For people with mobility issues or others who simply prefer a trackball mouse, Logitech is one of the only big names still serving this niche sector. With their MX Ergo being the top of the line model in this category, how does it hold up, especially for someone who doesn’t fall into either of those two categories?
Breaking the MX Ergo out of its packaging and you will immediately be impressed by the build quality here. This mouse is absolutely massive and will fill up even the biggest hands. The top is coated with a grippy material that is pleasing to the touch and the entire unit is remarkably hefty.
While that last point would be a problem in a normal mouse, the MX Ergo is not meant to be moved around. Instead all 259 grams of it stay put while you navigate your thumb on the trackball, and all of this isn’t even considering the big party trick here.
Under the mouse there is a large metal plate with a rocker that allows the device to be tiled to 20 degrees so your hand rests on it in a more natural position compared to the horizontal orientation on a regular mouse.
While it is a party trick, it is one with substance as it’s a simply amazing feature. It’s amazing how much more comfortable your hand, wrist and arm is when in this position and we used it like this for most of the time we had the device. This makes us really excited for the MX Vertical – a more traditional mouse with a more aggressive tilt – but that’s a story for another day.
The tile functionality here is very smooth with a mechanism that feels reliable and a bit fun to mess around with.
So the MX Ergo is made remarkably well and comfortable to use, but the trackball is the main point here and it too is great. Going into this I had never spent any significant time with a trackball and I was up and running with this setup in less than an hour.
If anyone finds this a bit daunting, know that it’s intuitive as can be and the time taken to get back up to speed is negligible.
That being said, there are a few quirks you will have to master to use this properly. By default many will find the sensitivity far to low and will find the need to bump it up significant to reduce the amount of thumb movement to go across a page.
While this is easily done with the nice but simple Logitech Options software, it creates another problem in the fact that it makes fine movements like selecting text and cropping images much more difficult.
Logitech has compensated for this with a “Precision Mode” button just above the trackball which significantly reduces sensitivity until it is pressed again. This didn’t help much for two reasons: the button is difficult to press, and it takes enough time to the point where you’d probably want to just struggle a bit with that fiddly text selection.
This really feels like a half-baked solution and maybe some intelligent software that can detect settings where Precision Mode is needed would be a better idea. Just know that you will need to compromise between high enough sensitivity to move around pages at a decent pace, and low enough sensitivity to do finer work.
All of that being said, it’s still a pleasure to use for productivity and the tactile feedback even makes monotonous work a little better. When you start becoming comfortable with this trackball and your keyboard again you’ll start cutting through work with ease.
For gaming, however, it’s not recommended. While you can get by and practice would make it better, it’s just not ideal. Some genres work better than others – digital card games fared better than the insanity in Enter the Gungeon – but the MX Ergo should be reserved for work only.
And with the battery life here, you will get a lot of work done. Our review unit actually showed up without a charging cable and, even though we could power it with a regular micro USB cable, there was no need. We went weeks and eventually had to return our review unit without ever needing to charge it. We fully believe Logitech when they say that the 500mAh battery will last for four months.
The only other small problem we have here is the position of the two main buttons. They feel too far from the trackball and you can find yourself hitting the ridge above that trackball expecting a button there, though this may be subjective. Those that buy this product may find themselves making much use of the two smaller buttons on that ridge in place of the larger ones.
Now for price. In South Africa the MX Ergo has an RRP of R1 999. Is that expensive? Yes, but we feel it’s justified by the amazing build quality, ease of use, and the fact that this is a niche product.
While the MX Ergo has not convinced me to permanently switch over to a trackball, it’s made a compelling case to do so and I will keep it in the back of my mind should I want to make that change in the future.