Logitech Marble Mouse

by Chris Howard Jul 24, 2006

Many years ago when trackballs first came out, they were somewhat flaky and difficult to control. The ones in laptops were the most notorious of all. It’s unfortunate the trackball went out of vogue, because nowadays the ones you can still get are quite a pleasure to use. Personally the trackball is my preferred pointing device. My kids also prefer to use a trackball even though the one on their computer has mechanical sensors that need cleaning often.

The trackball I use is the Logitech Marble Mouse. Despite its name, it’s actually a trackball.

I’ve been using various trackballs for two years and have not only found them easier to use, but also have health advantages. Last year I had a brief fling with the Mighty Mouse, and many hours a day using it actually gave me repetitive strain injury (RSI). I did try other mice but it wasn’t until I returned to the trackball that I was able to fully overcome the RSI. That was when I bought the Marble Mouse.

Trackballs allow you to scoot quickly around the screen, the flick motion being the most intuitive of all pointing devices. Provided you slow down the movement sensitivity, a balance between speed and minute control can easily be obtained.

Of the trackballs I have used, the Marble Mouse is my favorite. The ball moves freely and smoothly, and is nicely weighted.

The Marble Mouse has optical sensors which always work. Unlike mice, which sometimes find a surface they’re not happy with, the Marble Mouse is always happy. The ball floats on tiny supports which I suspect are made of teflon or similar. Very occasionally these gather fluff and slow down the movement of the ball but it only takes a couple of seconds to flick the fluff.

Built flush with the left and right buttons are mini-buttons for scrolling. Not quite as intuitive as a scroll wheel, they are easy to use all the same. These can be reconfigured for other functions if desired.

In fact, all four buttons can be configured to a wide variety of functions, including keyboard shortcuts; opening applications, documents, folders and web pages; shutdown; CD eject; volume control and more.

The humble mouse is ubiquitous, and rightly so, because it does combine the elements of all pointing devices, but consequently doesn’t do any function best. If you are like most folks and use your mouse mostly for “point & click”, then consider a trackball next time, or even now. The only area a trackball does lag behind a mouse is free-hand drawing. But if you are serious about that, you should get a graphics tablet anyway.

Logitech make four trackballs. I have the Marble Mouse simply because of affordability but the top of the range Cordless Optical Trackman certainly appeals.

The Logitech Marble Mouse is my favorite peripheral I use with my Mac. It is beautifully designed, usable by both left or right handers, comfortable, reduces the risk of RSI, easy to use and, because of its intuitiveness, increases productivity. 10/10


  • I use this very trackball for my desktops in the garage (limited space even for a LED mouse) and in my SOHO setup.

    You are very right that this probably is the best trackball there. I have even tried Logitech’s fancier trackball design but something in the Marble Mouse’s form design that fits exactly your hand in its natural resting form - cupped lazily?

    The “flick” action on the oversized spherical blob is a universe better than any mice or trackpad gesture out there from pointing to a corner to the other corner of the screen.

    There is one caveat that I’ve found (and it is not really a problem): do not clean the ball with an isopropyl alcohol or window cleaning solvents. These do not damage the surface of the ball but rather they coat it and leaves the ball very sticky and hesitates.

    What I have found to really work is to use a wood furniture cleaner/duster such as Pledge or Old English furniture polish. You can also use these to clean the optical sensors in the crevice [where the ball usually resides?].

    For you folks looking for a way to fluidly control your UI with one that is very responsive, require very small footprint, less maintenance, no mouse-pad worries, etc. it is worth looking into the Logitech brand of Marble Mices.

    Robomac had this to say on Jul 24, 2006 Posts: 846
  • I’ve long preferred trackballs to mice. Right now, I’m using a Kensington Orbit Optical and a Marble Mouse is being used by a family member.

    Lucky13 had this to say on Jul 24, 2006 Posts: 11
  • Teackballs are great but there are many other options when it comes to ergonomic input devices. Check http://www.ergonomictimes.com

    ergonomic had this to say on Jul 25, 2006 Posts: 3
  • but there are many other options when it comes to ergonomic input devices -ergo

    You’re correct and here’s my favorite of them:


    Cheers! wink

    Robomac had this to say on Jul 25, 2006 Posts: 846
  • ha-ha! Yes, the keyboard food tray is my favorite ergonomic item smile (as discussed in my blog http://www.ergonomictimes.com)
    How can anyone work like this and not get hurt. Anyway, mini-breaks and stretching are really important!

    ergonomic had this to say on Jul 25, 2006 Posts: 3
  • mini-breaks and stretching are really important! -ergo

    Yep, you got it! Why not combine the enjoyment of using a Mac, a toasty, and a hot cup of Java, eh?

    Now, about the idea of including a cot with this thing…hmmm… wink

    Robomac had this to say on Jul 25, 2006 Posts: 846
  • I just wish someone (i.e. Apple) would come up with a Bluetooth Trackball. As far as I know, there is only *one* obscure model available (http://www.chwangyi.com/the_ball.html)  which has gotten only middling reviews. Can’t believe Logitech or Kensington hasn’t tackled a BT Trackball…

    Argelius had this to say on Jul 26, 2006 Posts: 2
  • I just bought a Logitech trackball mouse. This mouse looks very ergonomical but I fill uncomfortable with new. I still prefer classic models.

    Eugene had this to say on Jan 15, 2008 Posts: 1
  • Interesting, I have never used marble mice. I always thought them to be “for eccentrics”. But seeing how you describe them, I think I might just try one and see how things go.

    I am John from http://www.logitechg930.net/

    JohnD had this to say on Jan 14, 2011 Posts: 1
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