Logitech Marble Mouse
Many years ago when trackballs first came out, they were somewhat flaky and difficult to control. The ones in laptops were the most notorious of all. It’s unfortunate the trackball went out of vogue, because nowadays the ones you can still get are quite a pleasure to use. Personally the trackball is my preferred pointing device. My kids also prefer to use a trackball even though the one on their computer has mechanical sensors that need cleaning often.
The trackball I use is the Logitech Marble Mouse. Despite its name, it’s actually a trackball.
I’ve been using various trackballs for two years and have not only found them easier to use, but also have health advantages. Last year I had a brief fling with the Mighty Mouse, and many hours a day using it actually gave me repetitive strain injury (RSI). I did try other mice but it wasn’t until I returned to the trackball that I was able to fully overcome the RSI. That was when I bought the Marble Mouse.
Trackballs allow you to scoot quickly around the screen, the flick motion being the most intuitive of all pointing devices. Provided you slow down the movement sensitivity, a balance between speed and minute control can easily be obtained.
Of the trackballs I have used, the Marble Mouse is my favorite. The ball moves freely and smoothly, and is nicely weighted.
The Marble Mouse has optical sensors which always work. Unlike mice, which sometimes find a surface they’re not happy with, the Marble Mouse is always happy. The ball floats on tiny supports which I suspect are made of teflon or similar. Very occasionally these gather fluff and slow down the movement of the ball but it only takes a couple of seconds to flick the fluff.
Built flush with the left and right buttons are mini-buttons for scrolling. Not quite as intuitive as a scroll wheel, they are easy to use all the same. These can be reconfigured for other functions if desired.
In fact, all four buttons can be configured to a wide variety of functions, including keyboard shortcuts; opening applications, documents, folders and web pages; shutdown; CD eject; volume control and more.
The humble mouse is ubiquitous, and rightly so, because it does combine the elements of all pointing devices, but consequently doesn’t do any function best. If you are like most folks and use your mouse mostly for “point & click”, then consider a trackball next time, or even now. The only area a trackball does lag behind a mouse is free-hand drawing. But if you are serious about that, you should get a graphics tablet anyway.
Logitech make four trackballs. I have the Marble Mouse simply because of affordability but the top of the range Cordless Optical Trackman certainly appeals.
The Logitech Marble Mouse is my favorite peripheral I use with my Mac. It is beautifully designed, usable by both left or right handers, comfortable, reduces the risk of RSI, easy to use and, because of its intuitiveness, increases productivity. 10/10