Trackballs have been with us since the early 90s as our primary pointing device of choice. Since then, the mouse has taken oven. First, there was the trackball, then the mouse, and now, as more people focus on portability, things are moving towards trackpads. While the mouse continues to dominate the pointing device market, the trackball is quietly carving out a niche market and gaining a loyal following. I was having some problems with my Logitech Performance MX. The thumb button was stuck and the left click switch was acting up. This made tasks like drag-and-drop and double-clicking a pain. I decide to purchase a new mouse. I was comfortable with the Performance MX and wanted another high-end mouse but the only ones I could find were more oriented towards gaming. I saw the Logitech Wireless Trackball M570 on display and it felt really comfortable. I was confused at first. I thought the ball was another feature of the mouse. After doing some research, I discovered this mouse was really a trackball. You control the pointer with the ball and the device itself remains stationary. After looking up some more reviews on this model, I decided to fork over the $50 and try it out. Heres my take.
When I first unboxed this trackball, I was immediately reminded of its ergonomics. This trackball kept my hand at almost the same angle and my Performance MX. At first, I noticed that the trackball was a bit stiff. I had read that there is a way to correct this. First, pop the ball out from underneath with your pinky finger or a pen. Make sure you use the blunt side and not the pens tip. After you get the ball off, get a small knife or razor bade and strop the outer edge of the trackball case. If the ball was left in, it is where the ball meets the plastic. There seems to be a thin piece of plastic that is left over from the plastic molding process. Blow out all the black plastic shavings and re-insert the ball. If you did it right, you will notice that it is now easier to remove the ball. You will also notice that the ball moves much more smoothly without the stiffness. Be sure to not scrape off too much. You want to get the ball moving smoothly. If you scrape off too much, the ball can beВ popped off without any effort.
I was already aware of this before I purchased the Trackball M570 but if I had to live with that grinding feeling upon purchase, it would have definitely made this device feel cheap. After I got that out of the way, I plugged the unifying receiver in and test drove it. The unifying receiver is a small USB device that allows you to use this Trackball wirelessly. It is small enough to leave in your laptop if you decide to pack up and go. If you wish to take if off, there is a little slot in the battery compartment where you can store it. First impressions were exciting. I am not used to a trackball at all. The last time I remember using a trackball was in middle school. Although I was not used to it, the challenge was fun. It was awkward. Sometimes, I would move the trackball like a mouse. I had to consciously remind myself that the ball moved the pointer. I kept telling myself, This is not a mouse. This is a trackball!
Getting Use To The Trackball
The first day I got this trackball, I had to turn the sensitivity down to get use to the movements. It got more comfortable after about a day. It started to grow on me. At first, I would keep my thumb on the ball all the time. This made me accidentally moving items when I pressed left-click. I got by this by lifting my thumb off the ball before I clicked. At the end of the day, I stopped doing this. I got use to flicking the ball and stopping where I needed it. I got more comfortable with the ball and using it became more natural. I was still used to the Performance MX and its back and forward buttons. They are located where the ball is on the Trackball M570. I still had a bit of trouble getting use to their new location near the left-click. Using the trackball with my thumb felt a bit strange at first. I kept adjustingВ the trackballs position to find the perfect X and Y axis. After a few hours, I said, Forget it. After paying attention to where the pointer moves in relation to the trackball, there was no further need for me to adjust the trackballs place. I now focus on keeping it at a comfortable position and not aligning it right.
The ergonomics of this mouse is very good. It is nicely angled like the Performance MX and this puts the hand in a very natural position. I didnt think the Performance MX was anything special until I tried a cheaper, flat mouse. It cramped my hands in 15 minutes! The higher-end Logitech Mice and this Wireless Trackball M570 holds true to this ergonomic position. The left and right-click buttons are excellent. I would prefer Logitech put the back and forward buttons a bit higher. I am a palm gripper so this would be more beneficial for me. If you are a claw gripper, you will have no problems with these buttons. The Trackball M570 has 2 finger grooves at the right-side. These grooves are designed to be ergonomic and act as a ring and pinky finger rest. While it is good in practice, I find them a bit uncomfortable. After looking at it closely, I realized that this mouse may be too small. As is, this trackball would be better fit for someone with smaller hands. When I rest my hand on the trackball in a comfortable position, my ring finger sits right between the two sculpted choils. My pinky actually rests on the mousepad. Although this trackball isВ better suitedВ for smaller hands, it doesnt bother me too much since the trackball stays put and I just lay my hand on it. Overall, ergonomics is very good but not perfect. At least not for me.
I have to take marks off on the scroll wheel. It is a standard scroll wheel. It isnt bad, but for $50, I wished Logitech added their Hyper-Scroll wheels found on higher input devices like the Performance MX and M500. A Hyper-Scroll wheel wouldve been a perfect ergonomic compliment to the smooth ball action. Not only is the scroll wheel generic, but it doesnt allow you to tilt left and right. Granted newer widescreen monitors limited this features use, nearly all $50+ mice have tilt. Why isnt it on this one? This leads me to believe maybe Logitech is cutting corners. This scroll wheel feels rubbery. The steps of each click feels soft. I is definitely quieter than standard scroll wheel but it doesnt feel as good. I was really spoiled with the Hyper-Scroll wheel. It allowed me to fly through long documents with a single flick. If you didnt want that, you can disable it with a mechanical button and have the standard click scroll wheel. When I first tried the Hyper-Scroll of other Logitech mice, ItВ surprisedВ meВ how good the steps felt. It was very firm and audible. The scroll wheel on the M570 almost feels loose. It is adequate, just not what Id expect from a $50+ trackball.
Some people think style isnt important in an ergonomic device. I have to disagree. Theres no reason we cant have both function and form. Fortunately for us, the Wireless Trackball M570 is a very handsome device. At first glance, it looks like a mouse with a ball on the side. Compared to gaming mice with 8+ buttons, this trackball looks rather tame. I like the blue color of the ball. Blue is a color that looks good on nearly any desk. It would be nice if Logitech made additional colors available. I would love to be able to customize my trackballs color. The dark plastic does a good job in making this device feel less cheap or rather more expensive. Overall, the Trackball M570 is probably the sexiest looking trackball Ive seen. The others either look like one-eyed insects(Trackman Marble) or handicapped devices(no offense).
The Logitech Wireless Trackball M570 is an excellent alternative to standard mice. The accuracy of this trackball is very good as well as its ergonomic. The trackball is very smooth and fluid. I can see this device being used by many designers and engineers. I would like to see this trackball be slightly larger but the main thing I hate about this device is its scroll wheel. Like I said earlier, for the price, I would expect a better scroll wheel. One positive about the scroll wheel is that it stays put when you middle click.
Logitech claims this trackball has an 18-month battery life. Ive increased the polling rate to 1,000 MHz which is a 1 ms response time. This has made the trackball more responsive at the cost of battery life. This is not a big deal for me. After the included Duracell battery die, Ill swap it with a rechargeable NiMH.
Would I recommend someone buying this trackball? Thats a tough question. I have made the switch and I am happy but if you have used a standard mouse for years, the initial experience may put you off. For comfort, this trackball has been the best pointing device Ive used. Ive seen some videos of people using a trackball for gaming so I suppose it just takes time getting use to. One last thing I want to mention while using this device is that its just fun to use. Maybe its because Im a relatively green trackball user but I find it fun spinning the ball with my thumb. It is especially easy holding the left-click and moving the ball to highlight many files in a folder. If you want to try something different or you are concerned about repetitive stress injury, you may want to consider the M570. Although I like it, I can imagine some people hating it. Trackballs are so rare, its just one of those things where I dont see many feeling in-between.
Pros: Good ergonomics, accurate, sexy looks, battery life
Cons: Scroll wheel, feels a bit small(personally)
Logitech Wireless Trackball M570
This trackball takes some time getting used to for traditional mouse users but it rewards you with great accuracy and good ergonomics. The only improvement it needs is an updated scrollwheel. Other than that, the trackball is smooth and easy to clean. The battery life is fantastic and will last you 6 months easily. I just wish it was a bit bigger for my hands.