Trackballs for left-handed?
February 8, 2005 5:33 PM   Subscribe

Trackballs for left-handed? [more inside]

Not really interested in the ones with the ball in the middle.

I'm looking for a trackball like this one (thumb-operated), but with the ball in the right side (obviously).

Help anyone?
posted by kchristidis to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Best answer: Not really interested in the ones with the ball in the middle.

Don't be so sure. I've found Kensington's Orbit and TurboMouse (bad name; not actually a mouse) afford better control than any thumb-operated trackball.
posted by jjg at 5:53 PM on February 8, 2005

Best answer: I can see why you're not interested in the trackball offerings if you're using Logitech as a benchmark -- their trackballs are terrible. Definitely try an Orbit or a TurboMouse before you dismiss them, rather than letting Logitech's poor designs put you off trackballs categorically.

I don't think I've ever seen a left handed thumbball; Logitech is the primary purveyor of these abominations and I know they don't offer left handed models of anything.
posted by majick at 6:57 PM on February 8, 2005

Best answer: I've used a Kensington Turbo/Expert mouse for 16 years. There's gotta be something right about them.

They now have one with a scroll ring around the ball. Seriously - check it out.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:11 PM on February 8, 2005

Best answer: I second the scroll ring. It took about 5 minutes (literally) to get used to it, and now anything else feels weird.

I have been using Kensington trackballs for nearly 19 years, since the 1.0 Turbo Mouse (Apple IIgs!). I'm using one now (one of four in my house).

The software has always been VERY programmable, and specifically does let you adjust the direction of the scroll ring.
posted by Caviar at 7:59 PM on February 8, 2005

Caviar: You win, man.

Although I had a TG Products joystick hooked into the paddle port of my Apple ][+! Can you top that?
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:14 PM on February 8, 2005

Response by poster: (Majick: the links to Logitech were simply to give you a visual image of the type of trackballs I'm referring to. I wasn't looking for a Logitech-only solution.)

Now back to our subject:

I'm not saying that middle-ball offerings are bad; it's just that I feel my aching hand will get less tired if I operate the ball using my thumb, rather than the index finger. Is this a wrong assumption? What does your experience say?

Also, in what comes to your Kensington recommendations: in Europe (where I'm located), the easiest mouse to find is Orbit Elite: is this any good? Or should I start looking for the Turbo Ball which has 4 buttons? (In any of these cases, I'm gonna miss scrolling though; Expert Mouse looks nice, but I want to have a first touch with a cheaper trackball first before spending $100.)

Thanks for your help in advance.
posted by kchristidis at 7:17 AM on February 9, 2005

I used trackballs for a long time, and my ultimate trackball was the Logitech TrackMan FX (a fingers-ball, now discontinued). I first tried out one of their thumb-balls and I found that my thumb frequently cramped up. I think the problem was that pointing became solely the responsibility of my thumb. With a fingers-ball, I was free to use from one to four of my fingers, resulting in much less finger stress. So, another recommendation for a fingers ball. As an aside, Logitech actually used to make left-handed mice, but they have never made a left-handed version of any of their aysmmetrical mice. Lucky for me, even though I'm left-handed, due to the right-handed world, I've been using mice with right hand since day one.
posted by zsazsa at 8:33 AM on February 9, 2005

These might be the sort of thing you want. They're not exactly trackballs, but they are left-handed side scrolling mice.

I'm also left handed, but I use a right handed mouse -- its just easier because I live with 3 right handed people.
posted by Amanda B at 9:08 PM on February 9, 2005

Response by poster: Zsazsa, thanks for the thumb-cramping-up tip; keeping that one in mind.

Amanda B, interesting link; I'm having a look as we speak.

Thank you both (and everyone else who commented on this thread) for your help and pointers.

If any other ideas or tips come up, please post here or email me (address on the profile page).
posted by kchristidis at 4:04 PM on February 10, 2005

The thumb cramping, by the way, is precisely the reason I despise those thumbballs with such searing passion. I find them painful to use after an hour or so.

If you're concerned about your hand's endurance, the Kensington Turbo or Expert are the best bet. Resistance is somewhat higher on the Orbit's ball, and while I dearly love the Orbit -- at one point I was buying them weekly to give to friends to try -- I find it uncomfortable to use daily for more than a few months at a stretch. It's a also great pointing device for very young children for whom accuracy with a mouse is difficult.

My ancient Turbo has been in continuous use for 6 or 7 years, and I've been hunting around for PS/2-USBHID or RS232-USBHID converters so I can use it with more modern systems.

If you want something for long term, everyday use, any of the large ball Kensingtons will do nicely, and you may find the Orbit suits your tastes well. I still occasionally break out one of my Orbits to play FPS games.
posted by majick at 7:32 PM on February 10, 2005

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