Over the last few years, laptops have been outfitter with numerous new innovations to replace the standard mouse. Through all of these, a few have been fan favorites and have stood the test of time, while others have gone the way of the dinosaur. Now, new laptop purchasers are left with a choice of either a touchpad, trackball, or an old school mouse.
Very few laptops these days do not include a touchpad. Though they are extremely accurate is configured correctly, the main draw is the convenience. You just can’t beat the fact that it is always there, ready to work, and does not require any type of peripheral to operate. Most people that carry a laptop on a regular basis already have enough to keep track of with the inevitable extra battery pack, AC power cord, and the power brick. Adding one more extra is one more thing to keep track of in the long run.
The downside to the touchpad, however, is its location. Depending on your typing position, it can be ridiculously easy to accidentally move the cursor with the bottom of your hand. To make matter worse, if your touchpad is set to allow you to click or double click by touching, or even worse navigate forward and back with a swipe of your finger, you can find yourself typing in the wrong spot or lose the page you are on altogether. To put it bluntly, if you find yourself fat fingering keys, or if you are prone to potentially embarrassing angry tirades in an airport, another option may be the way to go for you.
Any mouse with a USB connection can be used with a laptop these days. In addition, a wireless mouse can be used if the laptop has either an infrared sensor, or more commonly, bluetooth capability. The mouses made specifically for laptops are generally smaller than your normal desktop mouse, and this is a welcome attribute to most users. The advantage of this is that it won’t take up much space in your laptop bag. This method does come with a couple of drawbacks, though. Most notably, the mouse is one more piece of equipment to be damaged or lost. The other is that if your issue is accidentally brushing up against the touchpad while typing, you also run the possibility of a laptop mouse being too small for your hands. If that is the case, than a trackball may be the best option.
The trackball is basically a mouse with the ball on the top. To move the cursor you manipulate the ball with either your thumb or index finger, dependent upon which is more comfortable for you. The left and right buttons are placed in different configurations on different models, and some have upwards of 4 additional buttons which can be configured. This peripheral takes up more space than a mouse, but requires little to no manipulation to use effectively.
Each of these options have their own pros and cons, and it is up to the individual user to determine which will best suit their needs.