Kensington Expert Mouse Trackball Review
SUMMARY: The Kensington Expert Mouse trackball is one of the trackballs that I used most in the past 15 years. Yes, it’s one of my favorites, so expect nothing but praise! This is a winner, especially for professional users.
Update 2016: the Expert is now also available as a Bluetooth wireless trackball
OUR VERDICT: Read full review below
The Kensington Expert Mouse is one of the best trackballs available, if not THE best. Even though Kensington has named this the Expert Mouse, it really is not a mouse. This is a Trackball with a capital T.
I have been using this wonderful device since 2002 and it has been by my side ever since. The years before my Expert, I have used a Logitech Marble, another great trackball. But once you start using an Expert, there’s no turning back.
Let’s start with the overall design. When you take the Kensington Expert Mouse trackball out of the box you might be surprised by the size. It is a large device, wedge shaped, with a huge, dark grey metallic trackball placed in the center. The largest ball of all the current trackballs (together with the Kensington SlimBlade which has the same ball, but in red) is surrounded by a black rubber scrollwheel and four large buttons. If you have very small hands, this one might be too big for you (then I would recommend the Kensington Orbit with Scroll Ring), but most people will be able to use the Expert properly.
The ambidextrous design is exactly symmetrical so the Expert can be used by right-handed and left-handed people.
The materials feel good, although a bit cheaper than the nice materials of the Logitech Cordless Trackman trackball or the Kensington SlimBlade. Just like any other trackball or mouse, the buttons will show signs of use after a few years of intense use.
The Kensington Expert Mouse comes with a soft wristrest that can be attached to the trackball device. I never really liked the wrist rest, but some people prefer to have the extra support. This also depends on the position of your arm, chair and desk, so it’s nice to have the option of adding or removing this wristrest depending on your situation.
The four large buttons can be programmed to do whatever you like if you download Kensington TrackballWorks software on the Kensington website. You can even set an action for if you click the two top buttons at the same time or if you click the two bottom buttons at the same time. The bottom left button is best for left-click, the bottom right button best for right-click. The top buttons can be set to for example back / forward, media player functions, launching applications or documents etcetera. If you have an Apple Macintosh computer you could set up the top buttons to activate Mission Control, Launchpad or other Mac related options, something I really like to use them for.
The large rubber scroll ring is really a great addition to this trackball. The ring makes scrolling (and therefor using your computer) easier, quicker and more accurate. The scrollring has a solid rubber grip and turns very smoothly. The only trackball that offers a better scrolling experience is the Kensington Orbit with Scroll Ring, which has an incredibly smooth and accurate ring.
The large trackball of the Expert might feel very heavy at first, but once you get used to it, you will love how accurate and solid it is compared to smaller trackballs. As mentioned earlier, the only other trackball that offers a ball this big is the Kensington SlimBlade. The ball is resting in its cradle but is not ‘fixed’, so when you would hold the Expert upside down (for example while it is in your bag while traveling) the ball can fall out. Of course during use on your desk the ball will never be able to fall out. Every now and then you need to take the ball out and clean the surface below to keep the rotation smooth. The cleaning only takes a few seconds.
Finger-operated trackball offers ideal finger setting
The Expert is a finger-operated trackball which means you need your middle fingers to control the ball (as opposed to thumb-operated trackballs, where you use your thumb for the ball and other fingers for the buttons and scrolling).
The Expert offers in my opinion an ideal layout for efficient use of all the fingers. Never are the fingers in each other’s way or will you need to move your fingers to access certain functions (unless you want to use the top two buttons). I like to scroll with my ring finger, which allows my index finger and middle finger to control the trackball, and my thumb to click the left button and my pinkie to click the right button.
The position of your hand is quite comfortable as it is resting on the device or the wristrest. Even after hours of use, my hands never get tired of controlling this trackball. Compared to regular mouse this is a joy to use. I really can’t understand why anyone would use a normal mouse, while this Expert is available to make your computer experience so much better.
|4.5 / 5|
The Kensington Expert Mouse is my favorite trackball, and I would recommend especially professional and heavy users to get this one. It might be a bit more expensive than other trackballs but it operates in another league. Truly professional, accurate ball, great scroll ring and an ergonomic design make this a winner. The large ball rolls smoothly and allows for fast movement across the screen with very small movements. The ergonomics are fantastic, saving you wrist strain after hours of use. The four large buttons can be programmed to do exactly you want, all making for a simple and effective workflow with minimal movement from your hand and arm.
I would find it very hard to give up the comfort and accuracy of the Expert for another finger-operated trackball. The only competition, in my opinion, is the Kensington SlimBlade (looks better, same size ball, but more expensive and scrolling is not as good) or the Kensington Orbit with Scroll Ring (much cheaper, scrolling is better, but two buttons less and smaller ball than the Expert). Another good alternative is the Clearly Superior Technologies CST2545 (I’ll post a review of this one soon).
Update: in 2016, Kensington released a wireless version of the Kensington Expert. The first bluetooth trackball, also comes with a 2.4GHz USB receiver. With a red ball and slightly updated body design, you can consider the Kensington Expert Wireless Trackball a proper alternative.