Computer mice may not receive the same kind of ingenuity and fanfare as other desktop-friendly tech, but if you’ve been scanning shelves for a solid alternative to traditional point-and-click models, the Kensington SlimBlade Pro TrackBall is an excellent choice.
A cinch to connect and easy to customize, the SlimBlade Pro combines comfort and control in one easy-to-use device. And while I was a bit apprehensive when it came to shoving my wireless Logitech mouse aside, after only a couple of hours, I was proud to call myself a trackball devotee.
Design: Simple Layout, Cheap Clicks
- Dimensions: 7.8 x 6.1 x 2.56in (198 x 154 x 65mm)
- Weight: 1.05lbs (0.48kg)
- Power source: Battery-powered (comes with one lithium-ion)
- Battery life: Up to 4 months
The SlimBlade Pro Trackball is a sleek and rather unassuming piece of desktop hardware, save for the glaringly-maroon titular trackball situated at its center. A glossy gray casing covers the mouse from front to back, with indentations marking off the four main click-points.
Underneath, you’ll find four rubber stoppers to help keep the Pro from sliding here and there, and even with the trackball in place, the device is light and easy to move around.
The trackball itself is smooth to the touch and extremely easy to roll and rotate. One thing to keep in mind, though, is if you need to lift the mouse up for any reason, it’s a good idea to cover the ball with your hand, because there’s no locking mechanism to keep it from falling out of its holster.
One minor sore spot of note is in the SlimBlade’s actual clicks. While the four click-points don’t require much force to drive down, the resulting sound errs a little on the cheap plastic side. It’s nothing major, but I do wish each click landed with a bit more gusto.
- Connections: Bluetooth, 2.4GHz, USB cable
- Compatible with: PC, Mac, Linux
The Pro offers three connectivity options for your PC or Mac: 2.4GHz through an included wireless USB dongle (which can be tucked away in a compartment underneath the mouse), Bluetooth 5.0, or a hard-wired hookup with an included USB-A to USB-C cable. And if you’re using hardware that prioritizes USB-C, the Pro also comes with a USB-A to USB-C converter that you can use for both the wireless dongle and the USB wire.
Cycling between the three connection options is as easy as toggling the slider on the left side of the mouse. All the way up is 2.4GHz, all the way down is Bluetooth, with the middle position relegated to wired connectivity (which also disables wireless pairing).
If Bluetooth is your method of choice, you’ll find a pairing button on the right side of the mouse. Press and hold for three seconds to put the Pro into pairing mode, then head into the Bluetooth settings of your computer to locate the device (it should appear as “SlimBlade Pro”).
Responsiveness: A Learning Curve You’ll Pick up Quick
Over the years, our brains have been naturally hard-wired to use traditional point-and-click mice, but there’s certainly some major pros to a trackball setup.
Perhaps the biggest advantage is that you’ll be able to give your wrist a much-needed break. For those who have never used this kind of device, you’ll be doing all of your cursor movements with the trackball itself—no dragging required.
During normal usage, I found it most comfortable to seat four of my fingers on the ball, while resting my thumb on the left mouse-click. When it’s time to scroll through a page, simply grab the trackball with all five fingers and twist it left (for scrolling up) and right (for scrolling down).
Remember to clean your trackball now and again. You can sanitize your mouse with household items like dish detergent and knock it out in a few minutes flat.
I experienced nothing in the way of lag or stilted cursor movement at any point, and while using the trackball felt a little odd to me at first, I quickly grew accustomed to its stationary design—to the point where I actually prefer it over a regular mouse now. Plus, Kensington has a long track record of rock-solid peripherals, and the Pro is no exception.
While you’ll be able to adjust some basic response features of the SlimBlade Pro through your computer’s built-in mouse settings (I was able to adjust tracking, scrolling, and double-click speed with macOS), one of the biggest perks of the Pro is its extended customizations that you’ll gain access to by downloading the free KensingtonWorks software.
KensingtonWorks is available for download on Windows and Mac computers.
It only took me a minute or two to run through the setup wizard, and after approving a few security permissions, I had the software launched in no time.
KensingtonWorks offers a fairly straightforward dashboard of controls, with adjustment options for SlimBlade Pro buttons, the pointer, and scrolling. So whether you’re left- or right-handed, you’ll be able to personalize the Pro to however your paws run the show.
“Buttons” is where you’ll find the most customizations, with options available for each of the mouse’s four main click-points. Let’s take the right click for instance: After selecting this button, a side menu will open to display a range of functions not only for basic mouse and keyboard commands, but for video conferencing (where commands include answer call, decline call, share meeting, etc.), media, web browsers, and more. You’ll also have the ability to remove actions from your click-points.
Pointer customizations allow you to adjust everything from speed to single-axis movement, where you can lock the trackball into either vertical or horizontal control planes. The scrolling tab will allow you to reverse or normalize your scrolling orientation, as well as toggle something called Inertia Scroll on or off, which will continue a page scroll using the momentum you transferred to the trackball (without you having to manually scroll through the page).
Should You Buy the SlimBlade Pro Trackball?
If you’re tired of wearing down mousepads or needing to wrap your hand and wrist in a splint (carpal tunnel is no joke, folks), the Kensington SlimBlade Pro Trackball is a great way to add new life and convenience to something as simple as a computer mouse.
Sure, it’s a little more expensive than the average point-and-click setup, but when you consider the device’s three easy connection options, customizations, and smooth look and feel, that $105 price doesn’t sound so bad.
Kensington SlimBlade Pro TrackBall
$83 $95 Save $12
- Ergonomic design
- Comfortable and responsive
- Multiple connection options
- Plenty of customizations
- No locking mechanism for trackball
- Plastic is a little on the cheap side