I queued this one up in advance so I’d have a post to start off the new year. (Be proud of me, dammit!)
Of course, since I’m posting this mere days after receiving the trackball named in the subject field of this entry, you can probably guess that I’m now awaiting my third trackball purchase of the past few months.
The Sanwa Gravi is (more or less) a Japanese company’s rework of the venerable Microsoft Trackball Explorer. It’s comfy and familiar and is very close to being a very good input device overall.
Too bad that this is not one of those cases, like a game of horseshoes or chucking hand grenades, where “very close” is “good enough.”
My first problem was the stiction (“stickiness,” basically) of the ball itself. It hitched or got fully stuck a lot. Oddly enough, the solution to this was… swapping out the ball for the one in the Elecom. Stiction problem resolved!
Unfortunately the other problems couldn’t be solved, no way no how. Firstly, the only way to program the rightmost two buttons (which default to issuing “forward” and “back” commands to your web browser, a “feature” I did not “ask for”) is to install the special software. Great, I did that, can I turn one of those buttons into a double-click? I love having a double-click button.
Well, okay then. So I just turned those two buttons off entirely. But speaking of buttons… I then noticed that the left-click button sometimes… doesn’t. Click. Or it’ll click and kind of forget that I’ve been holding it down for a reason, and sometimes then remember again. Imagine you’re drag-and-dropping something, or drag-selecting a bounding box around stuff, and the mouse decides you didn’t really intend to do that. That gets very frustrating, very quickly. And I do a lot of drag-selecting because I make screenshots almost every day, usually of specific parts of my screen. (Lightshot is great for this, by the way.)
What’s worse, the mouse driver seemed to go to sleep after a minute or so of inactivity. I’d be typing, or watching a video, or whatever, then go to move the mouse pointer… and nothing would happen until I tried again, then it’d behave like it’s supposed to.
Who in their right mind programs their mouse driver to go to sleep? Of all the things on a computer that need an inactivity timer, the mouse is just about the last of them.
So I’ve ripped out the drivers for the Sanwa, and there’s a new device on order. I just have to hang on for a couple of weeks for it to arrive. Maybe the third time really will be the charm…?