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I am planning on using a laptop on my commute to work to fool around with computer graphics, including extensive use of Photoshop. I find that the touchpad on a laptop is difficult to use for this purpose; something that I can hold in my hand (such as a regular mouse) is much better because it gives me the necessary fine control. However, a regular mouse is not an option because I won't have a large flat surface to place it on.

Do you have any suggestions as to what might work for me?

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An xbox 360 controller. There's a ton of free software to accomplish this, and it actually works better than you might think. –  Blomkvist May 22 '11 at 4:04
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Have you considered using a tablet PC, with a stylus, instead of a laptop? –  RMorrisey May 22 '11 at 6:02
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2 Answers 2

I like Spectre's idea of using the Bamboo tablet, but if that's not working for you, I would suggest a small wireless laser mouse with super high sensitivity.

Definitely don't get an optical mouse. Whatever public transportation you're using to get to work, I would imagine the quality of the seating will vary - so you can't always trust that an optical mouse will get a good read. Laser mice are much better, and can read on almost any surface.

With high sensitivity set on your mouse you should be able to move anywhere on your screen with just the small amount of room given - even if that is just sliding it around on one of your legs.

Logitech make a nice brand of wireless laser mice - some are pretty cheap and I've always had good luck with them. They've recently started using mini usb dongles as well, which is an added plus if you are on public transportation.

http://www.logitech.com/en-us/mice-pointers/mice

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Have a look at Wacom's Bamboo tablets, they should be good, especially for photoshop/artistic stuff.

The Bamboo's are at the cheap end of the graphics tablet market, Wacom also produces larger and more expensive tablets with built-in LCDs etc, although the higher end ones will set you back hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

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