I've been using basic mice for a long time but have been thinking of moving either to an ergonomic mouse or trackball. Trackballs seem like they may be better for me, but it seems like manufacturers have neglected the trackball market for a long time and there aren't that many good options available. Something like the Evoluent vertical mouse looks interesting as well. So what exotic pointing device do you use, and why do you like it or not like it?
I ended up going the trackball route and chose the Logitech Cordless Optical Trackman:
It was the closest thing I could find to the physical form factor of the Microsoft Intellimouse Trackball Explorer, which was the best reviewed trackball I found in my search, but is no longer manufactured (though for a few hundred bucks you can get old ones on Ebay):
I would have preferred a USB wired version but the only one Logitech makes in this form is cordless, with a huge wireless USB dongle. Actually, this trackball doesn't even show up on Logitech's site anymore, I wonder if they are discontinuing it. It's available at Office Depot and Staples as I write this, I've had mine for several months now.
The reasons I chose the trackball, and this one in particular, were:
Similar physical layout to the Microsoft model I mentioned. That MS trackball has legions of rabid fans online and they will spend hundreds of dollars to replace their dead Intellimouse Trackball with a new one. I didn't find any currently-available trackball with as dedicated a fan base.
It requires no more desk space than the unit itself occupies, unlike a mouse which needs a mousepad. This also means that if I'm digitizing something big, I never run out of mousepad and have to pick up a mouse, move it, and put it back down again, which can be a pain and cause errors.
Very little force is required to get the ball/pointer moving, much less than getting a mouse to move on a mousepad. It makes fine pointer movements a lot easier.
This particular one has the ball mounted on the top, unlike the Logitech jvangeld has, or the M570, another Logitech trackball. Both of those require you to use your thumb to move the ball, which seemed to me like it would get more tiring over time and also that finer movements would be harder than with the ball on top (where I can use 3 fingers to move it).
It has 5 extra buttons beyond Left/Middle/Right mouse buttons, those can be programmed to do whatever using the included software (or AutoHotKey).
A few Cons I've noticed:
The small pegs that keep the ball centered in its socket need to be cleaned regularly. I've been doing it only when I noticed the wheel not rolling as freely but it should probably be done once a week at least. It seems like those pegs are going to wear out long before anything else does.
The mouse wheel's scrolling action is a bit stiff, so is the left mouse button.
It's apparently an old model and the USB wireless dongle is very big: several feet of cord with a dongle about 3" square on the end of it. It's not travel-friendly.