Review: Logitech Wireless Trackball M570

logitech-wireless-trackball-m570

I’ve spent two days using the new Logitech Trackball Wireless M570 and I’m very impressed, overall.  Retailing for $59.99,  M570 is Logitech’s newest thumb-operated trackball mouse, and is ostensibly a spiritual successor to their popular Trackman series. Updates and additions include:

  • Programmable back/forward buttons
  • Further refined shape over existing Logitech Trackman mice.
  • Wireless, supporting “Logitech Unifying” technology
  • Adjustable laser

For me, the M570 is a potential replacement for my coveted Microsoft Trackball Optical, a model which has been discontinued. Thus, I compared the M570 to my “MTO” in nearly every regard.

Style

In terms of looks, the M570 is a departure from Logitech’s incumbent trackball mice. Its plastic shell is black and they chose a blue trackball instead of their usual red. Blue isn’t my favorite color, but I like the appearance overall. (It would be nice if you could buy replacement trackballs in various colors to personalize it.)

Installation

Great job, Logitech. I simply plugged in the included USB wirless receiver into my computer and I was using the mouse within seconds without having to see a single menu. No disks were even included in the box. You can optionally download the free Logitech software to program buttons and adjust settings.

Using the M570

Like other Logitech trackballs I’ve used in the past, the ball makes almost imperceptible noise and feels a little  “rough” when you roll it. I’d compare it to the sound and feel of rubbing one of your fingers on paper. My MS Trackball Optical, on the other hand, is as smooth as glass.  At first, the feel of Lotitech annoyed me, but after a day I don’t notice it.

Though I’m not yet a fan of the “feel” of the ball, I’m  huge fan of the performance. The M570’s most noticeable advantage over the MS Trackball Optical is how much more easily the ball moves. With the MS Trackball Optical, I’ve found it difficult to move a stationary cursor (or crosshair) just one or two pixels, because there is always just a little stickiness to overcome before it starts to glide.  The ball in the M570 simply glides more effortlessly from a standstill position. This is a huge advantage for gamers, but also for people using graphic design programs.

Compared to the Microsoft Trackball Optical, the M570 felt less substantial in weight, size and feel. In fact, the trackball itself felt smaller, too, so I compared them:

The Logitech ball is indeed 10% smaller than the MS one. I don’t know if that actually matters. The Logitech ball feels a little “pointier” on my thumb, but not uncomfortable.

I was glad to see the alignment of the mouse felt identical to the MS Trackball Optical. Switching back and forth between the two required no re-orienting.

Less “Room to Play”?

The M570 itself is smaller, too. I have mixed feelings about the overall comfort of the device:

(**UPDATE** Be sure to read my 4-month follow up to this review)

The contours and shape of the M570 fit my hand like a glove. In fact, it’s a much better fit than the MS Trackball Optical.  However, after using the M570 for a minutes, I noticed something.

When I placed my hand so that it felt most comfy on the mouse, my thumb extended past the middle of the ball, limiting the range of motion. I found myself either sliding my hand back or curling my thumb slightly to stay “on point”. It seems that the M570 (and perhaps other Logitech trackballs) are designed for smaller hands. (I’m a 6-foot male, by the way.)

My old MS Trackball Optical overcomes this problem by having a more generically shaped shell and longer mouse buttons. Users with a wide range of hand sizes (like those in my family) can find their “home” on it and use it comfortably. The M570, on the other hand, is so ergonomically shaped that I wondered if it ends up being a little  less accommodating to those outside a certain range of hand sizes.

In normal computer use, the above issue is minor, and I am able to use the M570 comfortably. However, gamers will want as much range of motion available to them as possible. The Microsoft Trackball Optical seems  to excel in this area by placing the ball on a wide, open face. Your thumb has lots of room to “play”.  The ball in the M570 sits within a more contoured socket that “juts out” along the bottom and upper portion near the “forward” and “back” buttons. Sometimes, my thumb is stopped by these bumpers before I want them to.

I’m happy to say that, after a few rounds in Team Fortress 2, the M570 performed wonderfully — especially once I found a good hand position that gave me the most control and range with the ball.

*Disclaimer* I haven’t empirically tested whether there is actually less available range of motion on the M570; It just feels and looks that way.

Going forward, and back

I can’t imagine using a web browser today without having the “back” and “forward” buttons right at my fingertip. So, the biggest selling point for me was the addition of those buttons on the M570. I have to admit they are much better designed than the ones on my trusty Microsoft Trackball Optical. Everyone who has used my MS mouse has accidentally clicked the small “back”button, thinking it was the primary mouse button. The Logitech forward and back buttons should cause no confusion for new users.

Other Observations

Like other trackball mice, the ball can be ejected for cleaning. However, the hole on the underside was too small for all but my pinky finger, and it was uncomfortable pushing the ball out.

Logitech earns some karma points by including a Duracell battery in the mouse – a pleasant surprise. Thanks!

Summary

Pros:

  • Fool-proof, fast setup
  • Trackball moves very easily and precisely and should satisfy gamers until a gaming-oriented trackball is released.
  • Great functional design overall
  • Battery included with purported 18-month life.
  • Wireless trackballs are awesome. This is a perfect laptop companion or home theater control.
  • **UPDATE!** Be sure to read my 4-month follow up on the Logitech M570

Cons:

  • Feels a little light and small (for my taste)
  • Although the molded shape fits my hand well, the position of the buttons and trackball seemed to be geared for smaller hands and took some getting used to.
  • Ball “eject” hole on the underside should be larger.

The Verdict

The Logitech M570 is a very well crafted mouse and a welcome device in my home office. Though gamers and advanced users might appreciate a gamer-oriented design with higher  range of motion and more programmable buttons, this mouse appears to be the leader of today’s very small pack of trackball mouse options. The addition of programmable buttons and wireless  make the M570 the trackball mouse to get today, whether you are new to trackballs or are looking for an upgrade.

33 thoughts on “Review: Logitech Wireless Trackball M570”

  1. The worst thing that I noticed almost immediately was the “rough” feeling you describe. Fortunately, it seems to be manufacturing laziness on Logitech’s part and is extremely easy to correct:

    Pop out the ball, and look around the outer edge of the ball’s slot in the mouse. If you look extremely carefully, you’ll see a very thin, sharp plastic edge that protrudes slightly from where the actual smoothed edge of the hole is. Take any metal object with a thin, hard edge, and just scrape away the excess plastic (I used the edge of a fingernail file- no “sanding” required, the excess plastic just scraped away) Blow away the little plastic flakes, put the ball back in and voila! Nice smooth movement!

    It’s about time Logitech did a refresh of the TrackMan, but I wonder how many people are returning it just because Logitech decided not to trim the edges carefully during the manufacturing process.

  2. Out of curiosity, did you notice it having a higher resolution? I’m curious to know if it has a higher resolution than my trackman wheel.

  3. Oh, I should mention that my logitech trackman wheel goes about 500 pixels across the screen from one full thumb movement and all acceleration and such turned off.

    I’ve already ordered two of these, I’m really hoping for some more precision in my aim in TF2. 🙂

  4. Levi, I do not notice any perceptible difference in resolution between the m570 and my MS Trackball Optical. I haven’t used the Trackman enough to compare.

    I should add that Logitech claims: “The M570 now sports an adjustable laser sensor, giving you a wider range of cursor speeds—and the perfect amount of control.” However, I don’t know where to change that, unless they are just referring to the “Pointer Speed” (which I assumed was just a software level control).

  5. Max, I’m a little nervous to shave that plastic off, but I might just give it a shot. Does the ball come out easier with that edge filed down? (not that that would be a big problem. just curious)

  6. Interesting. I also have the MTO. But it has a Logitech ball/sensor in it because the original MS ball unit was really was terrible. This hacked MTO is my desktop trackball. My laptop trackball is the current wired trackman and is quite uncomfortably small for me which makes me hesitant to purchase this new wireless trackball because it is roughly the same size. If i do buy it i will have to somehow make it larger so that my hand will be able to lay on it flatter. If my hand is in curved position my thumb is forced into a crook in order to roll the ball. This places undue stress on my thumb. These are only differences of centimetres between the MTO and the trackman, but on the MTO my thumb is relaxed on the ball in a straight line almost always and never has to strain over the ball the way it does on the trackman.

  7. This microergonomic details are so subtle you have to observe carefully and many times. I think the key behind my success in using the MTO over the trackman is that I’m mostly using the lower part of my thumb. The ball mostly contacts the joint of the thumb, never the upper part of the thumb. When the ball is nested into the naturally occurring corner in your thumb joint, you can control the ball with very little exertion. However when the ball contacts the upper part of your thumb as it does with the Trackman, near the tip of the thumb, which is pretty smooth, then to move the ball for the equal amount of distance requires a bunch of tiny pushes and pulls with the thumb to get accurate mouse placement. It’s as if my thumb is forced to use the ball like a finger would on a finger trackball, you can feel the fine motor muscles fatiguing trying to roll it accurately, one of the reasons why I hate finger trackballs. On the MTO my thumb just lazily saddles the ball and moving it via the stronger muscles near the palm instead of the finer muscles higher up expends far less energy and deliberation.

  8. David, those are insightful observations. You describe the very issue I have with the Logitech mouse shape — that it forces my thumb to stay pulled back in a stressed position, rather than “lazily” resting over the ball. That means muscles in the wrist that operate the thumb stay contracted nearly constantly.

    The interesting thing is that when you first take the mouse out of the box and put your hand over it, you’ll think it’s perfect. It’s only when you start using it that your realize you have to curl your thumb to make the best use of it.

    I can imagine that Logitech has done a lot of focus groups to determine the most popular shape for their trackball mice. It doesn’t surprise me that this design passed with flying colors because it makes such a great first impression.

    I’m going to post a follow-up to my review to highlight some of these points.

  9. Hi, my M570 finally arrived! Just to follow up on my previous question, this mouse definitely has a higher resolution/dpi than the older trackman wheel. I’d say its almost double, maybe a little less.

  10. I’ve just ordered the M570, since my 6-7 year old cordless trackman wheel has become defective, when pushing the left mouse button. It has earned me incredible well all these years – and I hope that the M570 will too.

    P.S. I have a fairly small hand, but often wondered that it could be a huge problem for ppl with larger hands.

  11. Claw, Now that I’ve used my M570 for over a month, I’m happy to say that I actually prefer the “feel” of it to my old MS Trackball. I wish it was a little bigger so that my thumb rested more naturally on the center of the ball, but I’ve gotten used to it.

  12. Steven did you make the alteration to the plastic as was suggested by Max, and if so how did it work?
    I recently resurrected an old computer of mine for the wife, and when my local computer store said they were out, I went on line to get a new Trackman wheel. I was very surprised to learn Logitech has discontinued the line.
    So after a failed attempt at using a Trackman Marble, now I’m looking at the M570 as the only possible replacement. I didn’t relealize just how much I used the wheel untill it was gone. While I have no problem with marking alterations to it myself, I wonder if the “manufacturing laziness on Logitech’s part” described by Max is a persistant need in the line, and is his suggestion a satifactory solution to it.

  13. CartacKreeg, I found no need to alter the device. It feels as smooth as any other Logitech Trackball I’ve tried. I’ve actually grown to like the subtle “papery” feel when rolling the ball. If I knew without a doubt that trimming some plastic would make it feel ultra smooth, I’d give it it a try, but I’m happy with it the way it is.

  14. I picked up a M570 a few weeks ago to try (currently use a Trackman Marble Mouse, index finger controlled trackball) mainly because Logitech claimed it had adjustable speed settings so I assumed one could set a button to switch speeds on the fly. I have a couple of programs where this would be very handy.

    Unfortunately this is NOT the case. You still have to go into the Setpoint software and adjust any speed changes.

    I also found the position of the ball to cause my thumb to be contracted back most of the time making it very uncomfortable to use. Have gone back to using the Trackman Marble Mouse. Gave the M570 to my wife who uses it with her laptop and likes it a lot (and she was also using a Marble Mouse).

    sam

  15. I just took mine out of the box and was disappointed with the “rough” feeling as well. Found this site from a search for “logitech m570 review” and read about taking the ball out to cut some plastic.

    Well, I popped the ball out, looked around, popped it back in – night and day difference in smoothness – “rough” feeling completely gone. Bizarre, since I didn’t do anything to alter the unit, but perhaps there was some tiny residual plastic on an edge somewhere that just didn’t get cleared out at the end of manufacturing.

  16. Today, I decided to visit Logitech’s homepage for no particular reason. Unless visiting because I didn’t visit for a while is in itself a reason. Is it? Anyway, I nearly grew wood when I saw that they now have a new trackball. I have been using Logitech trackballs (trackmans) since the early nineties. (http://forums.mariosworld.org/showthread.php?t=77) I narrowly missed out on being able to buy one today, so I’m a sad panda. I’ll be interested to see if the SKU I get needs the “shave”. When I read that there was some noise and “roughness” I couldn’t believe it. The solution is easy and straight forward enough, although maybe it was quickly rectified and they had already produced newer batches. I shall know, and inform come Monday, via ==> http://forums.mariosworld.org/showthread.php?t=285. I game 8 hours a day, sometimes more, so I should be able to tell reasonably quickly if this new trackball is the new king. I hope so. I am a true Logitech TrackMan/Trackball aficionado.

    Good to see a site (this one) dedicate to these special devices. This has now spurred me into getting motivated to dig out all my Logitech mice and take a “group” picture. 😛

  17. I loved this trackball so much that I bought one for home and one for the office, Been waiting forever for a good trackball.

  18. I looked into getting the M570 trackball after I started getting severe wrist pain from working at my computer so long. A friend recommended that I specifically get one that had the ball on the side so I could use my thumb to manipulate it. I’m not sure if many other companies besides Logitech make a thumb manipulated trackball. Although I thought the price was high, I bought it. I’ve only had it about 4 months and my wrist pain is virtually gone. I know that this device isn’t perfect, but for those wanting wrist pain relief, it’s a good place to start.

  19. Steven, you wouldn’t be able to email the height of this? I checked the manual online; no dimensions published. I’m a huge fan of the “thumball” and have used the corded version of the Trackman forever. Love it so much I bought a second one for work. I’m worried that the new one looks physically taller. I would be so disappointed if it did not clear the bottom of my desk when I push in my keyboard tray (on a slider; not the adjustable kind). Thanks for the review! -Betty (bdiegel@gmail.com)

  20. I calculated the Logitech M570 to be about 700dpi.

    I’ll be publishing numbers for CST, Logitech, CST, Kensington Expert, Kensington Slimblade and others in the future.

    Logitech, Microsoft and especially Kensington should publish their DPI numbers. Mice manufacturers do. Meanwhile we’re in the Trackball Ghetto.

  21. I’ve been waiting for a higher resolution version of the old trackman for years, and I somehow miss the release of this thing by over year! Just bought one and I’d say it’s at least twice the resolution.

  22. Steven; I read this review with eager eyes and the bit that made me smile were your comments on TF2.

    I’ve been looking for a replacement of my MTO for a couple of years and after using one for over ten years, I’ve even had to take my “new” model and swap parts over to the “old” one. Seems to kinda work but the shininess of both balls (I couldn’t word this any better way) has gone and the metal rests are half worn.

    Before I admit defeat and give in to Logitech, I was wondering if you had experienced the same problem with your mice; during daily use and even in gaming, I find the mouse pointer speeds up and slows down at random and I have to keep changing the settings via Intelipoint. It even cuts out completely at times, making the disconnect/connect USB sound. As you can imagine this can be quite frustrating mid-chopper flight in BF3. I’ve done the usual hardware 101 stuff but just thought I’d ask if you’d come across this issue?

    Anyway, ramble over, good read and I’m off to read the 4 month follow up now.

    Jack.

  23. Jack, I’ve never had any issues with my MS Trackball Optical or the new Logitech M570 disconnecting/changing acceleration like you described. In fact, my MTO was faithful until the day I replaced it; Kinda makes me a little sad, actually.

  24. Just had an M570 given to me, on request, for Christmas.

    I too was concerned about the size compared to my old MTO and was pleasantly surprised by the good fit to my hand.

    Pleased so far after 2 days of use, highly recommended.

  25. Great replacement for my beloved MS Trackball. Slightly different feel but very similar. My M570 was completely silent and silky smooth out of the box, suggesting that the plastic causing slight friction is manufacturing variation. Highly recommended.

  26. Great review. You say the back and forward button can be programmed, but how about the scroll button?

    Because i use the scroll button on my ikari laser mouse for refreshing web page. The two side button for opening in a new tab and close the tab.

    Can i use that setting’s on this trackball?

    1. Rey, I took a look at the programming option in the SetPoint software and didn’t see an option to assign “refresh” the middle mouse button, but there were other commands like “flip page” and “redo”. So, my guess is that you cannot program “refersh” to that button, unless it goes by another name. I always just hit ctrl+r to refresh, so I guess I’ve never had the need for this.

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