Trackball vs. Mouse: What Are The Differences & Which is Better?
Although mice reign in the modern era, many people have resorted to trackballs for multiple reasons, some of them being efficiency and safety. While both options offer different benefits, users who are looking forward to having good ergonomics in their work environment may have trouble deciding between both choices.
Hence, if you’re wondering which of these office desk accessories is the best option for you, we got you covered. For today’s article, we’ll analyze the similarities and differences between a trackball vs. a regular mouse so you can decide for yourself which is the best option for you. Let's explore more about ergonomic trackball vs. mouse!
Trackball or Mouse – What Are They Capable of?
Before we start diving into the unique characteristics that make a trackball mouse vs. a regular mouse better or worse than the other, it’s important to understand how each of them works individually.
- A mouse is a small device or peripheral that you can drag across a flat area so you can move your computer's cursor. It typically has three buttons, left-clicks, right-click, and the scroll wheel/middle click. Some newer types of mouse include several other buttons.
- A trackball is a small device that, instead of relying on your hand for the cursor's movement, relies on your fingers. This way, your wrist doesn't have to move, and you can prevent wrist pain from the mouse. Similar to mice, you can find different types of trackballs as well.
As you can see, both options - trackball vs. mouse - have the same purpose but are intended to be used in different ways. Let’s see how they differ from each other.
Key Differences Between a Trackball Mouse vs. a Regular Mouse
Both of these devices are meant to be used by the same type of user. However, they can be advantageous for some people depending on certain circumstances. If you want to find out how to choose one over the other, take a look at the below list:
- While a regular mouse has a sensor that requires the user to move the device across the surface, a trackball mouse “moves” the surface over the sensor.
- A mouse requires the user to move their arm and wrist. On the other hand, a trackball mouse only requires thumb (or finger) motion.
- A mouse requires plenty of space to move fluently. A trackball stays in the same place at all times.
- While mice differ in weight when it comes to comfort, a trackball depends on the size of the ball for the same purpose.
If we’re talking about an office setting, a trackball can be a better option due to the huge ergonomic improvement they provide. However, if the discussion is about gaming accessories, maybe you should be looking for the best wireless gaming mouse.
Pros and Cons of a Trackball Mouse
Most people prefer to use a regular mouse due to how familiar they are. On the other hand, some people have made the change to a trackball mouse, and they are pretty satisfied with the results they have gotten until now. Here’s what you can expect from the latter option:
- If you already struggle with repetitive strain injuries, especially if those are caused by a mouse, perhaps making the change to a trackball mouse can be a better option since you’ll keep your arm and wrist in a neutral posture.
- A trackball can be better for people with little space available or if you're working in public places constantly. For instance, let's say that you love working at the local café. Then, a trackball can help you take care of your tasks without necessarily needing too much space.
- Do your hands get exhausted too easily? Then, a trackball mouse can be for you. Since they have a neutral design, you can easily change from one hand to the other to avoid feeling stressed.
- Trackballs are not very expensive and can actually contribute very positively to your workstation. If you’ve already been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome or a similar condition, maybe making the change isn’t too crazy.
- Trackball mouses are not as precise as traditional mouses. Of course, this issue can be considered something skill-related. However, some people argue that it is almost impossible to reach the same level of accuracy you would have with a regular mouse.
- If you enjoy gaming, maybe a trackball mouse is not for you. Trackball mouses are really slow. Hence, if you enjoy fast-paced games, it can be quite troubling since it can make you slower than you should be during a match on an FPS game, for instance.
Should You Choose a Mouse Instead?
Regular mice are quite common. Most, if not all of us, are familiar with them, which makes them easy to use and convenient, so talking about their benefits is unnecessary. However, since a mouse requires you to perform repetitive movements back and forth, it's easy for people to develop repetitive strain injury problems, which can ultimately result in conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.
That doesn't mean that using the mouse is inherently bad. It can be dangerous if you don't take enough precautions and don't have an appropriately-ergonomic environment.
Which is the Best Option?
Finally, choosing between a trackball or a mouse is up to you. If you're willing to sacrifice control and precision over efficiency and safety, perhaps a trackball could be better for you. On the other hand, If you prefer having more control over the pointer or have to perform tasks that require better precision, then a mouse is better for you.
Still, the combination of computer keyboard and mouse is still going strong. So, if you don’t like the idea of getting used to a brand-new device to be able to complete certain tasks, maybe you should stay with the mouse you already own.
It’s quite recommendable to take into account the pros and cons before making a decision. After all, choosing a trackball means that you’ll have to perform certain tasks differently, and it will take you some time to get used to it.
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