Posted in: Mice

Trackball vs Normal Mouse [The Ultimate Comparison]

Last Updated on November 18, 2022

In this post, we will compare Trackball vs Normal Mouse. What are their differences? And which one is better for everyday use?

There are many different objects to move the cursor on the computer to run programs, click, select files, scroll, and drag files. Starting from the mouse, trackpad, touchpad, trackball, and even today you can touch the monitor screen to move the cursor.

There is one thing that should not be forgotten by us, that there is an object that was created before the trackpad, touchpad, and even the mouse were made. This is a TRACKBALL that was created and used 60 years ago. The trackball in the past had a function like a mouse, but today the trackball is a product made for ergonomic needs other than being a navigator when using a computer.

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Because they have the same function, why is the trackball made to compete with the mouse? What is the difference between a Trackball and a regular mouse? Let’s break it down in this article about their differences.

Table of Contents

2 Main Types of Trackball Mouse

Trackball products consist of two kinds of products. The difference between these two types of products is based on the position of the ball and how it is used. Here are the 2 main types of trackball that exist in the world today:

1. Thumb Trackball

Thumb Trackball

This type of trackball is operated with the thumb, both the left thumb and right thumb. On the market there are thumb trackballs that are sold specifically for left and right hands. The thumb trackball has a tracking ball side mounted to make it easier for the thumb to reach the trackball so that it is placed on the side. In design and dimensions, the thumb trackball is very similar to a regular ergonomic mouse. Thumb trackballs are usually more suitable for playing games. For example, the Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Vertical Wireless Trackball (K75326WW) and the Logitech Ergo M575.

2. Finger Trackball

Finger Trackball

This type of trackball is often referred to as a top mounted trackball because the trackball position is at the end of the center which is very easy to reach by fingers. The finger trackball is used with fingers other than the thumb, and can also be used with either right or left hand. This provides quite good flexibility for the user, if one hand gets tired, it can be replaced with the other hand. In terms of size and dimensions, the finger trackball is larger, with a larger diameter trackball than the thumb trackball. Finger trackball is very suitable for work, casual use, and other productivity. Examples include the EIGIIS 2.4G Ergonomic Trackball Handheld Finger and the Kensington Orbit Trackball Mouse.

8 Types of Mouse Ever Used From Year to Year

Behind the significant development of the mouse from year to year, it turns out that there are several types of mouse that you may not know about. So, here are the types of mice that we will discuss as follows.

1. Mechanical Mouse

One of the characteristics of the Mechanical Mouse is that it has components that are very similar to the ball at the bottom. The ball-like part also turns out to be able to move in all directions. And when the ball is moving, the sensor in the mouse will detect the direction of the ball’s movement and signal it to the monitor with the same movement.

Apart from that, this type of mouse was popular and widely found around the 2008s. Unfortunately, nowadays, this type of mechanical mouse is rarely found on the market. The reason is, a mouse like this has been replaced by a variety of mouse technologies that are of a more modern type and are considered more efficient.

There is one thing about this mouse that its drawbacks are quite clear, namely, you must always use the mouse pad as a mouse pad when operating it. If not, then the ball on the mouse will not be able to move freely, so this makes your pointer unable to point to where you want it to be.

2. Optomechanical Mouse

Basically, the Optomechanical Mouse has the same principle as the mechanical mouse. In addition to having a component similar to a ball, it turns out that this type of mouse also has a ray that represents the coordinate position of the pointer. And the advantage compared to a mechanical mouse is that this type of mouse has a higher accuracy.

3. Optical Mouse

This mouse no longer uses components similar to balls anymore. But the optical mouse uses a laser beam to detect the movement of the mouse. And the technology contained in the optical mouse and makes its performance much more precise than the two previous mouse types.

Amazingly, this mouse can also be used without the need for a mouse pad.

4. Mouse Bus

A mouse like this can be connected to a PC via the bus, and this mouse was used for the first time when the IBM computer was released to the public. It has been said that this mouse can be connected to a PC via a device bus that has been integrated into the ISA add-in card.

5. Serial Mouse

Although it is rare or maybe not circulating at all, this type of mouse was popular at the beginning of its use. This mouse can be connected to a PC only by being connected via a serial port, which is a digital communication medium in which the signal is sent bit by bit.

6. PS/2 Mouse

This mouse was first launched in the 80s, and had a boom in 1987. But now, PS/2 Mouse itself is very rarely found in the market. And usually, this type of mouse uses a 6-pin mini-din connector.

7. USB Mouse

This type of mouse is actually the same as the previous version of the mouse, it’s just that there are slight differences in the port. The reason is, this mouse already uses a USB port to connect the mouse itself to a PC. The mouse with a USB port was first produced in the 90s. And it’s still used today.

8. Wireless Mouse

Almost all technology that uses cables and is related to computers has evolved in the wireless path, including the mouse. That is, everything related to wireless certainly does not require a cable to connect it from one device to another. And the same goes for the wireless mouse, which doesn’t require any cables to transmit movement signals, but only transmits the movement signals via wireless that is received by the receiver device on the chip.

Differences in How to Use Regular Mouse and Trackball

TrackBall is a hardware device that has the same function as a mouse, namely to select commands from a graphical display menu.

The difference between a trackball and a regular mouse is that if you want to move the mouse pointer on the screen you need to shift the mouse, while in trackball it is done by rolling the trackball with your finger in the desired direction.

How TrackBall Works

The working principle of the trackball is almost the same as the mouse. The main difference lies in the configuration. On the mouse the operator must move the entire body of the mouse, while on the trackball the body of the trackball remains stationary, but the operator’s hand moves the ball to indicate the movement of the cursor.

In this way, the trackball is simply placed in a narrow place on a workbench. The direction and speed of the cursor on the screen is determined by the direction and rotation of the ball above the trackball body.

Trackball vs Regular Mouse – Which is More Comfort and Ergonomics?

When it comes to trackball, the things that are most synonymous with this thing are comfort and ergonomics. While the mouse that is circulating in the world today there are mice that do not support ergonomics and there are also mice that are made to help user ergonomics.

From the way of use between the trackball and regular mouse, the trackball is operated using only the thumb or finger and the trackball mouse device is not moved or stationary, so it does not require movement from the wrist. This clearly proves that the trackball was created with ergonomics in mind.

While the regular mouse is moved using the wrist up, down, left, right, and to various angles. Technically, using a mouse is more tiring than using a trackball. Like the purpose of ergonomics is to create comfort and minimize the health risks of users on certain devices.

In terms of comfort and ergonomics, trackball is far more ergonomic than a regular mouse. This is because operation on a trackball does not require movement from the wrist, so muscle movement is minimal which greatly supports better ergonomics.

Advantages of Trackball

1. Accurate

Trackball can improve cursor accuracy when using a computer with minimal movement you can get accurate cursor movement.

2. Can move the cursor quickly

Trackball has a wide and far cursor range, especially on trackballs with finger trackball types, because it has a wider trackball surface.

3. Does not require a large space

Trackball can minimize the use of space on the table, because the operation of this object is only done with your fingers and thumb. You don’t have to move the trackball with your wrist like you would with a regular mouse.

Disadvantages of Trackball

1. Not as good as a regular mouse for use in a variety of needs.

Indeed, for people who are used to using a trackball have increased accuracy and speed in operating the cursor on the computer. The high sensitivity of the trackball makes unwanted movements when accidentally touched, just a touch can give the cursor a very long distance. For tasks or jobs that have certain details, the trackball is not the right choice to use. This is where the ordinary mouse excels from the trackball.

2. Not suitable for use in playing games that require fast movements.

On a linear line, the mouse is moved faster than a trackball and from one point to another on the monitor. Due to the limitations of the trackball spin at a certain distance. Compare with how the mouse moves from one point to another, it is very free and flexible when compared to a trackball. Imagine you are playing CSGO games or other FPS games using a trackball that requires a special grip. You cannot use the palm grip when using a trackball, which is the basic technique of using a regular mouse when playing fps games. So the trackball can only be used in games that do not require fast movements, such as Clash Of Clans for example or MMORPG.

Who is suitable to use Trackball?

Trackball can be used by everyone. But there are some things to consider before you choose to buy a trackball. The trackball was created with ergonomics in mind and for extended use at your desk.

If you have problems with your arms and feel tired faster using a regular mouse, then the trackball is the best choice for you. Without moving your wrist, you can move the cursor like you would a normal mouse. And the trackball has better accuracy than the mouse in certain applications.

Or you don’t have enough space on your desk to move the mouse, of course the trackball is the right device. The use of the trackball only utilizes the touch of your finger or thumb, without moving the trackball itself. The trackball stays in place, the cursor is moved through the trackball’s circular ball.

Which is better between Thumb or Finger Operated Trackball?

Overall for various types of use, finger-operated trackballs are better and more flexible than thumb-operated trackballs. The finger-operated trackball has a very flexible too-mounted trackball position. You can use your right and left hands to operate this type of trackball. The size of the ball is also larger with a range from one point to another that is farther away because of its large surface.

Trackball vs Trackpad – Which is more ergonomic?

How’s the trackball or trackpad on your laptop? which one do you think is more appropriate?

For the ergonomic aspect of course the trackball is much better than the trackpad. Although both are finger-operated, the trackball has better ergonomics because you don’t have to move your wrist. Meanwhile, when you use the trackpad, your arms and fingers move together to move the cursor on your computer/laptop screen.

Which is better trackball or mouse for your pc?

For long duration use, Trackball is the best choice compared to mouse. Using a trackball on your pc to work for a long time is more convenient than a mouse.

But for the freedom of movement of the pointer, of course the mouse is better than the trackball. If you want comfort, choose a trackball, while if you want flexibility in cursor movement, use a mouse.

Which is better trackball or mouse for gaming?

The mouse is certainly better used for playing games compared to Trackball. The mouse can be used more quickly to move from one point to another. While the trackball is quite difficult to use for playing games, because the trackball is not as good as the mouse for moving the cursor from different points with many patterns.

Which is better trackball or mouse for xbox?

For use to play games on Xbox, using a mouse feels more comfortable, fast, and flexible compared to using a Trackball. A trackball cannot move as instantaneously and scalably as a mouse. so for use on Xbox, Mouse is much better than Trackball.

Which is better trackball or mouse for left handers?

The trackball is comfortable to use with the left hand, especially the finger-operated trackball. You can alternately use your left or right hand on the finger trackball.

The mouse is also quite good for left handed use. For left handed users, if you want good ergonomics, choose a finger trackball or a lefthand trackball. But if you want to move the cursor more freely, just use the mouse.

Which is better trackball or mouse for mac?

Most people will prefer to use a mouse over a trackball for use on their Macbook, because the mouse is more compact and easier to carry around.

As for the iMac, trackball and mouse can be used as needed. If you want to work longer with your iMac, use a trackball as it is more ergonomic than a mouse. The space needed by the trackball is also small, because you don’t have to move it like a mouse moving over the surface of a mousepad.

Which is better trackball or mouse for large hands?

For wide hands, Trackball Finger is the most appropriate choice. The trackball finger has a very wide and heavy design that can support a wide hand.

While a mouse with a large size is quite difficult to find, for those of you who have wide hands, just use the Finger Trackball.

Which is better trackball or mouse for small hands?

Mouse is the best choice for those of you who have small hands. The mouse is very easy to provide the right grip because of its small size and can fit a variety of hand sizes.

Trackball is not very suitable for those of you who have small hands, because you will find it difficult to reach the buttons on the thumb trackball or finger trackball. But now there are mini trackball products that can be used for small hands such as the YUMQUA Y-01 Portable Mini Finger Hand Held.

Which is better trackball or mouse for video editing?

For video editing, trackball accuracy is very fitting to use. But most people prefer to use an ergonomic mouse in doing video editing.

Finger trackball is the most frequently used for the video editing process because it can provide more measured and precise movement compared to the mouse.

Which is better trackball or mouse for graphic design?

For drawing or graphic design, of course the mouse has better performance than the Trackball. The trackball does not have the ability to move instantly from one point to another when it is used to draw. While the mouse can easily move the cursor from various points. Mouse is the best choice for graphic design.

Which is better trackball or mouse for excel?

For office work, Trackball is superior to the mouse, especially in the use of Microsoft Excel. Excel does not require fast mouse movements from point to point. Trackball is the best choice to use in Microsoft Excel because it can provide more accurate horizontal and vertical movement compared to mouse.

Which is better trackball or mouse for office?

For office work and casual use, a trackball is better than a mouse for extended use and is definitely more ergonomic. Trackball is preferred because it can provide comfort and is not easy to get sore or tired when using it. For office use, Trackball is more reliable than mouse.

Which is better trackball or mouse for music production?

For music production, Trackball and Mouse are equally good to use. Music production requires accurate cursor movement to select certain points in music editing software.

Most music editors use a trackball instead of a mouse, because a trackball is more accurate than a mouse.

Which is better trackball or mouse for notepad++?

For programmers who use notepad++ more, using Trackball is more comfortable than using a mouse.

Notepadd++ does not require fast cursor movement from point to point. But notepad++ requires more accurate movement that only Trackball can provide.

Which is better trackball or mouse for wrist pain?

The trackball is made for those of you who experience wrist pain and is designed to be more ergonomic and more comfortable to use. Using Trackball can reduce movement in the wrist so that the trackball is very safe for those of you who have problems with wrist pain.

Which is better trackball or mouse for elbow?

Moving your wrist too much while using the mouse can cause sore elbows. Using the trackball, you only need to move your finger or thumb. For the good of the elbow, using the Trackball is the most appropriate choice.

Which is better trackball or mouse for finger?

For finger health and so you can avoid soreness, using a trackball can minimize problems with your fingers. Finger Trackball is the best choice for use with fingers as compared to mouse.

Which is better trackball or mouse for rsi?

People can experience RSI because they use the mouse too much like some people who often play the game Minecraft and drag clicking.

The trackball was created to help people with RSI provide ergonomics and can be used without a lot of arm, wrist and finger pressure movement. For RSI we highly recommend you use Trackball.

Conclusion for Trackball vs Normal Mouse

In the end trackball is not the main choice for you to use in operating a computer. Trackball is made to meet certain needs such as ergonomics and comfort factors to minimize injury.

Meanwhile, if you want the freedom to operate a computer, the mouse is second to none for this. The mouse is also available in an ergonomic shape and design, indeed no more ergonomic than a trackball. But by using an ergonomic mouse you do not have any limitations in using the mouse.

While the trackaball has limitations for use that requires fast movements. The mouse can move quickly in any need.

If you want something more ergonomic than a mouse if you’re a casual computer user like internet browsing, typing, and other casual uses, the trackball is the right choice.

If you want to use the computer accurately and more flexibly without any limitations such as playing games that require fast cursor movement, and accuracy from one point to another, then the mouse is the best choice.


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