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Trackball vs Regular Mouse: Discover Your Perfect Match

With remote work on the rise, optimizing workstations for comfort and efficiency is more important than ever. And a key piece of that puzzle? Your mouse. The question is, should you stick with the familiar regular shape or get a trackball mouse?

In this guide, we’re diving into the pros and cons of trackball and regular mice to help you make an informed decision.

Without further ado, let’s find that ideal mouse to enhance your workstation and daily workflow.

Key Takeaways

  1. Trackball mice provide better ergonomics and avoid repetitive strain injuries, but have a steeper learning curve compared to normal mice.
  2. Regular mice are more portable and need less maintenance, but can lead to wrist strain with prolonged use and require more desk space.
  3. For gaming, regular mice offer better performance, especially in FPS games.

Shape and Design

Different grip style between Trackball vs Normal Mouse

When you first look at trackball and regular mice, the design differences jump out. Regular mice are familiar friends, with their sleek and streamlined shape. They fit comfortably under your hand, and everything from buttons to the scroll wheel is right where you’d expect. These are the ‘standard sedans’ of the mouse world – designed for everyday use and a common choice for many.

On the flip side, trackball mice have a standout design. They often feature a prominent ball, which you roll with your thumb or fingers. This unique element might catch your eye as unusual, but it’s central to how the mouse operates.

Trackball mice focus on precise, stationary control, contrasting with the smooth gliding movement of regular mice.

Ergonomic Comfort Comparison

Benefits of a Trackball mouse over a regular one

Ergonomics-wise, trackball, and regular mice each have their strengths and weaknesses. Trackball mice are designed to keep your wrist pretty still, which is great for avoiding Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).

You just use your thumb or fingers to roll the ball and control the cursor. This can be a big plus if you’re using a mouse for hours every day. However, it’s worth noting that using a trackball can lead to thumb or finger fatigue, especially if you’re not used to it.

On the other hand, regular mice require more wrist and hand movement, which might not be as comfy over long periods.

So, if we’re talking pure comfort, especially for long-term use, trackball mice often have the upper hand.

Portability Breakdown

In the portability department, regular and trackball mice have different perks. Regular mice are often more travel-friendly. On average, they’re usually smaller and lighter, which makes them easy to toss in your laptop bag and go.

Trackball mice, while not huge, tend to be a bit bulkier due to their design. This might not be a big deal if you’re just moving from room to room, but for those who travel a lot or work in different places, the size and weight could be something to think about.

As a result, if you’re often on the move and space is a premium, a regular mouse might be the more convenient choice.

Learning Curve

Normal mouse's ease of use

The shape of a mouse impacts more than just ergonomics; it also affects the learning curve. Regular mice, with their standard design, are typically easy to get used to. You move the mouse, and the cursor follows – a straightforward and intuitive process for most users.

With trackball mice, the learning curve is a bit different, largely due to their unique shape. Instead of moving the entire mouse, you’re rolling a ball with your thumb or fingers to control the cursor. This can be an adjustment if you’re used to traditional mouse movements. It’s a different style of navigation that requires some getting used to.

So, while the regular mouse is instantly familiar, the trackball mouse presents a new way of interaction, which may take some time to become comfortable with.

Desk Space? Think Again

Regular mouse's desk requirement

In the space requirement face-off between trackball and regular mice, their needs differ significantly.

Regular mice require a certain amount of room to move. They need to be physically moved across the surface of a desk or mousepad, which demands clear space, making them less suitable for very small or cluttered areas.

Trackball mice, however, are more stationary. The main movement comes from rolling the ball.

This means the mouse itself doesn’t travel across your desk, making it a better fit for limited or cramped spaces. It’s a more compact solution for situations where desk space is constrained, like in small workstations or when you’re working away from a traditional desk setup.

Durability and Maintenance

Normal mouse's maintenance requirement

Trackball and regular mice each have their own maintenance rhythm. Trackballs often require a bit more TLC, as the ball can gather dust and dirt, affecting its smoothness and accuracy.

Regular cleaning is needed to keep things rolling right. It’s not a huge task, but something to consider if you’re not a fan of frequent maintenance.

Regular mice, though, tend to be lower maintenance. With fewer moving parts, they’re less likely to need regular cleaning. Their straightforward design means they often last longer before showing signs of wear and tear.

So, if you’re looking for a mouse that’s more ‘set it and forget it’, a regular mouse might be more up your alley.

Which is Better for Gaming?

When it comes to gaming, the regular mouse often holds the upper hand, especially for high-level competition. This is particularly true in fast-paced genres like first-person shooters (FPS), where quick reflexes and rapid movements are crucial.

The agility and speed provided by regular mice align perfectly with the demands of these games, offering gamers the responsiveness they need for swift actions and split-second decisions.

Trackball mice, while offering precision, generally don’t match the quick maneuverability required in intense gaming scenarios.

Therefore, for gamers looking to compete at higher levels and in action-packed games, a regular mouse is usually the preferred choice.


I hope this article has helped you make an informed decision. If you’ve found this guide useful, I’d love to hear from you!

Feel free to drop a comment below sharing which type of mouse you chose and why.

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Hi, I’m Abdelkader, a gamer and the founder of Gamer Around. I’ve been into gaming for the past 20 years and I love to share my passion and experience with you. Throughout these years, I managed to build a decent amount of knowledge and experience in PC hardware, but I’m always learning and improving.

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