on October 27, 2009
I've owned this mouse over five years now and swear by it. My kids looked at me funny when I bought it and started using it but at least they've left me alone with it! This many years later I'm amazed at its durability and ease of maintenance. There is none! The 'Trackball' pops right out so you can 'shine' it to remove the inevitable skin oil from your hands, and any other junk that collects on it. The recess that holds the ball has three steel ball bearings that actually hold the ball and they collect various bits and pieces of dead skin and whatnot from time to time, but a fingernail or pencil eraser is all that is needed to restore the ball's movement to 'spaceship' precision. The 'wired' configuration has never bothered me because being an optical it never has to physically 'move' like a regular mouse that must move around. This was my main concern when I bought it because I'd just had shoulder surgery on my Right arm and found it painful to even horse around a regular mouse. And, since it is also a Five-Button there is absolutely no need to ever move the mouse. Why anyone would consider a regular mouse over this one is beyond me. I might add that though this is advertised as a Premium 'Gaming' mouse I've never used it for that purpose because I'm not a gamer, per se.
Would I highly recommend this mouse? A thousand times 'Yes', though it seems a little expensive. I didn't pay nearly this much for mine when I bought it, but that's the 'Market', I guess!
Oh, yes. I also bought a 'Logitech' knock-off some time later to use on another PC but it just wasn't the same. The quality was on a par with this one, but it required the use of one's index finger to 'work' the trackball instead of the Thumb. I couldn't make the transition from Thumb to Index finger so I gave it to my grown son who loves it. I've since learned that Logitech also makes a 'Thumb operated' trackball similar to this one but I've never actually used one; some reviewers seemed to like it. That Logitech item is wireless, however, and there seemed to be some issues with the size of the receiving unit on the computer body.
Both these units seem to be made for 'Right Hand' use only. I haven't seen any reference to Left Hand versions though they could possibly exist. A Left Handed person would have to adjust to these Right Hand units unless I've missed something. These Mice would be extremely difficult to operate with anyone's Left Hand, in my opinion.
Written by Barry Willis, dutiful husband of Ruth S. Willis.
on March 11, 2013
I didn't purchase this product on Amazon; it came with my new Dell WebPC in 1999: 17 years ago. That computer, with a Pentium III CPU, has long since been shelved. The trackball has been passed along from computer to computer until today it is servicing a home-built workstation running an Asus Rampage IV Extreme Black motherboard with a core i7 processor and 64 GB RAM. The point is, the one constant has been the trackball.
The latter machine belonged to my wife and she commandeered the trackball for herself; it's the only mouse she will use. It still tracks as cleanly and rests as comfortably in the hand as the day I started using it. Now I'm working from home and get to use it again. The buttons are still responsive, crisp and springy when clicked. The plastic has worn a bit shiny on the hand rest from such long usage, but other than that it looks new. It does tend to accumulate gunk in the bearings that support the trackball from time to time, but wiping it out every once in a while and polishing the trackball with a t-shirt or on your jeans for a few seconds does the trick.
I can't think of any other electronic devices I own that have been in use for that long, especially not computer equipment; except for the excellent keyboard that came with the WebPC, which still serves as a backup for devices connected to my KVM, like an old Mac Mini. Here's hoping my Nighthawk X8 keyboard and Logitech MX mouse, which I also highly recommend, last as long.
In 1999 I think it cost about $80, pricey for the time, but the same price you pay for a used one today. New ones are going for $330. If you can afford it, buy 2. They'll never make a trackball like it again once they stop production for good.
Looks from other reviews like the price I probably paid in 1999 was more like $30; so %1100 price increase! However, still worth it if it lasts as long as mine has.
Still working great! Wife got her new employer to buy her another one for work.
Still working! The Logitech MX mouses (own two) are starting to break down after about 5 years.
on July 22, 2010
I hesitated at first all those years ago when I first saw this design in a shop.
Still, I bought it for an off-site job who had pitiful mice on their PCs and I had to have something decent.
Ten years later I am still using one ! It's that good, not just for everyday work
but also for gaming (the loss in precision as compared to the best optical mouse is tiny).
Truly an amazing design, incredibly useful (five buttons, I have the third/fourth on copy/paste, it speeds my up my productivity like nothing else can) and comfortable. You will never get RSI wrist injury using this.
Why Microsoft took it out of production is a mystery, but if they had common sense I think we would have noticed by now.
The current price is a reflection of it's very real worth.
The first generation of this item is actually even better quality-wise as it almost never needed to be cleaned. The second one I bought because one of the bearings had popped out during cleaning had lower quality manufacture (always haggling for cheaper components is not a good idea...). Nevertheless an awesome trackball that remains one the best ever made IMO with the other optical trackball Microsoft made with a larger forward inclined ball.
Logitech have made variations on these designs so all is not lost for those with
a tight budget. I do not know if the quality is as good as these however.
Let's hope someone at MS notices the big mistake in stopping production of these
on March 12, 2010
After using a trackball at work, I was inspired to buy one of these well over a decade ago.
The trackball continued reliable and, most importantly, easy to use, through several incarnations of Windows without any compatibility issues (after all, it is a Microsoft product).
The programmable buttons were a cinch to set up for different applications, and I had no problem at all using it for web browsing, office applications, or audio editing. For graphics, though, I would have chosen a tablet with pen... but couldn't justify the expense of the one I wanted (over $500.00).
So I stayed with the trackball.
The only nag I had was that the ball would lose its free rotation and eventually stick. The cause was the build-up of assorted detritus on the small bearings. A stiff toothbrush did the trick, followed by aerosol to clear out the dust. The ball occasionally needed cleaning, but a wipe with a non-stick silicone wipe restored it to perfection.
Over the years I must have put in tens of thousands of hours of use but I never experienced RSI or physio problems from it. Once, I considered buying a standby... left it too late, for Microsoft had taken it off their catalog. Now, I wish I had, for recently it finally gave up the ghost. The fault lay with the cable; it had flexed one time too many and either one of the conductors inside it, or the connection to the circuit board inside the trackball, was shorting intermittently. At the time, I could find no repair or replacement parts worth considering. So now, I'm making do tolerably well.
Would I buy another one? Yes, if the price was right.
Sadly its reputation has forced up the price to ridiculous levels. Likewise all Microsoft Trackballs, apparently.
One of these ** Brand New ** might be worth up to $100 (going on 5 times the original price) at a pinch, but certainly no higher than that. It's not a fine example of folk art or early 20th century American impressionist. Its value is in practicality, not in rarity.
I have no idea why Microsoft took it off the product list ... but the company has not been noted for an abundance of common sense.
There are other trackballs on the market that are good substitutes for this model and probably don't have the same sticky problem.
Logitech has several excellent alternatives and the price is still, umm, right at between $21 and $50. Go for one of those unless you are like Microsoft (more dollars than cents....)
Four stars because of the stickiness. Value for money = 1, because the system does not allow Zero.
on August 2, 2013
I remember when these were $20, not $200. Aside from when dust and crap gets caught in the ball holder, it's very comfortable and easy to use, allowing precise-enough control to play FPSs and RTSs and literally anything. Unfortunately, they're no longer manufactured and they're way too expensive. If I didn't already have one from years ago, I'd consider buying the cheapest used one I could get. It has to be cleaned at least once a week, but by that I just mean picking dust bunnies out with my fingernails. I have a second one of these, but it's broken. Now I'm pretty sad that it's broken, 'cause I'd be sitting on an easy $100 if it wasn't!
The only existing alternative I have seen that is still manufactured, and thus not an insanely high price, is the blue wireless Logitech trackball.
on November 23, 2013
After I don't know how many years, my Microsoft Trackball has finally died. No biggie I thought, I'll just hit up Amazon and buy a new one. Maybe get a wireless model. How naive I was.
I'm shocked this thing is not being made anymore. It was the best mouse replacement device I have every used. I've tried some other Logitech trackballs and this is the one that I always came back to.
I will shout my love from the treetops but I refuse to pay the prices charged on Amazon for these truly wonderful devices. I guess back to Logitech for me.
on September 12, 2013
I have 6 of these. In 2001 I started working at the place I am presently employed. They had this strange trackball mouse (The Microsoft Trackball Optical). I though, my gosh this thing is awful. After a week, I thought I will never have anything else, this thing is just perfect. Luckily I bought the ones I did. I purchased them at Office Max for $30.00 (maybe less but definitely no more). There is absolutely no reason for anyone to be charging this outrageous price. It is disgusting. I think anyone who grew fond of this mouse should figure out a way to start a petition to get Microsoft to start production again.
on July 27, 2014
This mouse is the best one in existence. I stand by that and have two of them that still function after all these years. I would love to curse the idiot at Microsoft who discontinued them a thousand times over. It is impossible for me to use anything else and have it work as well as this mouse does. I only wish I could replicate the components or something and get this back out there, as I'm not the only person who loves it like it was their child.
Both my mice are from the 1997 run from what I can tell. They're actually close to being as old as me. I grew up with one of them and remember using it throughout my childhood. It never encountered an issue until 10 years down the road and all kinds of fixes have been applied to keep it going. The only problem now is that I pray nothing else happens to it because the solder traces inside are separating from the circuit board. That's one thing I can't fix. As of now, all the buttons work and the trackball is lovely.
The second mouse came from a garage sale last year and was part of a computer set that had been sitting in a box for MANY years from what I was told. It was probably the best $1 I ever spent and they obviously had no idea of its worth. The only issue I encountered here is that the cord appeared to short out just 3 months in. Admittedly, it had been carried in a laptop bag far too small for the contents and was cramped up. Utter devastation hit me in the middle of the night, halfway through an essay. Fast forward to me taking apart every cheap, terrible mouse to match up the wiring pattern for the plug going into the mouse, and find it's quite unique. I did extensive rewiring work and used a LOT of heat shrink but now everything's back in order.
No other mouse can survive what these handle like cake. Drop it? Ball flies out and bounces 10 ft across concrete (it happened)? No problem. It's fine. Not a scratch anywhere.
Forget my expensive desktop computer and various knicknacks; these mice are what I'm saving in the event of a fire.
on January 28, 2015
This trackball mouse is great, and even better now that I see what this one is priced at!
I got this trackball yeeeeeeeeears ago and never looked back at a mouse for personal use again.
Its durable too, I dropped, kicked and got the cord caught which sent it flying, it still works fine and no part of it broke off or cracked.
This came with software that allows you to customize the buttons and other functions.
I use it for Photoshop, Illustrator, navigating the internet (the outer buttons act as forward and back buttons), and the scroll button works on every application that I used.
The ball is smooth and easy to clean if the inside gets gunky.
USB hook-up and GO!
This item gets my Highly Recommended rating.
on July 16, 2011
Went looking for a trackball to carry with my netbook. Have this one, purchased ten years ago, used it on 4 or 5 computers, and think it's the best, so just figured I would buy a second to carry with me when I needed to. At that time think I paid around $40 for it and couldn't believe the price now, but sure glad I have the one I do. Opted this time for a wireless Logitech, which works just fine, and was about $30.