For general shooting, ball heads lead the way with the promise of supremely quick setup, and the fact that there are no locking arms sticking out all over the place is a bonus.
A pan-only mechanism can be useful but, in practice, this adds another knob that has to be loosened and re-tightened when you want to switch from landscape-orientation to portrait-orientation shooting, so that you can get the socket's cut-out section in the right place.
We actually prefer the brilliantly simple Manfrotto 496RC2, which is unbeatably fast in use, and solid as a rock when locked off; besides, you can generally enable panning by loosening the centre column's locking clamp on the tripod itself.
By contrast, both joystick/pistol grip heads in the group are disappointing; they lack sturdiness and stability.
There's still a lot to be said for a traditional three-way head when you want ultimate control over adjustments.
The Giottos MH5001 is the top-performing three-way in the group, and a steal at the price.