Are you an AutoCAD Drafter that is on the fence about making the switch from a Traditional Mouse to a Logitech MX Ergo Wireless Trackball?

Before shelling out your hard earned cash – take a look at our opinions after using the device for the past six months.

Trackballs aren’t what they used to be

Photo Credit: kellyjo_13 on eBay

Many years ago, I was visiting my grandparents when I needed to jump on their computer to research something. I sat down at the desk, pulled out the keyboard tray, and found a grey monstrosity where the mouse should be.

My grandfather decided to make the switch from a traditional mouse to a trackball. I’m not sure of the make and model but I do remember an abnormally large device with a huge ball resting on the top. I spent several painstaking minutes using three fingers to push the pointer across the screen. Before long I had written off the idea of a trackball and didn’t touch another one until about six months ago.

One day, Steve brought a Logitech MX Ergo Wireless Trackball into the office, placed it on my desk, and told me that I just had to try this thing. He said that it was amazing – I was skeptical.

Using the Logitech MX Ergo Trackball with AutoCAD

Superior Shop Drawings - Logitech MX Ergo Trackball

After a couple of weeks of listening to Steve rave about how amazing his new Trackball was, I finally bit the bullet and ordered one for myself.

At the time I doing a fair but of work in the evenings with my laptop. If you’ve ever tried to use AutoCAD with a Trackpad, you know how much fun that is (insert sarcasm). To get around the drawbacks of the Trackpad – I was using a traditional mouse on the wrist support of my laptop. Aside from having limited work-space to pan around the drawing – it started to leave wear marks on my computer.

My hope was that I would be able to leave the Logitech MX Ergo Trackball in a stationary position and be able to more easily work in a recliner (We work long hours and sometimes a desk just isn’t comfortable). I’ve spent the past six months with my new Trackball and have logged quite a few hours with it.

What I don’t Like about the Logitech MX Ergo Trackball

Logitech MX Ergo Trackball - Cons

Transitioning from a traditional mouse to a trackball is downright strange. It takes a few drafting sessions before you get past the fatigue that it puts on your thumb. As you learn to use it, everything feels cumbersome and requires deliberate effort. This in and of itself isn’t a fault of the device – it is simply a learning curve that you need to work through.

The biggest complaint I have with the actual device is the scroll wheel. My previous device (Logitech MX Master 2S) has an automatic scroll wheel that shifts from ratcheting to free-spin depending on how fast you scroll. Before that I had a mouse with a switch that allowed you to manually change the scroll wheel behavior (Logitech Darkfield Performance Mouse).

The scroll wheel on the Logitech MX Ergo is always ratcheting and I really wish you could switch it on and off – even if it were manual. This can create zooming issues when bouncing back and forth between a word processor and AutoCAD. I think this is due to the smooth scrolling feature.

My only other gripe is that the track ball itself picks up typical dirt and dust. On occasion the trackball will feel stiff and the pointer won’t move quite like it should. A quick spin resolves the issue but it is a minor annoyance.

What I Like about the Logitech MX Ergo Trackball

Logitech MX Ergo Trackball - Pro

The one feature of this trackball that I really enjoy is something that I didn’t think I would really care about – the magnetic base. This allows the device to be used in two positions. It can be snapped into a flat position or tilted up at a twenty degree angle. While this may not seem like much – I find the twenty degree setting to be very comfortable for long drafting sessions.

In addition to the standard buttons (Left, Right, Scroll, Forward, and Back) – is also allows you to cycle it into a precision mode for fine movements. I tend to keep the speed quite high and being able to slow it down for intricate AutoCAD movements is very handy.

Another great feature is that the device allows you to cycle Bluetooth connections so that it can be used on multiple devices. I find this particularly handle if I’m going from my laptop to my Microsoft Surface (I hate the Surface Mouse for AutoCAD but I’ll save that for another post).

Conclusion

With six months of use under my belt with the Logitech MX Ergo Trackball – I can absolutely say that I have become a convert. If you find yourself working on a laptop, being able to keep the device in a stationary position while you lounge in a chair is well worth the learning curve.

If Logitech were to update this trackball with the same automatic scroll wheel that is used in the Logitech MX Master 2S – I would buy one in a heartbeat for use on my primary AutoCAD Machine.