Kensington SlimBlade Review Trackball Mouse With Scrolling And Programmable Buttons

Thursday, March 04, 2021

A few things, out of many, that can be said about trackballs are that they are odd and futuristic looking contraptions, even going back to the first computer trackball ever made - roller ball - which looked like a dome-shaped alien spacecraft concocted in Area 5! 
Aside from the large five-pin bowling ball the roller ball used, the basic trackball design hasn't really changed all that much and newer trackballs are still very much eye-catchy like the Kensington SlimBlade trackball mouse and its startling red ball reminiscent of a yummy red gumball!
The SlimBlade ball is about 2 inches in diameter and 116 grams in weight; hence it is much smaller than a five-pin ball, which is about the same size and weight as a duckpin ball (5 inches diameter/ 1.5kg weight). The SlimBlade ball is made of the same hard plastic (phenolic resin) as snooker balls and bowling balls; hence the SlimBlade ball also doubles as a mini bowling ball.
Just like most trackballs, the SlimBlade ball can be lifted off with the fingers since the ball is not attached to the body frame of the SlimBlade trackball. The ball fits snugly inside the inverted dome socket, about three quarters into it so, the ball won't fall out under normal use unless you tilt the trackball on its side or turn it upside down. The silver ring around it, it's made of plastic with a chrome finish. The ball doesn't made any noise when rolling; hence it's silent.
According to the specs, the Kensington SlimBlade uses a fixed 1600DPI dual laser sensor tucked away inside the crevices of the ball socket to track movement so, it appears the SlimBlade uses both optical and laser tracking to track movement, which is a rather unique setup since most mice use either optical or laser. For instance, the SureTrack mouse and the Expert Wireless trackball are optical mice as they use an optical led sensor. There is no mention of the DPI resolution nor can it be adjusted.
The entire base of the Kensington SlimBlade is also made of plastic and has a 15 degree incline; hence the SlimBlade sits at an upright angle towards you. There are small rubber feet on each bottom corner and a large rubber ring in the centre, all of which help to stabilize the trackball securely on a desk. The buttons are located on top and they are four of them surrounding the ball, one located on each corner. Scrolling if performed by twisting the ball clockwise or anticlockwise, although twisting the ball also has the function of zoom in/out (when in document/view mode) and volume control (when in media mode). All four buttons make a loud sharp clicking noise.
The SlimBlade buttons have the same wide design as the left/right click buttons on a regular mouse. In fact, the SlimBlade has technically two left click buttons and two right click buttons because any of the four buttons can be assigned as a left click button and/or right click button, as well as other functions such as keyboard shortcuts and snippet inserter (can store up to 10 snippets).
The keyboard shortcuts are limited to the following: Page Up/Home/Page Down/End, Auto Scroll, Track Scroll, Scroll Left/Right/Up/Down, Media playback, Web browser (back/forward/stop/refresh), Editing (copy/paste/undo/redo/cut/select all), Window tabs (maximize/minimize/close/show desktop), Window snapping (left/right), change virtual desktops, Open File/Folder and System shortcuts (task manger/lock screen/task view/show system search/show run dialog/copy screen to clipboard/open explorer window).
The button remapping is done via KensingtonWorks software, which is compatible with Windows (Win 10/ Win 8.1/Win 7), MacOS computers (10.8 or later) and Chrome (OS44 or later). The KensingtonWorks software lets you also adjust the pointer speed, acceleration speed, scrolling speed and orientation (clockwise/anticlockwise).
The edge perimeter of the SlimBlade body has been rubberized and integrates a rubber tag with Kensington branding and a "mystery slot" on the right side, which is designed to daisy chain multiple trackballs together by inserting the rubber tag into the slot. A non-detachable 1.3 meters long fabric cord has been attached to the front left side of the SlimBlade trackball and features a USB-A rubber plug connector terminal. The total weight of the SlimBlade is 305 grams, including the ball and cable which has a medium stiff fabric sheath. Without the cable, the trackball weighs 196 grams.
Being a trackball, the Kensington SlimBlade mouse is almost exclusively for productivity purposes, improving workflow and hand ergonomics to alleviate carpal tunnel. Because of the ball design, the Kensington SlimBlade shares the same advantage as all other trackballs and that is being a true ambidextrous computer mouse that fits perfectly whether you're left handed or right handed. If you do suffer from carpal tunnel or wrist pain, it's worth looking into a vertical mouse such as the Pro Fit Ergo, which is also a trackball. You can buy the Kensington SlimBlade trackball mouse from Kensington amazon UK, Amazon Germany and Amazon France.

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