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Trackball Mouse

A trackball mouse is perfect for people who require precise cursor movement and increased control but need the ergonomic comfort they can't get with a regular mouse.

Trackball mice are great mouse alternatives for people who need a device with programmable buttons, such as graphic designers and editors. Most trackball mice can be operated by left-handed or right-handed users. Because of their compact design, they will take up less space on your desk or workstation.

For some people concerned about repetitive movement injuries and ergonomics, a trackball mouse could be more comfortable than an ergonomic mouse. Choose from a wired USB trackball device or a wireless trackball computer mouse.

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Trackball Mice FAQs

What is a trackball mouse?

A trackball mouse is commonly used as a pointing device for computers, similar to a traditional mouse. It features a snooker-sized (or smaller) trackball that rests on rollers that spin in any direction. As you move the trackball, the mouse pointer moves in the same direction as the spin.

Is a trackball mouse easy to use?

Whichever design of trackball mouse you choose, switching from a traditional mouse will take some time to get used to. Since the cursor moves in response to the trackball movements, the operation of a trackball mouse is significantly different, plus there are a variety of trackball designs that require the use of either the thumb or fingers. Trackballs also have a different sense of momentum so you may need to calibrate the sensitivity based on how you work.

Once you get the hang of it, you can gradually use the trackball for different tasks so you can practice and hone your usage. We recommend using the trackball in parallel with your mouse and slowly transition to the trackball over time.

What are the common designs for trackball mice?

  • Thumb-operated trackball mice 

    In this form factor, the trackball is located where the thumb is, while the rest of the device looks just like a normal mouse with the typical clickable buttons. The design often requires the side where the trackball is located to be slightly taller, creating a slight vertical tilt that helps make the device more ergonomic. You can use your thumb to maneuver the trackball and your fingers of choice to do the left or right clicking. Trackball mice of this design are mostly only for right hand users.

  • Fingers-operated trackball mice 

    In this form factor, the trackball is located in the middle of the device which you can control using your index or middle fingers, although you can use any or a combination of fingers to move the ball. The clickable buttons are located on the sides and act as the left and right-click buttons, often controlled by your thumb and pinky fingers. Some manufacturers include a scroll ring to simplify up or down scrolling. Because of the way they are designed, they are ambidextrous and can easily be used by both left and right handed users.

Who should use a trackball mouse?

  • People who have RSI issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis 

    Because the base of the mouse is stationary, there is very little repetitive wrist motion when using a trackball. Your arms and shoulders sit in a neutral position, with most of the movements occurring predominantly with your thumb or a combination of fingers that you prefer. The most common RSI-related issues are often caused by repetitive motion while using a non-ergonomic mouse, plus the unnatural posture and hand position required to operate it.

  • People who easily get finger or hand fatigue 

    Particularly for the ambidextrous trackball designs, a trackball mouse is ideal for people whose hands or fingers are prone to strain or fatigue. Using a trackball mouse minimises wrist movement, ensures that your fingers move the trackball in a more natural position, and allows you to switch between your left and right hand to operate.

  • Disabled or elderly users

    For some people, sustaining their hold on a traditional mouse while clicking or dragging it can be a bit of a task. In addition, people who have significantly clammy or shaky hands will also appreciate the way a trackball mouse is operated with mainly just the fingers. With a trackball, they can easily position the cursor on their screen and click the left or right button without the need to lift or drag the mouse in different directions.

Is a trackball mouse better than a trackpad?

Most commonly found integrated with laptops, trackpads are the primary device used to move the cursor across the screen. While most people can live with just the trackpad for day-to-day use, it is still not as ergonomic as a trackball mouse. All trackballs have a contoured area to rest your hand on while using the device, unlike a trackpad which is flat and does not offer any support to your hand, particularly your wrist.

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