Kensington Expert Mouse

by David Gluzman

It seems that everyone I know is jumping on the ergonomics bandwagon. I guess since the working population finds themselves sitting at a computer for the better part of the week one can get a bit sore or even injured from what I like to call ?to-much-computer-syndrome?.

I for one have been using computers for too long, and use them every single day upwards of 10 hours at a time. I have incredibly picky taste, and have tried numerous different types of input devices. I currently use a ?Microsoft Nature Pro? keyboard and as of late a ?Kensington Trackball?.

If you have no idea what a trackball is then I may suggest you read a review of a similar product that we showcased a few months ago (Logitech Trackball Review) to get upto speed.

The first thing you?ll notice about the Kensington Trackball is the fact that it looks like the main controller for the clich?d super evil villan out of a movie. When you put your hand over the thing you can just imagine pushing a button and engaging a secret trap door to dispose of your incompetent lackey while sitting in your command centre. Or if that is too far fetched you can imagine you are playing a round of arcade golf (you know with the massive trackball device that you wale on?). Weeee!

The Trackball is quite large and is surrounded by a scroll ring along with 4 large buttons. It also has a very comfortable wrist cradle that attaches discreetly to the device while providing excellent support. The devices plugs into a USB or PS2 port and works across both PC and Mac computers.

Installation was a breeze; simply pop in the included batteries, plug the device into the computer and install the drivers and off you go. Along with the drivers, aptly called Mouseworks, you can configure the four buttons to do you bidding. I have mine setup so that my main clicker is pressed with my thumb (great way to fix ?clicker-finger? stress), while the others are right click and forward / back (for browsing the web). Once you get your hand on this thing mind you it?s a whole new bag of tricks.

I?ll be the first to admit that using a trackball is freaking awkward as hell. No lie, it took me at least 3 weeks to feel comfortable using the trackball to same extent as retired mouse. Since the ball itself is so large, I found myself constantly changing the way I was using the thing, either using a combination of fingers, going commando, or even using my thumb. The ball itself is very smooth and is tracked by an optical device (DiamondEye so they named it) thus you can push the thing around with minimal effort. You can control how quickly the ball moves your cursor within the software allowing extremely precise response and control.

When was the last time you had fun with your mouse?

Moving onto my favorite part about this trackball? The Scroll Ring! The Scroll Ring surrounds the trackball and rotates bi-directionally controlling your page view just as like a scroll wheel found on a mouse. But this thing is way more fun to zip around than a scroll wheel! Not only can you accelerate the ring really fast, you can do it it with a variety of fingers (which is proving quite therapeutic). Did I mention it?s a fun to whirl the ring around?

As much as I really do like this product it does have some flaws. For starters I had to have my original product replaced after a week or so of use since it was locking up every few seconds. Mind you I didn?t have any problems getting it replaced under warranty. Also I did find that the included batteries only lasted about a month and a half, granted I use it daily, it would have been nice to see some sort of dock that would charge the device and avoid this problem all together. Although if you don?t care about cables on your desk, just spring for the wired version (link).

Overall I think this is an excellent product that I could easily recommend. Regardless if you are looking to relieve some wrist pain or just wants to look like a space ship pilot at your desk. Even though the adjustment period is long (at least it was for me), I?ve found that my wrists are feeling better, and I can easily switch hands (with less awkwardness than doing the same with a mouse). A well built and fun to use device.

  • Kensington Expert Mouse
  • by David Gluzman
  • Published on May 1st, 2005

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