Alright, so i was recently at a friends house and happened to notice a trackball mouse laying in the corner of his room. Having never used one before I decided to plug it in and test it out playing some dawn of war. To my surprise I started liking it better than my current mouse (GIGABYTE GM-M6800). I decided to switch over to some FPS to see if it still held up, and again to my surprise I was playing better in both CSS and UT3. I asked if I could have it and after a few days I have not used anything but this trackball.
I looked it up and found out I was using the Logitech Trackman Marble FX, an apparently very highly valued mouse. The outrageous pricing of this trackball only raised my interest higher.
I went on newegg to find more trackballs and found out that both the 2nd and 4th highest rated mice on there are both trackballs. How could I miss this? Have trackballs always been popular?
Anyways the point of this was just because I wanted to find out what some other peoples opinions of trackballs are. Are they generally considered better or worse than regular mice for general use? How about gaming? Is there a "Best trackball" for gaming? Let me know, I'd love to hear some other opinions.
in the end it all boils down to two factors: personal preference and ergonomics.
some people prefer one or the other because one feels more natural to them. think of this as people who love using the trackpads on laptops while the rest of us resort to buying travel mice because we hate them. personally i dont care for the style of movement a trackball offers so i use standard large sized mice.
another factor that comes into play is ergonomics. some people buy trackballs because they have medical problems such as carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, arthritis or some other issue. others use the mouse to try and circumvent these issues. think of it like using an ergonomic keyboard instead of the standard style. since i use a keyboard and mouse every day i am destined to have some issues but i still refuse to use the mouse. i constantly stretch and do the other preventative measures as i am just not comfortable with the style of input.
they are no better and no worse than regular mice. personally i dont care for them but they do have a cult following. part of the reason why they are so highly sought after and valued is because of the relative rarity of such items. the only current production models i know of are high end models for 3d software.
Interesting, I never really thought about the ergonomics. I honestly don't notice this mouse being much better than my old one as far as comfort goes, that's probably just me though.
As for scarcity, I know many of the old models are hard to find as evidence of the price of the one I'm using, but both the Logitech M570 and T-BB18 are both very easy to find and are both about $50. I wouldn't consider that price to high end for a gaming mouse, but then again I don't really know if these are really used for gaming.
trackballs do not requrie arm and wrist movement like standard mice which makes them easier to use for people with issues like i named above. they also come in large top wheel and thumb wheel designs. the average user who has no problem using normal mice will most likely not notice any difference (as they didnt have any problems to begin with).
i'm no expert by far but from what i've heard the old models are superior to the new ones so are much higher in demand than new products. this would explain the prices you see. $50 is an average price for a gaming mouse so no, its not terribly expensive. i've heard about them being used for gaming before but very rarely. the amount of people who use trackballs for gaming are a minority. which doesnt make it a bad thing... to each their own!