If your main device is a laptop, chances are you are using the mousepad/trackpad that is integrated into your device. Please stop!
No matter what technological advancements are made with trackpads, I remain to be convinced that they can ever be as efficient as a mouse.
Yes, yes, I know that a trackpad can be amazing, and that it can do different things depending on whether you hit it with one finger, two fingers, three fingers, four fingers, your left big toe, or your nose (these last two are sure to be invented soon). However, the fact remains that most of the time you use a trackpad to move the pointer around the screen in order to click on something, right?
You want to open a file? Move the pointer over the file name, and click. Make sure you don’t accidentally move the pointer over the wrong file. Make sure your finger doesn’t accidentally move the mouse pointer when you’re trying to execute that click. Make sure you don’t accidentally click with two fingers, and open a contextual menu instead of opening the file. The joys.
Want to browse the internet? Again, it’s all about moving that pointer around the screen and clicking on the correct (and often precise) location.
So, while the magic of the two, three and four fingered click cannot always be replicated with a mouse, the fact remains that a mouse remains the best, and fastest, and most accurate, way of moving that pointer around the screen. It’s the best, fastest, and most accurate way of clicking on what you want to click on (and of right-clicking, if that’s what turns you on). Most mice also come with an integrated scroll-wheel, allowing you to scroll up and down pages with ease.
My point, if it isn’t yet clear, is that a mouse will enable you to work so much faster than a trackpad. Faster movement around the screen, fewer mistakes when it comes to clicking, and ergonomically far superior too (doesn’t it make much more sense to have your arm out to the side of your computer rather than smack bang in the middle of it? Arguably if God wanted trackpads he would have designed us with a third arm growing out of our bellybuttons.)
For my desk, I went for an ergonomic mouse, because it’s designed to fit in your hand and to reduce strain on your fingers and wrist. If you’re going for one of these it’s best to test a few in your hand to find one that is a good fit.
For portability, I went for the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse (pictured above) because it is easy to slip into a waistcoat pocket or a briefcase.
Get a mouse. You won’t regret it.