Logitech Marble Mouse

Best, cheap trackball

While I’ve always spent a lot of time computing, the precise, all-day cursor movements of professional writing and designing (a recent switch) got me vexed with my previous mouse’s lack of control and an aching wrist. After borrowing a friend’s $70 trackball and enjoying the fingertip control and comfort, I set out to get tracking at the lowest possible cost and highest possible comfort. I settled on the Logitech Marble Mouse.

Shaped like a low, oval hill, this $20* mouse is a nice inverse of the natural curve of a hand. The trackball sits naturally under the index and middle fingers and moves very smoothly. The sizable left and right buttons are situated directly under your thumb and ring finger, while the two smaller buttons above them can be designated for a variety of functions like scrolling and zoom. The symmetry also makes it ambidextrous, which is great for any left/right-handed families that share a home computer.

I did try a few thumb-operated trackballs, but a slight weirdness in my right thumb joint causes some discomfort when I move it a lot. Every time I put my hand on the Marble Mouse, I’m able to keep it totally relaxed. The mouse is large enough for comfort, but still relatively small enough to take on the road. The build quality is solid, and it’s easy to clean. Best of all, my wrist no longer smarts after a long day’s editing.

Bonus: the heavy, low-friction ball makes a nice desk toy when you need a break.

-- George Cochrane 03/11/09

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