Best Input Devices (Jog/Shuttle, Touchpad, Cyborg Mouse, Pen Tablet)

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Best Input Devices (Jog/Shuttle, Touchpad, Cyborg Mouse, Pen Tablet)

Xah Lee, 2010-08-31, 2010-11-05

Discovered quite a few excellent input devices. Here's a quick list and comment.

Cyborg RAT 5 Gaming Mouse

Cyborg RAT 5 gaming mouse 2-s

Cyborg RAT 5 gaming mouse. amazon

“Cyborg RAT 7 Gaming Mouse Reviews”

The Cyborg is probably the best mouse, regardless whether you use it for gaming or not. It's got 7 customizable buttons; standard scroll wheel, but plus a thumb scroll wheel! Says some incredible dpi but i never care about the dpi much as long as it is decent.

Who Needs 7 Buttons and 2 Scroll Wheels?

I do, even for normal work that's not a game.

I'm a functional guy. What i like most about this mouse is 7 programmable buttons and 2 scroll wheels. My current mouses both have 5 buttons. (i use 2 mouses at all times, one for each hand, whichever comes natural. Been using 2 mouses since mid 1990s.) Both of my current mouse has 5 buttons. But that's not enough!

Suppose you are in a web browser. The left is click, and right is contextual menu. The middle button can close a tab, or it can open a link in a new tab. This is more convenient than using one hand to hold Ctrl and the other hand to click. The 4th and 5th button are for page back/forward.

So there, all used up. What more do i want? I want 2 more buttons to switch to next/prev tab, to begin with.

(you might think you don't need the right button and can set it to something else. Actually you do, few times a day. e.g. to copy the link url, to right click on toolbar, or in Firefox to use some of the extensions. No, the right-click functionality cannot be done with Control+Click nor by the Menu key.)

Is This Mouse Good?

As of 2010-11-05, according to amazon reviews, this mouse may not be so good. (read those 1 star or 2 star reviews) It's perfect in hardware, but software is bad. • It has tracking issues. • The bundled software sucks. • Not comfortable for small hands, and hard to lift. • It does not work in Mac OS X.

For more mouse reviews, see: Review Of Gaming Mouses.

Contour Design's Jog/Shuttle Control

shuttle pro 2 controller

“Contour Design's Shuttle Pro 2” amazon

See: Why You Need a Jog-Wheel and Shuttle Control?.

Apple's Magic Mouse

Apple magic mouse

“Apple Magic Mouse” amazon Source

Apple Magic Mouse. The entire surface is smooth. No buttons. No scroll wheel. It works by touch sensitivity, like a touch pad. And you can use “gestures”. For example, to left click, tab on the left side with one finger. To scroll, move your finger on the surface up or down. To zoom, touch the surface with two fingers and widen your fingers.

Apple magic mouse

Is this good mouse? No. If you want to impress your friends, yeah. If you want it for industrial use, e.g. heavy gaming, long hours in image-editing or editing in 3D Modeling Software, it would suck badly.

Apple Magic Trackpad

Apple magic trackpad 2

“Apple Magic Trackpad” amazon Source

The Magic Trackpad is just a large trackpad. That's all. I wouldn't say a trackpad is good replacement for a good mouse in general.

Every few years, Apple comes out with shiny and novel toys. Actually i don't recommend them. If you are a casual computer user, yeah Apple's input devices look great and work well. If you are in any way using the computer professionally, such as serious gaming, Photoshop or visual artist, creating 3D Models, or programing (heavy Emacs or keyboard Macros use), Apple's creative input devices are usually less efficient and less ergonomic than the humble homely standard ones.

See also: Apple Keyboard Reviews.

Wacom Pen Tablet

Now, if you do a lot image editing or drawing, you need a pen tablet, absolutely. This is something i can recommend.

  • “Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet” amazon

What About the Best Keyboard and Trackball?

Just to be complete… the best keyboard, gaming or not, to me, is “Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000”.

O wait, actually, i think the best is Kinesis Contoured Keyboard, but i never actually owned it.

The best trackball, is probably the “CST's 5-button L-Trac high performance laser optical trackbal”. Reviews here: Best Trackball Mouse.

CST2545-5W trackball

“CST's 5-button L-Trac high performance laser optical trackball” amazon

and i truely recommend the Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard, if you are a gamer or programer, who must have extra buttons. And no, i don't want 【Ctrl+Meta+Shift+Alt+@】. I want single goddamn key. I rather have 30 extra keys than 5 more modifier keys. All seriously, for example, i have setup AutoHotkey so that i press a single key for 【Alt+Ctrl+Tab】 or 【Alt+Ctrl+Shift+Tab】 or 【Win+Ctrl+Shift+Tab】 or 【Alt+Tab】 or 【Alt+Shift+Tab】. And i have single key for 【Ctrl+PageUp】 and 【Ctrl+PageDown】. And no, i don't want Apple's reductionism rectangular array beautiful shit. I want my buttons to be different shapes, in separate clusters, and curved. A airplane cockpit is a good example that illustrates practical functionality and efficiency. Just imagine, if Apple designs a cockpit, all the controls and knobs become one neat rectangular array of identical buttons. (see: Keyboard Shortcut Design: Dedicated keys, Special Buttons, Extra Keys.)

logitech g13 gameboard 2-s

“Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard” amazon

There, i covered it all. Buy them all!

PS how could i have forgotten headset and web cam? Oh well, for headset i recommend “Sennheiser PC151 headphone” amazon. See: Gaming Headset Reviews.

Microsoft LifeCam Cinema

“Microsoft LifeCam Cinema” amazon.

For webcam i recommend: “Microsoft LifeCam Cinema”.

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