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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Bluetooth Trackball "The Ball" Review World's Only Bluetooth Trackball

Bluetooth Trackball "The Ball" Review World's Only Bluetooth Trackball
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Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Boston, MA
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Jan 26, 2006, 12:39 AM
 
I'm a trackball freak. I love em. I've used a Logitech Trackman Wheel for years and wanted to move up to a bluetooth trackball. Only one problem. They don't exist. Until a company with a very interesting -history- announced plans to make them. DVForge which was founded by Jack Campbell of "MacMice" fame. A simple googling for DVForge + Jack Campbell will bring up all sorts of gossip about the company.

At $70 I was not eager to send such a company my money for fear of being ripped off. But I am also mindlessly desperate for a bluetooth trackball so I gambled....and won. This particular venture at least is not a scam. The bluetooth trackball is real and I have one. He delivered as promised but its not without some kinks. I've included pictures for you all to see.

Issues with the Trackball.

1. The ball itself. He used a regular marble it seems instead of a ball with black dots to track the infra-red beam. The result? Navigation is horrible. Mouse cursor jumps all over the screen. How to solve it? Use a sharpe marker to literally turn the entire ball black, let the sharpe dry then put the ball back into the trackball. Problem solved.

2. Battery usage. This thing comes with a USB dock which recharges the batteries in the trackball. Unfortunately it was designed to use AAA batteries instead of higher capacity AA batteries and chews thru batteries very quickly. You will have to recharge this thing at least once a day if you are a heavy computer user. I bought the highest capacity 1000mAh AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries I could find and we'll see how that goes.

Its not too heavy though and I quite enjoy using it now that I've gotten those issues resovled. I wasn't sure if I should post this here in the Lounge or the Peripheral section but I figured the Lounge would be better so more people would be informed that a Bluetooth Trackball now actually exists.

Here's the pics.









Main Computer and EyeTV 200 DVR: Mac Mini Core Duo 1.66Ghz 2GB Ram 160GB HD.
Road Warrior: MacBook White 2.0Ghz Core 2 Duo 2GB Ram 80GB HD.
Kubuntu Book: Dell Lattitude C400 running Kubuntu Linux 6.06 1.33 Pentium 3 CPU 1GB RAM 40GB HD with Creative laptop speakers (it only has one speaker).
     
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Jan 26, 2006, 01:05 AM
 
I bought an iBreaze from "that" company and love it. I don't see what the problem is, MacMice is fine.
     
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Jan 26, 2006, 06:25 AM
 
Throw a bluetooth module in the Logitech one in the 3rd shot and I'd be happy. Logitech used to keep their trackball line up to date with wireless versions and such, now it seems they barley even acknowledge trackballs exist. *sigh*
<This space under renovation>
     
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Jan 26, 2006, 12:23 PM
 
Yeah I wish Logitech would do that as well but they seem to refuse to even consider it.
Main Computer and EyeTV 200 DVR: Mac Mini Core Duo 1.66Ghz 2GB Ram 160GB HD.
Road Warrior: MacBook White 2.0Ghz Core 2 Duo 2GB Ram 80GB HD.
Kubuntu Book: Dell Lattitude C400 running Kubuntu Linux 6.06 1.33 Pentium 3 CPU 1GB RAM 40GB HD with Creative laptop speakers (it only has one speaker).
     
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Mar 1, 2006, 12:32 PM
 
Thanks for the review, I've been considering one of these. Problem is, I love my usb Macally Q-ball, because of the software which allows one page up, one page down for each click of the scroll wheel.

Question: how's the ergonomics? does your hand hurt or get stiff after extended use? I'm asking because it looks like your hand would end up in a weird position with no support if you do a lot of scrolling.

Also, a recommendation: If you travel with it, take the marble out. I ruined one Q-ball that way because somehow it got whacked, thereby breaking one of the 3 support "wheels" off the internal plastic housing.
     
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Mar 1, 2006, 12:39 PM
 
I love trackballs- as long as they are Kensington. Every other TB I've ever used (to be fair, including the Kensington orbit) hurt my hand. I likes me the big balls.

While on the one hand I long for a BT version of the expert mouse (I bought the RF wireless version), I'm not sure I really see the advantage- other than lack o' cable clutter. I ended up exchanging the wireless version for a wired one as changing out batteries happened too frequently.
     
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Mar 1, 2006, 12:57 PM
 
I love trackballs as well. My parents still use their old Trackman with their Mac mini (via a PS2-USB adapter). To be honest, I don't see too much sense in a Bluetooth trackball (unless you have a laptop).
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
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Mar 1, 2006, 01:18 PM
 
trackballs are great for Centipede
     
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Mar 1, 2006, 02:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie
To be honest, I don't see too much sense in a Bluetooth trackball (unless you have a laptop).
I agree. The point of having wireless mice is that you don't have a wire in the way when you're moving the mouse around (although frankly I've never found wired mouse to be much of a problem). But a trackball stays in place while you use it. I imagine there are some situations where having a wireless trackball might be useful (a media center-style PC where you sit far away from the actual computer, or a portable) but it's not too surprising that there aren't a lot of them on the market.
     
   
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