Trackball stans, rejoice! Kensington, one of the few remaining manufacturers of premium trackball mice, has announced two new options for the ergonomic diehards out there. Kensington introduced a pair of more budget-friendly options at CES 2023 with its new Pro Fit Ergo Trackball lineup, the $69.99 TB550 and $49.99 TB450. They join the $119.99 wireless SlimBlade Pro Trackball in Kensingtons’ trackball lineup, but where the SlimBlade Pro is manipulated by the user’s fingers, the new offerings rely on the thumb to get the cursor moving.
Both the TB450 and TB550 offer the same ergonomic shape with the trackball stationed under the thumb and are compatible with Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS via either Bluetooth or 2.4 GHz wireless connections. The similarities end there, however, with the TB450 equipped with five programmable inputs and the TB550 using seven. The more expensive TB550 also includes a tilt-capable scroll wheel and can be recharged via USB-C, while the TB450 is reliant on disposable batteries for power.
Inputs for either trackball can be customized through the KensingtonWorks software, which allows users to adjust factors like DPI sensitivity, acceleration, and button mapping.
While trackballs definitely fell out of favor with the advent of more advanced optical sensors for mice, trackballs still enjoy a modest but incredibly devoted following. Getting anyone to ditch their existing mouse for a trackball in today’s environment is a tall order, especially considering how few options exist out there.
Kensington isn’t the only place that still makes trackballs, with Logitech still offering dedicated trackball peripherals with the $49.99 Ergo M575 and $99.99 MX Ergo and Ploopy offering open-source trackballs that require a little soldering know-how. Here’s to hoping that with the TB450 and TB550 entering the market sometime in Q2 2023, we might see a few more people adopting trackballs into their home office.