Section 20.1. Mice Versus Trackballs


20.1 Mice Versus Trackballs

As with any input device, personal preference should rule choice. That said, relative to mice, trackballs have the following advantages:

  • A trackball remains in place, and so requires less free desk space than a mouse.

  • The trackball roller ball contacts your thumb rather than the desktop or mouse pad, which means it is less likely to require frequent cleaning. (However, the new "red-light" optical mice do not require cleaning and so eliminate this advantage.)

  • A trackball is often the better choice for 3D gaming and similar programs, where pointing and clicking are the most important functions.

  • Some evidence suggests that using a trackball is less likely to cause RSI than using a mouse.

And the following disadvantages:

  • Most trackballs are designed such that you guide the pointer with your thumb, which is the least dexterous digit. Accordingly, many users find it harder to position the cursor exactly with a trackball than with a mouse.

  • Most people find a trackball clumsier than a mouse for operations that depend heavily on click-and-drag, such as creating and editing documents.

  • Some evidence suggests that using a trackball is more likely to cause RSI than using a mouse. (Yes, we know...)

Mice and trackballs are inexpensive enough that you should try both if you spend much time at a computer. If you have never used a trackball, doing so requires some adjustment. Many people find Microsoft trackballs which look like a mouse with the roller ball coming out the top or the side, depending on model to be the easiest trackballs to adjust to.


    PC Hardware in a Nutshell
    PC Hardware in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition
    ISBN: 059600513X
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2002
    Pages: 246

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