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Kensington Trackball With Scroll Ring Review

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Kensington Trackball With Scroll Ring Review

Image courtesy of Kensington

Computer users tend to fall into two camps: mice users and trackball users.* With laptop prices dropping and becoming more present in homes, it wouldn't surprise me if trackball users were becoming fewer and far between mainly because of their large size and general lack of portability. However, trackballs still serve a purpose for many, and the die-hards who I know swear by them.

Unfortunately for these die-hards, new trackballs don't come around all that often, so it was worth taking a look at Kensington's Orbit Trackball with Scroll ring.

*There are also the touchpad users, but that's a whole separate topic.

At a Glance

The Good: Comfortable, affordable

The Bad: Not wireless, "optional" wrist rest not really optional

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

The Orbit Trackball with Scroll Ring from Kensington looks like many trackballs -- in that it could be something straight out of “Star Trek.” Although it’s larger than most mice, it’s still on the smaller size when it comes to trackballs. It’s packaged with an optional wrist rest that I found to be necessary for comfort, but this may be because I’m traditionally a mouse user.

Despite its large footprint (which is extended even more so with the wrist rest), it’s helpful to know that you don’t need a large mousing area. This is a plus if you have a smaller slide-out keyboard tray on your desk -- once you make space for it, there’s no need to move it.

The actual trackball is a glossy, attractive blue sphere located directly in the upper center of device. The scroll wheel surrounds it, and large left- and right-click buttons flank the scroll wheel. I found that my left thumb naturally gravitated toward the left-click button, while my pointer and middle finger operated the actual trackball. This left my ring finger to alternate between using the scroll wheel and the right-click button.

Scrolling, Scrolling, Scrolling

The ball rolls and tracks smoothly and accurately, and the rubberized scroll wheel spins easily. I would have liked an option to feel friction in the wheel when scrolling up or down; I find it helps me scroll more accurately if I’m not limited to the “free-for-all” spinning.

For someone who frequently experiences shooting pains in my wrist from lengthy periods of mousing, I found the Orbit with Scroll Wheel to be extremely comfortable. Yes, it took some getting used to, but the wrist rest (also rubberized) fit neatly where it was supposed to, and I imagine experienced trackball users would take to it quickly.

Cut the Cord

Frankly, I always dislike using mice and keyboards that aren't wireless, and the Orbit with Scroll Wheel was no different. Although you don't run the risk of getting tangled up with the cord as you might with corded mice, I'm still loathe to give up a valuable USB port.

Bottom Line

The Orbit with Scroll Wheel is one of Kensington's most affordable trackballs. However, you do give up certain things, such as the media control features found in the company's Slimblade trackball. But with the features you do get -- the scroll wheel and the tracking comfort -- it's not a bad deal.

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