Elecom M-HT1DRBK HUGE Wireless Trackball Review
SUMMARY: The Elecom M-HT1DRBK HUGE wireless trackball is an excellent trackball, with more buttons than any other trackball, large ball, fast DPI switch and comfortable grip. Strong competitor for the Kensington Expert Wireless.
OUR VERDICT: Read full review below
Introducing the new Elecom HUGE trackball
I’m always excited to see new trackballs, and this one is truly different and new. Not just an update of an existing model, but a completely different design from Elecom. First of all the size. As Elecom calls it: HUGE! And they’re quite right: this is one of the biggest trackballs available. So if you have small hands, you might need to look at the smaller Elecom EX-G or Elecom DEFT models.
Compare the size of new large Elecom M-HT1DRBK HUGE model (right) with the much smaller Elecom M-XT3DRBK EX-G model on the left.
The ball measures 52 mm in diameter, much bigger than the other Elecom models and similar in size to the balls of the Kensington Expert, Slimblade and CST2545-5W.
(This leaves Logitech as the only major trackball brand without a large ball. Hint, hint.)
Comparing the size of new large Elecom M-HT1DRBK HUGE model with the much smaller Elecom M-XT3DRBK EX-G model, then the fore-finger controlled Elecom M-DT2DRBK DEFT and finally with the blue glowing ball CST2545-5W (GL) L-Trac Glow Laser Trackball.
photo © TrackballMouse.org
The designers at Elecom really thought this new model through and tried to make it comfortable, ergonomic as well as pleasing to the eye.
The Elecom model range explained
Elecom is a Japanese electronics company, which produces high quality mice and trackballs and other computer peripherals.
The brand currently offers a few trackballs, which can be divided into three model ranges: DEFT (finger operated), EX-G (thumb-operated) and this new HUGE range (extra large, forefinger operated). Each range offers both wired and wireless versions each model.
In this review I’m testing the wireless Elecom M-HT1DRBK which uses the 2.4 Ghz band and USB receiver, but there is a wired version as well, the Elecom M-HT1URBK (find that one on eBay).
Opening the box
The Elecom M-HT1DRBK Wireless Trackball comes in a modern box (compared to the minimalist carton boxes of the EXG and DEFT models). Included are two AA batteries (for Wireless model only), a USB 2.4Ghz receiver and instruction booklets (English included if you order on Amazon). I have the Japanese version, but if you order on Amazon, you will get it in an English language box.
Elecom M-HT1DRBK Wireless Trackball comes in a nice modern box, two AA batteries and the small USB receiver
photo © TrackballMouse.org
Holding this massive new trackball I’m thoroughly impressed. The quality of the plastic and overall feel is very solid. It’s an impressive device, which looks very cool on a desk (like with most other trackballs, you’re be sure to get some remarks from your colleagues/friends if they see it).
The Elecom M-HT1DRBK HUGE trackball is very large, which I like (if you read my other reviews you’ll see I prefer the larger Trackball devices). The Elecom M-HT1DRBK is longer, but less wide than the Kensington Expert/SlimBlade and with a similar size ball, and about the same dimensions as the CST2545, but the CST ball is slightly bigger.
The HUGE ball is dark red, which is a new color for Elecom (DEFT and EX-G models use dark grey balls), but similar in color to the old beloved Microsoft trackballs and the current Kensington and Logitech models.
The material of the Trackball device is mix of matte and glossy plastic, but it has a unique soft padded built-in hand rest, on which you can rest the palm and inside of your hand. The rubber is quite think, you can press it quite deep, and it’s a comfortable material.
Elecom M-HT1DRBK Wireless Trackball receiver bottom with USB holder, OFF/H/L switch, and battery department
photo © TrackballMouse.org
At the bottom of the device we find four large anti-slip pads which hold the trackball in place on your desk. The base also has a switch (wireless version only) with the settings OFF / L / H, which toggles between the OFF-state, or a Low and High sensitivity, giving you a chance to save battery when you’re not using it for a long period of time (OFF) or want the batteries to last (LOW).
There is a lid that reveals the battery compartment, and just below that is a place to store the wireless USB receiver, which can be useful if you’re traveling with your trackball.
I didn’t test the wired model, but the wired version of the trackball has a black USB cable with a length of 150 cm / 59”.
Setting up the Elecom trackball
The Elecom M-HT1DRBK Wireless Trackball is plug and play. I put in the USB receiver in my computer and after a few seconds I can move the large ball of the Elecom, which is extremely smooth.
The layout of the Elecom doesn’t take long to get used to: all buttons and the ball are placed in a very logical and easy to reach position for everyone with medium to large size hands.
The hand rest is very soft and nice for the hand.
The DPI button is perfect: one can easily change between 500, 1000 and 1500 DPI, making the movements of your cursor faster or slower. This is the best DPI button I have seen so far, as it clearly marks HIGH, MID and LOW, and one can easily reach it and change it. On most other trackballs with DPI switch (CST for example), you have to push a button but there is no visible sign or feedback on which level of DPI you are. The other smaller Elecom trackballs have a DPI button, but those only switch between HIGH and LOW, and are not as ideally positioned or shaped as this one on the Elecom M-HT1DRBK HUGE.
Big Red Ball
The control with this trackball is great, as with many of the trackballs with a large ball, you can aim and move the cursor with great precision.
The ball moves also very silently, much more silent than my CST2545 trackball or the Kensington Expert.
Elecom is proudly explaining how they redesigned this red ball to be tracked as efficiently as possible. Here’s the info that you can forget instantly, but it’s cool to see what a trackball is actually made off: the core of the ball is unsaturated polyester resin, covered in a silver powder layer, and finished with the red, clear-coat outer layer.
Structure of the Elecom M-HT1DRBK Wireless Trackball
The ball rolls on three 2.5 mm large artificial ruby ball bearings, which is the standard in Elecom’s ball bearings for a while now. They are extremely smooth and the relatively large size prevents dust and dirt from clogging them. So you don’t have to clean the ball bearings too often, although I recommend wiping them regularly to keep the ball rolling as smooth as possible all the time.
The ball is held in place by the ball bearings, but can easily be popped out of the device, by pushing it through the hole in the bottom (this is similar to the Logitech M570 for example, but different from the Kensington Expert, where the ball falls out if you hold it upside down).
The Elecom M-HT1DRBK HUGE Wireless Trackball sets new standards with its 10 button fuctions. No other trackball has that many options. It must be noted that the Elecom comes with 8 physical buttons on the device and the two extra buttons are the scrollwheel tilting.
The only other trackball that comes close to this many buttons is the discontinued Logitech Cordless Optical Trackman, with 8 buttons (including the scrollwheel click).
The large button under the scroll wheel is the left-click. The long button right next to the large ball is the right-click.
The vertically placed scrollwheel scrolls, but can also be clicked and tilted up or down (which ‘scrolls’ left and right). Just above the scrollwheel there are two arrow buttons, which out of the box just work as a left click, but can be set to a custm function.
On the left of the ball there are two other function buttons (Fn1 and Fn2), and all the way on the right is the 3rd function button (Fn3).
All of the buttons can be customized by using Elecom Mouse Assistant software.
This software works on Windows (except RT) and Mac (Intel only).
Apple Mac users can also download and install USB Overdrive, a software with which can customize a USB mouse, trackball, joystick or gamepad. I have tested this software on my Macbook Pro with OS X El Capitan, and it works with the CST2545. The software is free to use, but costs $20 if you want to get rid of the 10 second shareware reminder.
The position of the scroll-wheel is always a tricky subject: one needs to get used to any position. I have always thought that the round scroll ring around the ball as seen on the Kensington Expert and Orbit with Scroll Ring is ideal, moving it with the ring finger. I also really like the smooth scroll wheel on the CST2545, which is moved by the middle and ringfinger, but that wheel is maybe hard to reach for people with small hands.
The scrollwheel on the Elecom HUGE is positioned on the left side of the device, between the left-click and up/down buttons. The wheel needs to be moved with the thumb, and that works, but is not always ideal: it’s impossible to Click and Hold (for example holding a Photoshop layer or a document, and then scroll down). Because the Thumb is used to do the Click & Hold, it can’t be used anymore for the scrolling.
The scrolling is not as smooth as the CST2545 (which is really from another world) but it’s very easy and gives a nice soft physical feedback but without an audible clicking sound.
Ambidextrous and ergonomic design
The Elecom M-HT1DRBK has an asymmetrical design, meaning it’s only suited for right-handed users (for symmetrical trackballs suitable for both left and right-handed users, click here https://www.trackballmouse.org/tag/ambidextrous-trackball/ ).
The shape and especially the top material of the trackball is quite comfortable for my large hand. The palm of my hand rests on the arc-shape built-in soft rubber wrist rest of the device. it is more comfortable than the SlimBlade (the Expert has a wrist rest that can be attached). It’s also better than the CST2545 because the Elecom wrist rest really fills the shape of the inside of your hand
Just like the CST2545 and Kensington Expert and Slimblade, it is safe to say that this trackball is best suited for people with large hands. But if you like the control of a large ball, the controls are placed quite close together, so with a small hand it’s possible to use it properly. The buttons are well placed and always easy to reach and click.
The Elecom HUGE Trackballs have selectable tracking resolution between 500, 1000, and 1500 DPI. You can toggle instantly between these LOW / MID and HIGH resolutions by clicking the DPI button. I prefer the 500 DPI (LOW setting) for most normal use, but it can be useful to set it higher when you have a large screen (or multiple screens) or if you are gaming.
Other trackballs that have this “button selectable DPI resolution” functionality are the Speedlink Aptico / Sanwa Supply Wireless Mouse and all other Elecom trackballs. And on the CST2545 the DPI can be switched by pressing two buttons at the same time.
Technical Details Elecom M-HT1DRBK (wireless) and M-HT1URBK (wired)
Interface: USB (either a USB cable for the wired version, or the USB 2.4Ghz dongle for the wireless version)
DPI: 500/1000/1500 count (switchable)
Body: Width 114.7 × Length 181.9 × Height 57.2 mm (4.51″ x 7.16″ x 2.25″)
USB Receiver (wireless version): Width 13.1 × Length 18.2 × Height 5.0 mm (0.51″ x 0.72″ x 0,20″)
Cable length (wired version): 1.5 m (5ft)
Radio wave reaching distance: about 10m (30ft) for non-magnetic material (wood desk etc.), magnetic material (iron desk etc.) about 3m (10ft)
Available batteries (wireless version only): any one of AA alkaline batteries, AA Manganese dry batteries, AA Nickel Metal Hydride batteries
Estimated battery operation time (wireless model)*
Continuous operation time: about 235 hours (Low) / about 137 hours (Hi)
Continuous standby time: about 1851 days (Low) / about 1851 days (Hi)
Estimated usable days: about 534 days (Low) / about 325 days (Hi)
* These are test values in a controlled environment and not a guaranteed value.
Low (low energy mode), Hi (high speed mode). When assigning 5% to trackball operation during 8 hours of PC operation per day, it is a guideline when using alkaline dry batteries)
Compatible with Windows PC with Windows 10 / 8.1 / RT 8.1 / 7 / XP and Mac OS with MacOS Sierra 10.12
– It may be necessary to update to the latest version of each OS and service pack installation
– “Elecom Mouse Assistant” does not support Windows RT. Function buttons, left and right scroll can not be used.
|4.0 / 5|
The Elecom M-HT1DRBK HUGE Wireless Trackball is a great addition to the Elecom range, it gives a new and very attractive option to people like me who like a large trackball device.
It’s up to you to choose between the the wireless model (no cable, less clutter) or the wired model (no need to worry about radio interference and battery exhaustion). In the USA, the only available model is the wireless M-HT1DRBK, sold exclusively on Amazon for $85.99. Quite decently priced, similar to the Kensington Expert Wireless ($84.89, probably its closest competitor) but much lower priced than my current favorite, the CST2545 ($130).
If you don’t live in the US, or are looking for the wired version, then you have to look on eBay, where several Japanese sellers offer wireless M-HT1DRBK (click here) and the wired M-HT1URBK (click here), but expect to pay more than the $85.99 on Amazon.
In my opinion the only popular alternatives are my current favourite trackball, the CST2545-5W (GL) L-Trac Glow Laser Trackball (which is more expensive), or the Kensington Expert / Expert Wireless and Kensington SlimBlade, both with a very large trackball. On the higher and even more expensive end you could opt for the more rare ITAC Professional or Industrial Mouse-Trak trackball.