlcarson Limp Gawd

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    My thumb hurts just looking at that Elecom thumb-based trackball. The manufacturers seem to gravitate to the thumb-based style of trackball because it's closer in design to the mouse. You can still use your fingers for the same buttons that you did with a mouse. The finger-based trackballs require rethinking most mouse designs because now you have to have more buttons thumb operated or repositioned in a way that still allows use of the ball. Elecom, Kensington, and Logitech have considerable variations in design. Everybody's hands may be different but they're different mostly in size and musculature -- not in their basic operation. If your prone to RSI, thumb based trackballs are likely to transfer that pain to your thumb basal joint. Mice tend to hit you with carpal tunnel. I suppose finger based trackballs could be bad if you're getting arthritis in your finger joints but that will affect your typing too. The logitech trackman marble is the most comfortable trackball to me and I can tell that there's not a lot of joint movement during normal operation with it. I think it could be improved to be an even better option if Logitech would just add an additional small button on the bottomside of the large button on each side of the device just like they did with the top button. This would modify the trackball from a 4-button design to a 6-button ambidextrous symmetric design. Logitech seems to have no interest in anything but the thumb-based trackballs now though. Elecom seems to be the only manufacturer that's doing any innovation in trackball design.


     
  20. SamirD

    SamirD [H]ard|Gawd

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    Well, it's obvious that 'thumb based trackballs are likely to transfer that pain to your thumb basal joint' is not true in my case as my thumbs feel as good as when I was 20, and are still some of the strongest digits on my hand. I agree that there's some improvements that can always be made to any human interface design, but to believe that 'one design fits all' is akin to saying that only one type of doctor in each specialty is required for a given population--and we all know that isn't true.
     
  21. iroc409

    iroc409 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have the MS Trackball Explorer at home, and it's fantastic.

    I also recently acquired that Elecom HUGE for work, to replace a wireless Logitech M570 (I think). I really like the Elecom, especially the sensitivity. I will probably get one for home and delegate the Microsoft to my servers or something. I had the Microsoft unit redone by one of those eBay dealers a few years ago. It's probably over 15 years old now but just keeps running.

    I personally prefer the finger control trackballs, but that's just my choice. Either can work just fine as I've used both.
     
  22. mlcarson

    mlcarson Limp Gawd

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    Some people just don't suffer from RSI for specific activities. Some people can smoke a lifetime and not get cancer. It doesn't mean that you can't say that a specific activity will have a higher likelihood of causing a specific outcome. It should be obvious to most people that a thumb based trackball can lead to RSI of the basal joint as would texting. The RSI associated with a standard mouse and/or keyboard has been Carpal Tunnel. I doubt that finger based trackballs are blameless for RSI's but the ergonomics seem to be better than the other options. There's more to a mouse/trackball than ergonomics though. As I stated before, I like the Logitech Trackman Marble for the ergonomics but prefer the Elecom Huge for the additional buttons/scroll wheel. The Kensington Expert probably had the smoothest ball movement of any trackball that I've used but was limited to only 4 buttons like the Logitech but had a rather innovative scroll wheel. So, you're right in that there's no universal one design fits all.

    The reason that a lot of people end up with trackballs though is because of RSI's with standard mice. Recommending a thumb-based trackball to somebody with carpal tunnel will probably just create a new thumb RSI - there have been plenty of reports of that happening. I used the Evoluent Vertical mice for quite a while before moving on to trackballs. I see that Logitech now has a MX Vertical mouse being released 9/30 that is supposed to be Logitech's attempt at an ergonomic mouse. Kind of a steep price tag at $99.99 though. Calling their thumb-based trackball the MX Ergo though is like calling an oil refinery eco-friendly.

     
  23. SamirD

    SamirD [H]ard|Gawd

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    It may be because I try to avoid using a trackball in the first place and concentrate on keyboard shortcuts that I may have averted any thumb rsi issues. But when I originally purchased it, it was during a time when I had a very mouse-intensive repetitive task on a regular basis (for several years), so I would have thought that any rsi would have appeared at that time. I'm glad nothing did as I would have just been trading shoulder pain for hand pain.

    My brother had carpel tunnel release surgery before he graduated high school--I need to ask him which pointing device he uses regularly now.

    Marketing will always be marketing, but to me the MX Ergo is definitely nice even though I've not used one yet. If my wife kills her m570, I'll probably get either that one or an Elecom thumb since the build quality on the Elecoms is very nice.

    Vertical mice for me seem to transfer a lot of the arm movement to the shoulder, which definitely wouldn't work for me, and probably not for others--but everyone's different, so whatever works. (y)