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.
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.)
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.
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!
- 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
- 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 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.