Kensington SlimBlade Trackball Mouse review

Although late – very, very late – on the scene with a scrollbar mouse, Apple produced a serious innovation with its Mighty Mouse. Its scroll ball allowed for not just up and down scrolling but also diagonal movement.

It was for that reason that I dumped my multi-button scrolling Logitech mouse and rejoined the Apple mouse brigade on its release.

After a few months of marvelling at this 360° scrolling Mighty Mouse users began to grumble. The little scroll ball atop the device was prone to getting gunked up and suddenly refusing to move either up or down, let alone sideways and diagonally.

Even the current Mighty Mouse is as vulnerable to dirt, and it’s only the innovative scrolling that keeps us Mighty Mouse users from calling in the exterminators.

An alternative would be the Trackball – generally a big ball you roll around its seat; unlike a mouse, which you move across the desk – but I haven’t tried one of these for years after getting pains in my hand just looking at one.

Kensington makes some fine Trackballs, and so its new Trackball Mouse could be the answer to the frustrated Mighty Mouse user.

The SlimBlade Trackball Mouse can work like a trackball or much like a Mighty Mouse. Just double-click the area around the mounted ball to switch between modes.

Apple’s Mighty mouse deploys a mechanical trackball that requires maintenance and frequent cleaning. Kensington’s Trackball mouse is the only scrollball mouse that’s optical and so shouldn’t need cleaning.

(Should a user want to clean their mouse or the scrollball they should use a cotton bud with alcohol on the tip. Follow Apple’s advice on cleaning Mighty Mouse – using a moistened lint-free cloth.)

The SlimBlade is wireless (via Bluetooth), and Kensington claims a battery life of six months. There’s a four-LED battery indicator at the rear of the mouse, which illuminates green when you insert new batteries or turn the mouse on. As the batteries near the end of their lives the indicator flashes red. This should provides about two weeks warning to change the two AA batteries.

Apple’s wireless Mighty Mouse costs £48. Kensington’s SlimBlade Trackball Mouse is priced at £49.99, but can be found for around £45.

Finished in graphite with a blood-red trackball, Kensington’s mouse is just as much a looker as Apple’s all-white affair.

OUR VERDICT

Kensington’s SlimBlade Trackball Mouse is a worthy alternative to Apple’s flawed Mighty Mouse, and a good option for Windows users, too. It takes the Mighty Mouse’s 360° scrolling idea and perfects it by replacing Apple’s mechanical ball with an optical one that doesn’t gum up with dirt and stop working.

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