Tech companies and visionaries would have us believe that the future of computer interaction will all be either touch screens or holograms floating in front of our faces. Our present, however, is still very much tied down to indirect pointing devices like mice and touchpads. These aren’t the only input methods for computers, though, and some prefer a type that traces its origins even farther back than the venerable mouse. There are some people who still swear by trackballs that may now look alien to our eyes because of the convenience and precision they offer. Kensington is definitely still heavily invested in this market, and it just launched a wireless version of its elegant trackball that eerily calls to mind one of pop culture’s less savory AIs.
Although mice became the predominant computer pointing device, it was hardly the first one. To some extent, the older trackball had an advantage in precision and economy of movement since you won’t have to lift and move the base around. It may look and feel weird to the majority of people who have grown around the mouse, but there is no shortage of professionals that find it more ergonomic and more usable. Kensington was actually one of the first to make the trackball popular with its Expert Mouse, and the new SlimBlade Pro tries to keep it ahead of the game.
The SlimBlade is one of the company’s most recent trackballs, and this new “Pro” model cuts off the cord to help keep your work desk neat and tidy. You can still use it with a USB-C cable if that’s what floats your boat, but its selling point is the wireless and Bluetooth connectivity options. It uses a built-in rechargeable battery that’s advertised to last up to four months on a full charge, freeing your mind of worries as much as it frees your desk of an additional cable.
The Kensington SlimBlade Pro definitely looks classy and refined on your desk without the wire. The base’s black surface contrasts nicely with the shiny red ball that serves as the main control of the trackball, almost like a crystal ball or gem that gives you power over your computer. Seen from the top, though, the trackball is almost like a glowing red eye staring at you, reminiscent of HAL 9000’s iconic and notorious appearance.
A trackball may now be the distant minority compared to even touch screens, but its design offers ergonomic benefits over a conventional mouse. The Kensington SlimBlade Pro even takes that to the next level by providing a finger-operated design that can be used by either the left or the right hand. It will definitely require retraining muscle memory, but for the professionals who have gone through that process, it was well worth the growing pains.