A lot of headlines claimed Logitech was "bringing back" the trackball with the release of the MX Ergo. For many of us, though, the trackball never left—Logitech did. The MX Ergo is coming back to a landscape where other fresh and increasingly popular options exist.
The Elecom EX-G is one of them. It cost less than half the $100 price of the MX Ergo and has an extra button for your ring finger (with Omron switches backing them that haven't failed me yet). Unlike the Ergo, it's also available in wired and left-handed versions. Did I mention that I like the Elecom's back and forward buttons significantly better, too? Spec wise, the 750 to 1500 DPI range on the EX-G is also preferable to me as an out of the box configuration versus the Ergo's 320 to 440 DPI range (but don't worry about that too much on a trackball). The only complaints I have about the EX-G are that you may want to replace the ball with an alternative and that the wireless is flakey in an RF-heavy household beyond a few-foot range. For my main PC, I'd buy the wired EX-G if I had to do it again, as its trackball doesn't need to move around much. My wireless EX-G is working perfectly at the office, though.
On the other hand, Logitech's own M570 typically sells for about half of its own suggested price, making it one-quarter the cost of the MX Ergo. At that price, even with bad switches (which I've heard are better in new stock), it's still a compelling offering compared to the Ergo. The original design of the back and forward buttons alone make a solid case for it and the robust wireless performance makes it better for HTPC duty than the Elecom. I'm afraid I can't point at the MX Ergo and explain away the $75 price difference. Frankly, I think the M570 is selling for cheaper than it should right now.
That's great and all fish, but why would I ever want to use a trackball in the first place? First of all, thank you for reading this far if you're exclusively a mouse user. That's a fair question. Since this is a review, and not a sales pitch, I'll keep this part short. For mobile and HTPC use, nothing beats having your mousing surface integrated into your pointing device. Nearly as significantly, I've found that my hand and wrist feel better if I switch up the hardware I'm using to push my cursor around. That said, if you're not already sold on trackballs in general, I can't in good conscience recommend you shell out $100 for the MX Ergo. It would just be too big of a gamble.
So, if you aren't sure about this whole trackball business, but you're willing to give it a chance, pick up a cheap Logitech M570 and take it for a spin. If you hate it, good news: it was cheap and it's potentially not long for this world anyway. If you like it, that's also good news, because if its switches start to die, you can transplant the ball into an Elecom EX-G and still come out ahead compared to the cost of the MX Ergo. Or, you know, buy the MX Ergo. It's terrific if you don't expect the things I complained about to bother you.
Personally, I'm going to keep using the MX Ergo as my daily driver at home. There are a handful of problems to debate about, but the biggest one is the price compared to other comparable offerings. I've already cleared that hurdle to bring you this review, though. As long as the buttons keep working, I'm perfectly willing to accept that, like the new Logitech logo, a few things about the MX Ergo come up a little short.