Kensington Orbit Trackball review

An affordable trackball that isn't completely rubbish

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Our Verdict

The Orbit Trackball was a pleasant surprise when in use but we can't see it replacing the good ol' fashioned Logitech G9 in your favourite fragfest

For

  • Good sensitivity
  • Comfortable
  • Good button placement

Against

  • Wrist rest
  • Sensitive to dirt

The idea, according to the simple, multilingual marketing spiel on the front of the Orbit Trackball box, is 'comfort meeting control'.

Having only ever used a trackball in abortive attempts to enjoy the odd Missile Command cabinet, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but I've actually been pleasantly surprised.

Now I'm not about to ditch my wireless li'l Sidewinder for this glossy-balled pretender, but I was far more comfortable using the Orbit than I expected. It's responsive and the optical sensors are set at a high enough dpi rating that even on a 1,920 x 1,080 desktop I wasn't hammering the ball just to get across the other side of the screen.

It is actually comfortable to use as well, so long as you ditch the rubber codpiece-looking, wrist-rest.

Once the expected mouse-related RSI really takes hold I'll switch to the trackball, but I don't expect the trackball's wrist-rest to offer up yet another strain…

The button placement and scrollwheel encompassing the ball itself though are all neat, responsive and functional; in fact the only real problem I had came down to the really fine movements.

Despite the fact the sensors are indeed optical they still rely on the smooth movement of the ball itself; and if that ball ain't shiny as Darth Vader's dome, hitting a small target with the mouse pointer is a devilish exercise in frustration.

Still there's always the age-old problem for us gamers; you're always going to have to switch back to a mouse for any twitch-based gaming. That said I did manage a five kill streak in a MW2 Hardcore Team Deathmatch…

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Components Editor

Dave (Twitter) is the components editor for TechRadar and has been professionally testing, tweaking, overclocking and b0rking all kinds of computer-related gubbins since 2006. Dave is also an avid gamer, with a love of Football Manager that borders on the obsessive. Dave is also the deputy editor of TechRadar's older sibling, PC Format.