Posted on February 20, 2019
After several hours of research, I finally made my selection of the 5 best trackballs among more than fifteen models marketed for the moment. The one that caught my particular attention is the Logitech MX Ergo which, despite a slightly higher price, offers the best product quality available on the market. You will also find at the end of this article a guide to help you see it clearer on the essential criteria to take into account during your purchase.
The best inexpensive trackballs
Who better than Logitech, the expert in keyboards and mouse design to develop a quality trackball at an unbeatable price? Not to mention the excellent alternative offered by Kensington, the other specialist in the field.
Logitech M570: the best cheap
Flexible wireless connection for other devices
Buttons potentially damaged after one or two years
Logitech is a brand that is known around the world as a leader in the field of PC peripherals, with hundreds of models of keyboards, headphones, webcam and of course mouse.
They have specialized in hardware for players for some years, but some products, including trackballs, have been around for a long time in the Logitech catalog.
One of the least expensive models presented here is the Logitech M570, entry-level trackball and wireless.
This compact device measures 8.2 x 16 x 20.8 cm for only 399 grams and is guaranteed 3 years by its manufacturer. This is the evolution of the Trackman Wheel, which takes up little space, since you do not need to move your arm.
There are 5 buttons on this trackball, which can easily be customized as needed, which can allow it to be used for just about everything you have to do on your computer, without having to move.
Connectivity is good for the workers, since the M570 runs on a USB wireless receiver that works up to 10 meters away, which allows you to connect not only this product, but up to 6 other devices of the brand. same time !
So you can use this trackball, a traditional mouse and a keyboard without having to add another receiver to your computer and clutter the USB ports on your PC.
The batteries, which are included, provide nearly 18 months of autonomy, which seems to be one of the big strengths of this trackball. You do not have to acquire other batteries for a very long time, even with heavy use of the product.
It can also be noted that the laser sensor is adjustable to customize the speed of scrolling there too.
Side cleaning, access to the ball is very simple, from below the device, and can be removed very easily to spend a stroke of cloth if necessary.
Unfortunately, one can observe in some cases that after almost two years of use, the main buttons of the M570 tend to double click instead of making a single click.
It is certainly a big black point of this model, otherwise excellent for an entry-level that is offered for less than 40 euros.
Kensington Orbit: inexpensive expertise
Not practical position of the 2 main buttons
Wireless available but for more than 50 euros!
If Logitech is not your cup of tea and you do not absolutely want to own a wireless model, Kensington is perhaps an interesting choice to make for an entry-level trackball.
The Orbit Mouse model we're going to talk about here is a trackball even more compact than its competitor at Logitech, measuring 5.1 x 15.2 x 20.3 for a weight of just 295 grams, very easy to transport and easy to handle. .
the Kensington Orbit is also guaranteed 5 years by its manufacturer, which is not only rare for any product in general, but particularly at Kensington, which generally provides 3 years warranty.
The first thing I like about this product is the possibility of using it whether left handed or right handed. The design is indeed ambidextrous, because sometimes we tend to forget that left-handed people also have the right to use a computer!
I'm one of them, even if I use my mouse on the right side of the keyboard, but as a southpaw, I must admit that many brands unfortunately do not offer products that work for us as well. I'm glad to see that this one is for everyone.
Secondly, I also very much appreciate the comfortable, detachable wrist rest included, which helps prevent unnecessary hand strain and prevents tendinitis or carpal tunnel syndrome, which is widespread today.
This model, finally, also has a scroll wheel that consists of a dial that rotates around the ball of 40 millimeters and allows scrolling documents or easy navigation on the web, since unlike other models resembling a mouse, the Kensington Orbit Mouse does not have a wheel.
Note that the Orbit is not a default wireless trackball and you can get a wifi model, for about twenty euros more than the base price of about 35 euros.
On the negative side, we deplore the layout of the 2 upper buttons, which limit a little the ease of use of the device and the lack of ability to scroll easily horizontally.
But if your needs are limited to comfort, reliability, ease of use and price, the Kensington Orbit Mouse trackball is probably the best option to Logitech models.
The best mid-range trackballs
Two very good models of trackball presented in this mid-range, including my personal favorite, developed by none other than Logitech, always at the forefront of technology when it comes to peripherals for computers.
Logitech MX Ergo: the best midrange
Requires to clean the ball regularly
Logitech, it's no surprise, also has a number of trackball models in the mid-range, which are certainly the best on the market today.
Moreover, the MX Ergo which we will talk about in this part of the selection, is my personal choice for a number of reasons, but which does not include the price, unfortunately.
The Logitech MX Ergo is a very space-saving wireless trackball, with measurements of
13.2 x 10 x 5.1 cm which is also the lightest of all our selection, with only 163 grams, not to mention a maneuverability and transport capacity that I particularly appreciate.
At the level of the guarantee, no surprise, since this is the time guaranteed by the European standards, that is to say 2 years manufacturer warranty which include here the full support of the product (without more precision from Logitech).
The arrangement of buttons is excellent, since the design is that of a traditional mouse, with here 8 customizable buttons and easy to access.
We appreciate the fair value, by the way, the wheel by default that works exactly as a normal mouse and that offers here in addition a horizontal scrolling through a left-right tilt of it.
Also note the possibility of change between speed and accuracy (380 dpi by default) with a single button.
In terms of comfort, the trackball does not offer a wrist rest, but is quite wide and well designed in its shape to ensure optimal support of the hand and wrist. It also offers a pivot on its base up to 20 degrees to ensure even higher comfort.
The ball of this model is located at the position where the thumb is on a traditional mouse, this is another reason to love this trackball, since someone accustomed to the use of a mouse n ' is not out of place and quickly gets used to its use.
From the connectivity point of view, we have the choice of "Unifying" wireless with the same USB receiver as on the M570, allowing to connect 6 devices of the brand on the same connector.
And if this choice is not suitable, the trackball is also connectable in Bluetooth.
Everything is rechargeable via micro-USB with a battery life of 4 months for a charge, which is about 1 minute charge for a full day of use.
The MX Ergo is compatible PC and Mac, if we still look for an excuse not to acquire it.
There is no major negative point on this Logitech product.
It can nevertheless be specified that a regular cleaning of the ball is necessary for a good long-term operation.
The only big complaint I personally make to the Logitech MX Ergo is its price of nearly 80 euros. To be honest, even the most precise and comfortable mice for the most demanding people in the same brand do not reach this price (if we exclude the G Pro).
It's really a shame to demand such a price for a mid-range trackball, even if it really has everything for her and I highly recommend it, if your wallet can recover.
Elecom M-XT3DRBK: small name, great quality
Affordable price for the range
One-touch sensitivity adjustment
Product guaranteed only 1 month by the manufacturer in Japan
I guess the Elecom brand is certainly not known to you, since the product described here is a Japanese import of good quality.
If you do not want to put 80 euros in a trackball, the Elecom M-XT3DRBK is a great alternative to the Logitech MX Ergo, sold for about 36 euros. As can be seen from the other devices proposed in this article, these products are generally rather compact and lightweight.
The Elecom does not deviate from the rule with dimensions of 12.4 x 9.5 x 4.8 centimeters for about 200 grams, very close to this level of the MX Ergo selected as my personal choice, which is a very good thing.
There are 6 customizable buttons and a sensitivity adjustment button that can easily switch from a resolution of 750 to 1500, which places it once again in specificities very close to its main competitor.
The M-XT3DRBK also has a scroll wheel located in the middle and simple to reach the index.
The ball (gray precision regular reading) is here also at the thumb on the left side, like a traditional mouse that requires little adaptation time.
From the point of view connectivity, it is in this case fortunately a wireless product with USB receiver that responds up to about ten meters.
Nothing very developed therefore, but largely sufficient for easy use and transport, if necessary.
The regular cleaning, necessary, is quite simple to perform thanks to an access to the trackball below the machine.
What I deplore on the other hand, and what you must absolutely be aware of, is that we are dealing with an import product.
So, even if the products on the European market must offer a minimum of 2 years manufacturer warranty, some buyers have the unpleasant surprise, when they want to replace one of these trackball which is defective (which happens sometimes, we know), to hear from customer service that this product is only guaranteed for one month.
This is a serious problem for me, but it is obviously the case only if you have the misfortune to come across a non-functional or broken product.
I recommend buying the equivalent Logitech if you can afford it, but otherwise, for the price, this is an alternative choice quite correct … and less than half the price of MX Ergo proposed by the American brand.
The best high-end trackballs
If you want one of the best-ranked and higher-end trackballs, you have to highlight a Kensington product, which offers the best in the range.
Kensington Expert: the best upscale
Detachable wrist rest
Adjustment of sensitivity by external program
No single horizontal scrolling
Less transportable than other models
It is indeed Kensington, already present in this selection, which holds our attention in this high-end, with an excellent practical and ergonomic trackball, for a price that goes hand in hand with the range.
I present to you the Kensington Expert Wireless Mouse.
Let's first look at the dimensions for this wide model (since there is a smaller "average" model) that measures 15.3 x 12.5 x 7 centimeters for more than 600 grams.
It is certainly a device a little more bulky and heavy than some others present in the selection, but it has a major advantage: a flexible wrist rest and detachable.
This is the case of several models of this brand and it is a good thing, since people who choose the trackball as an alternative to the mouse often do so because of pain or problems caused by the use of a mouse traditional.
Add to that the fact that the design of the Kensington Expert Mouse is designed for ambidextrous use and is therefore suitable for everyone without exception.
And if the Expert Mouse is comfortable and designed for everyone, it also has 4 buttons very well arranged around the red ball, which are fully programmable and customizable to your needs.
It also displays a directional dial around the same ball, which can scroll vertically (but not horizontally except pressing the keyboard shift at the same time, it's a shame) with simplicity, although personally, I prefer a dial comparable to traditional mice.
Unfortunately, the lack of adjustment of the sensitivity of scrolling directly on the device, but present in an external software.
The entire system is wireless-based, thanks to a small USB receiver in this case, which connects up to 10 meters. You also have the choice of a wired system of 1.80 meters, for a reduced price, if you prefer that, but the wireless is certainly much more convenient. It can also connect Bluetooth and it is much appreciated.
The autonomy provided with the batteries (included here in the delivery) is several months, but is of course dependent on the use of the product.
It should also be noted, the Kensington Expert Mouse is not only compatible with Windows 7, 8.1 and 10, but also with MacOS 10.8 and above.
All these specificities are excellent and make the Expert Mouse the ideal high-end trackball, sold for more than 107 euros, which can quite clearly put off some of us.
However, I think that the quality, the size, the ergonomics and the connectivity of this product justify this price a little high, even if the choice proposed in mid-range is comparable for 20 euros less.
It's up to you to see if it's worth it.
The products of my selection on offer at the moment
A traditional mouse is usually dispensed with for several reasons, including the fact that these may cause muscle pain or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Another reason in addition to the ergonomics may also be the lack of space for the movement of the arm, necessary for the use of a mouse.
If you have already made this choice, whatever your reason, we must still weigh in the balance the different criteria for selecting a trackball over another.
In this buying guide, we will try to present the essential criteria to take into account during your acquisition, to find the trackball that suits you perfectly.
First criterion to take into account, since this kind of device requires little movement of the hand and none at the arm.
So you can expect a trackball a certain comfort of use.
There are many choices at this level, but you generally have a choice between models that offer a wrist rest or a sufficiently large and well-designed surface to fit the entire hand (especially at Logitech).
Personally, I only use a wrist rest for my keyboard, but I must admit that since I acquired, I can spend much more time on my computer without experiencing any discomfort.
It's simple, I'm unable to do without it now that I own it!
Therefore, Kensington is certainly a wise choice, because most of their models, whether in the entry or in the high-end, offer these wrist rests that are very comfortable but more detachable, if you do not. do not have any use.
If you do not want this option, for example, Logitech offers Trackball systems wide enough to rest the entire hand on his device, as is the case of the M570.
This is usually enough to prevent muscle pain over a long period of use.
Another alternative, still by Logitech including its MX Ergo, is the ability to rotate the device on its base, up to 20 degrees in this case.
It's perfect to put your hand in a comfortable position, whatever the situation.
These are the options usually proposed by manufacturers and I do not recommend one in particular, although I must admit that the wrist rest is rather tempting and that I prefer the ergonomics of a Logitech.
The position of the ball
This is a very direct criterion that is to be compared with the previous one, which is comfort and even ergonomics.
Some trackball systems have the ball positioned directly in the middle of the buttons, this is the case of most models at Kensington and traditionally found by default on the market.
It is functional, of course, but it can in some cases limit the easy access to the buttons around the ball and prevent the use of a scroll wheel, much more convenient than a dial positioned on the periphery of the ball. this.
At Logitech, the ball is usually positioned where the thumb of the user is. For me, it's much more practical.
We can easily imagine that it may take some time to adapt to those who are used to the "classic" models, who may prefer to stay on a ball placed in the center of the buttons, but for regulars of traditional mice, this takes just a few hours and the change of scenery is only partial.
In short, although I tend to recommend a positioning on the go, the other possibility can be just as good, according to the desires.
Nothing's easier. The more there is, the better.
From 4 to 8 buttons, it is ideal, since these are generally adjustable thanks to an external software more or less easily usable.
In any case, we do not go too far stating that we must acquire a model that contains at least the same number of buttons as a traditional mouse and that has at least two more to go forward or back in its navigation (change of pages for example).
And if you have decided to buy a trackball with a wheel, a click on it, it's bonus, simply.
The possibilities are there too numerous.
The wired model
The first choice is a classic wired model, usually found on entry-level models.
If so, do not expect easy transportation, or of course in most cases the advantage of using your trackball from your couch or any place away from your desk.
The wireless model
The second choice is wireless, which generally runs on a 2.4 GHz frequency, all that is standard today.
There are generally ten meters of operability and little or no interference with other devices.
The Unifying model (Logitech)
In the case of Logitech, one can even count on the "Unifying" system, which allows with the same USB receiver to operate up to 6 wireless devices of the brand. Convenient if you have a wireless keyboard or headphones brand, since you do not encumber other USB ports for all these devices.
The last possibility is of course Bluetooth, which is one of the most common methods currently, since it is very simple to operate.
But at the moment, a number of models even offer and traditional wireless and Bluetooth, for increased compatibility, which is very significant.
In any case, it must be ensured that the battery used suits you, be it rechargeable batteries or a micro-USB cable (and therefore a long battery life) which generally offers a better battery life.
Logitech has the best potential on this point, in my opinion.
Europe is still a good thing, since it forces all its manufacturers to offer a default warranty of 2 years.
This is important, as the problems encountered by these products are often at the level of the follow-up of reading and the click buttons which tend to appear in the first year of the product, if not sometimes in the first months.
We have seen in this selection, some manufacturers present 3 years and even 5 years on some of their models.
Unfortunately, we have also noticed that some imported devices, such as the Elecom also featured in our selection, offer only one month warranty, which I find hateful and very bad sign from a serious manufacturer .
Nevertheless, we know when we buy the product, especially when of course a mid-range model costs as little as 20 or 30 euros.
It is in any case a criterion to watch closely, to avoid bad surprises in case of problems encountered in the first two years of use