Logitech is introducing its first new trackball in years. The MX Ergo trackball claims improved precision compared to its predecessors, as well as eight buttons combining modern features with an older use model. The device is also one of the first products by Logitech that supports the company’s Flow technology that enables seamless switching and file sharing between different systems.

Trackball History 101

The trackball was invented in 1947, decades before mice and personal computers, for the British Royal Navy’s command, control, and coordination system known as Comprehensive Display System (CDS). In fact, a rolling ball along with four disks to pick up motion were used both for early trackballs and for early mice. However, mice were chosen by Apple, Microsoft, Xerox and others for their programs and computers featuring GUI in the late 1970s and the early 1980s possibly because of more intuitive design. Meanwhile, rolling balls inside mice were not always optimal for precision and other reasons, which is why trackballs became relatively popular in the eighties and the nineties primarily among graphics designers. After both mice and trackballs switched to optical tracking technology in the late 1990s to early 2000s, advantages of trackballs somewhat eroded and their adoption diminished. Nonetheless, there are loyal trackball users who continue to operate them instead of other tracking devices either for personal efficiency, comfort, or nostalgia. Only two main companies produce trackballs nowadays: Logitech and Kensington, with Logitech introducing its first new trackball in many years.

The Logitech MX Ergo (For Right-Handers)

The Logitech MX Ergo looks like a huge mouse, except it has a ball which has to be rotated by a big digit. As the 'Ergo' name implies, the ergonomics of the trackball can be adjusted. This is achieved by increasing the angle of the device from 0 to 20 degrees, just like the precision of the optical tracking, which varies from 320 dpi to 440 dpi. The device has eight buttons, some of which can be reprogrammed. The latest trackball also comes with an integrated 500 mAh Li-Po battery that can work for 'days or months depending on usage model'.

The new MX Ergo trackball from Logitech can use the company’s Unify wireless receiver (as well as Bluetooth) to connect to PCs. Moreover, just like Logitech’s latest mice, the MX Ergo supports the company’s Flow technology that allows to simultaneously control two computers (Macs and/or Windows) and automatically switch between them by moving the cursor to the edge of the screen. In addition, the Flow allows transferring files between two systems wirelessly using Wi-Fi or Ethernet networks.


The tilt of the trackball in action

The Logitech MX Ergo trackball mouse will be available in the U.S. directly from the company, and from its retail partners starting later this month, for $99.99. Pricing and availability in other countries will vary. No word if a left-handed version will enter the market.

Related Reading

Source: Logitech

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  • hexgrid - Monday, September 11, 2017 - link

    Oh, yeah, and Sanwa Supply also makes trackballs that are very reminiscent of the '90s Logitech trackballs. Sadly, nobody seems to make anything like the Logitech Marble FX. Reply
  • kpb321 - Monday, September 11, 2017 - link

    Yeah I greatly prefer a finger trackball over a thumb ball. I've got a Kensington Orbit trackball with Scroll wheel at work and a Expert Mouse Wired trackball at home.

    I also have a couple Evolution Track balls by Itac. They are little light on the feature side of things and not small by any means but they are pretty much indestructible. They have 6 buttons but are big enough I find it fairly awkward to use more than 3 or 4 and no scroll wheel.
    Reply
  • svan1971 - Monday, September 11, 2017 - link

    I think the only thing missing from your rant is : hey you kids get off my lawn! Reply
  • egmccann - Monday, September 18, 2017 - link

    Personally? I'm glad to see this style instead. They can make both - but I really hate the ones you use your fingers on instead of your thumb. Not comfortable to me at all. Just go to Logitech's site and ask them for the other style. Let them know there's some demand for that to be updated too. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, September 11, 2017 - link

    Where's the 8th button? I only see 7. Left, middle, right, below the wheel, 2 on the edge for the index finger and a 7th on the side above the ball. Reply
  • Ukyo - Monday, September 11, 2017 - link

    Maybe they're counting the side scrolling feature of the scroll wheel as a button? lol Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, September 11, 2017 - link

    Until I saw the side button I'd assumed it was wheel tilt left/right; AFAIK I've seen that counted as buttons somewhere before. Could still be it if the side button's a mechanical release for the tilt adjustment only. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, September 11, 2017 - link

    Is tilt really the only key ergonomic adjustment?

    I've never used a trackball; but I do have a Razer mouse with a pad of thumb buttons on the side and the pad's too far back for me to use all of it though; its placement was apparently designed for someone with a shorter thumb or who folds his fingers up so most is above the mouse.

    Looking at the pictures for this I suspect I'd have the same problem, with the ball located somewhere either at or just forward of the knuckle in my thumb. On the mouse I tried keeping my thumb bent enough to reach the back half of the pad as well as the front; but after a few hours holding my hand like that grew somewhat painful.
    Reply
  • Luscious - Monday, September 11, 2017 - link

    Logitech "needed" a new model considering the disaster the m570 was with it's micro switches failing prematurely. I'm just hoping this version also fixes the interference issues when using it on a single dongle with their K800 keyboard.
    http://lgponthemove.blogspot.com/2014/09/tech-tips...
    Reply
  • andy o - Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - link

    I didn't have the left click fail on my first M570, but the middle (wheel) click stopped registering. I did have a left click failure on a couple of Logitech mice before (MX1000).

    The thing that saved me in both cases, though, was the generous 3-year warranty that Logitech used to offer. Most of the newer devices have a 1-year only warranty. Combined with the high price, I'm not sure I'd buy this one without a significant price reduction (say, less than $50).
    Reply

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