Kensington's largest trackball has a huge 55mm ball for accurate tracking. It's big, simple and highly effective, but doesn’t come cheap.
To look at photos of the Kensington Expert, it seems like a distinctly modest device with its simple shape and four buttons surrounding its central ball. However, looks can be deceiving and the Expert is in fact a monster of a trackball. The ball itself has a diameter of 55mm, while the buttons surrounding it are massively oversized, giving the lie to the optical illusion.
But what else does the Expert have going for it, other than size? Well, it’s an ambidextrous design, like most of Kensington’s extensive trackball range, so it’s open for left and right-handed users to adopt. What’s more, the Expert includes the company’s patented Scroll Ring, which replaces the scroll wheel of most other mice or trackballs. It surrounds the ball and rotates clockwise and anti-clockwise around the ball to provide down and up scrolling respectively (though this can be reversed).
Combined with the unfamiliar ambidextrous design, you would think it might take a while to get used to the Expert, but that wasn’t our experience. The Scroll Ring feels totally natural and is far more comfortable to use than having to bend a finger to roll a scroll wheel, not least because you can use your thumb and fingers to turn the ring.
Meanwhile, it’s equally intuitive to get to grips with the ambidextrous layout with its simple four-button arrangement around the ball. All this and the trackball itself feels superbly accurate and smooth in use. This is partly due to the size of the ball and partly down to the ability to manipulate it with two or even three fingers – you can even get your thumb involved too – making for a precise and stable feel. Notably, though, we still found it easier to precisely move the cursor left and right for long distances using thumb-operated models, as your thumb has a greater range of left-to-right motion.
For all that, we generally are totally won over by the feel, accuracy, and approachability of the Expert. However, there’s no denying it is somewhat lacking for features. While the four buttons are big and easy to hit, that’s the bare minimum for most desktop users. That’s left and right click, back and forward and that’s your lot – you don’t even get the middle-click button of a scroll wheel.
However, you can use Kensington’s excellent KensingtonWorks software to assign commands to button combinations, as well as remapping the function of individual buttons. Specifically, you can combine the top two buttons or the bottom two buttons to trigger whatever function you like – there are dozens from which to choose.
This wireless version of the Expert includes both a USB receiver-based 2.4GHz wireless mode and a Bluetooth connection, but if you don’t need wireless there is a wired version that costs £20 less.
Included in the fairly high price of this trackball is a comfortable that far from always necessary rubber wrist rest that attaches to the back of the trackball, and a pair of AAA batteries to power the unit is provided as well.
Kensington Expert pros and cons
- Class-leading trackball performance
- Comfortable design
- Effortless button operation
- A bit large for small hands
- Limited number of buttons
Kensington Expert specs
The Kensington Expert specs list is:
|186g (without receiver or wrist rest)
|63 x 125 x 39 (W x D x H)
|4 (left, right, back, forward) all programmable
|2.4GHz USB dongle and Bluetooth
|Rubber wrist rest, DPI button on underside, 2 x AAA batteries
|Up to 100 days
Kensington Expert price
The Kensington Expert is $90, making it quite expensive for its simple feature set, but decent value considering its size.
Price: Expect to pay $90 (£95).
Kensington Expert review conclusion
The Kensington Expert’s lack of extra buttons could be limiting for some users, especially given the high price, but we found this limit didn’t overly trouble us in daily use. Otherwise, the Kensington Expert is a superb trackball in just about every way. Its large, finger-operated ball design makes for class-leading accuracy and stability, while its simple four-button layout is effortlessly intuitive to use. Add in the equally intuitive Scroll Ring and this device absolutely nails the core comfort and ease of use aspects required of a trackball.
For more trackball options, check out our best trackball guide.
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