Trackpad vs Ergonomic Mouse

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Updated November 15, 2022

If you are new to the world of computer accessories, you may look to compare a trackpad vs an ergonomic mouse. Even the best computer mouse could benefit from some ergonomic functionality, and the same goes for trackpads. So what are the main differences between trackpads and ergonomically designed mice? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Trackpads and mice are the two primary ways by which modern computer users control the cursor, scroll wheel, and more.
  • Ergonomic designs, including ambidextrous designs, help to minimize repetitive strain injuries, though they feature a steep learning curve.
  • Standard trackpads on a flat surface are easier to use than ergonomic accessories or even a standard mouse, and they also tend to be cheaper.

Differences Between Trackpads and Ergonomic Mice

The primary differences here are design and location, similar to when comparing a vertical mouse to a regular mouse. Trackpads can be standalone, but most of the time, they are permanently affixed to the keybed of a laptop, which is not true when comparing an ergonomic mouse to an ambidextrous mouse.

Insider Tip

Ergonomic mice have plenty of nooks and crannies, so be sure to clean and maintain them regularly.

On the other hand, ergonomic designs are built to minimize strains and injuries, something that cannot be said when comparing an Overwatch controller to a mouse. Ergonomic mice take some time to get used to if you are comparing a controller to a mouse and keyboard for Apex Legends. Beyond these differences, other unique signifiers are present in both device types.

Ergonomics

There is a reason that word is attached to certain mice, as ergonomically-designed accessories work to minimize repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and various stressors derived from long-term use. These mice may look funky and cumbersome, but they are manufactured so that your arm, elbow, hands, and fingers have a natural resting position. Trackpads may be more convenient, but they are essentially just flat sheets, offering little or no protection from misalignment during use.

Learning Curve

There is no way around it. Ergonomic mice take a bit of time before getting the hang of use. To compound this issue, there is no universal ergonomic design here, as multiple designs are all competing to be the “one mouse to rule them all.” This presents a significant learning curve for most users. On the other hand, trackpads are a tried-and-true technology that has been used for decades. They just make sense, with no learning required.

STAT: There’s no right-pointing device for everyone or every task. Some swear by the mouse, especially for precision work. Many prefer a trackpad, and it’s the default option for laptop users. (source)

Price

Ergonomic mice are uniquely-designed accessories with unique pricetags to match. You can compare shops to get good deals, but the cost of entry will still be steeper than with trackpads. Why is that? Trackpads ship standard on all modern laptops and third-party USB trackpads use inexpensive technology and materials, making them budget-friendly.

Trackpad Vs Ergonomic FAQs

What's a neutral posture?

This is a posture that allows you to rest your hand on top of the mouse's programmable buttons without the risk of injuries and strains.

What the heck is a Magic Trackpad?

This is Apple's proprietary standalone trackpad, in line with the Magic Mouse and other wireless mice. This mouse pad does include mouse buttons, like a traditional mouse, but that is where the similarities stop.

How to improve your efficiency on a mouse?

Whether using a standard mouse, an Apple Magic Mouse, a wireless mouse, or an ergonomic design, the key here is practice and patience. Avoid wrist pain by keeping track of your body positioning and making adjustments accordingly. You can also change the programmable buttons to suit your body.
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