Orbit Wireless Mobile Trackball

Orbit Wireless Mobile Trackball
Company: Kensington
Price: $59.99 or lower online
Requires: Mac OSX 10.5.6 or higher

I’ve owned and used a laptop computer since late 2001. In that time I’ve always used the trackpad; I was happy with it. Recently I decided that I needed a little more control than I was getting with the trackpad, so I bought a wireless mouse. I love it, though I primarily use it when editing video. When the opportunity arose for me to review a wireless trackball, I jumped at the chance.

Let’s just say I’m glad I still have the wireless mouse.

The Kensington Orbit Wireless Mobile Trackball has a center trackball, two buttons, and a scroll ring. The buttons are customizable, a time saver if your workflow incorporates repeating keystrokes all day long. The scroll ring is just what it says: lets you scroll up and down a page.

A nano receiver USB dongle is barely noticeable. When not in use it fits securely in the trackball’s battery compartment. No chance of getting lost.

I wish I could say I was happy using this trackball, but that would be a lie. I found the scroll ring to be either too fast or too slow. The speed is adjustable but it didn’t make scrolling any better. Hint: uncheck the Inertial Scrolling box, otherwise you’ll be at the bottom of the page sooner than you’ll like.

On the plus side, the buttons worked quite well. They were easily changed and did exactly what they were programmed to do, whether it was clicking, dragging, refreshing a page, showing Spotlight, or opening a file.

The Orbit Wireless Mobile Trackball is being marketed as “compact.” I find it to be quite large. I have big hands (at least I think so!), and the Orbit Wireless Mobile Trackball felt too big in my hand. It’s almost twice the size of the wireless mouse I use, which feels perfect and comfortable in my hand.

In order to use the Orbit Wireless Mobile Trackball you need to download the
Kensington TrackballWorks Beta Software for Mac. Make sure it’s the Beta software, or you’ll be unable to customize the Trackball. Note that this is not an application but a preference file in System Preferences. I wish that was made clear on Kensington’s web site.

I’m not sure if it’s the size of the Orbit Wireless Mobile Trackball or the fact that I’m still not used to it, but I was constantly clicking on something I didn’t want to click on, or the pointer was moving all around the page. For example, when I was listening to music in iTunes the song kept changing because I was unintentionally clicking on a different song. Control is difficult for someone who hasn’t used a trackball in the past.

• trackball easily pops out for cleaning
• customizable
• reasonably priced
• works left handed or right handed
• low battery indicator
• Five year warranty and free technical support

• large, especially for a mobile device
• difficult to get used to
• not easy to control pointer at first
• very easy to get frustrated

The Orbit Wireless Mobile Trackball would probably be a nice choice for users who have trackball experience. For users like me, plan on spending time getting used to it, or buy a regular mouse.

MyMac.com review rating: 6 out of 10

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