*UPDATE* The full review is up!
It was very pleasant surprise to see an Xbox 360 Trackball Controller arrive in the mail, Monday. If you’ve followed this blog in the past, you realize how long I’ve been waiting to see someone put out a functioning trackball controller for any console. Thanks to Jay Garcia for coming to the rescue.
I was hoping to do a review this week, but to be fair, I’m giving myself more time to get used to the controller before making any conclusions. I can, however, tell you what some of my initial impressions are:
- Great care has been made to make the Xbox 360 Trackball Controller function well, physically. The relocation of the “right thumbstick click” button to the underside of the controller works well, and I quickly got comfortable with it.
- The ball sinks about halfway into the controller. At first, this seemed odd, because most trackball mice have the ball more “nested”. However, I think this was a great decision, because it creates more space around the ball for the thumb to play with. Also, because of this design, the ball does not lock into place and can be lifted out at any time for cleaning.
- I was told that the controller works very well with Call of Duty: Black Ops, so I’ve primarily been playing that game with the device. I did, however try Battlefield: Bad Company 2 to compare.
I could not get the controller to feel as consistent with that game, but before I come to any conclusions, I’ll ask the developers if they have any tips. *UPDATE* Jay Garcia explained how to calibrate the controller for each game, and it worked BEAUTIFULLY in Bad Company 2 – More to come in my review.
- The first thing I noticed is that I could perform a much wider range of movements than I could with a thumbstick. For example, in Black Ops I was able to set mouse sensitivity to 7 of 10, making near-twitch movements, as well as ultra-fine, highly subtle adjustments to the cross-hair position without any difficulty.
- For people who are accustomed to using trackball mice on the PC, very fast “twitch” motions over a high range on the trackball might not have predictable results. I’m waiting to get more comfortable with the device before making conclusions.
- The controller comes with two trackballs, one black plastic one and one heavier, metal ball bearing. The metal ball certainly has nice visual appeal, but I am sticking with the plastic one for now.
I hope to have a more complete review, soon!