After using dozens of padded devices, I still use a mouse. Accuracy and speed are far greater. The mix of hand movements reduces repetitive strain. There are many advantages and the extra device can create problems. Here is the inside information on saving time by using a mouse instead of a pad.
A mouse takes up space and adds weight when travelling. Generally I avoid adding a mouse to a backpack because it is one thing I do not absolutely need. When I am rolling a suitcase around airports, I do not mind adding a mouse to the suitcase because the weight is not as significant and I usually have plenty of space.
Mice are so cheap that you can buy one at your destination then throw it away. The lowest price quality mouse in our local shops is $8. If someone was flying in from Europe, staying here for a few weeks, then flying out, they could buy an $8 mouse here, use it for what is effectively a few cents per day, then hand it to someone else. The cost is less than the hassle of trimming your luggage. If you are travelling to Asia, the same mouse would be less than $2.
I use a full size mouse because I have full size hands. There are smaller mice for travel and, for my size hands, the smaller mice create strain after 30 minutes use.
Visiting friends or relatives? Buy a mouse at each stop and leave it there for the next visit. Buy one for each office where you work.
A mouse kills small pads for accuracy. Only a large graphics pad with a pen matches a mouse. Forget the iPad, it is too small for the work I perform. An A4 or larger graphics pad works with an accurate stylus. A touch screen could work for what I do if the screen was at least 70 cm, about 30". Slightly smaller touch screens would work if glass and used with a stylus but then you would have the strain of holding your arms up all the time.
The Microsoft coffee table touch screen would work well for a while if glass and used with a stylus but would create back strain. That type of touch screen could be used longer if mounted on an artists easel or a drafting bench. You could then adjust the top to give you some support while reducing the reach to the far edge.
Wired always works. Wireless is a problem when you first connect, when the battery runs flat, and when the battery wears out. You might use wireless if you carry your own device. Do not bother with wireless if you are buying a new mouse at each destination.
I looked at some wireless mice in a shop. A Logitec M325 is listed as $28 on their Web site but the stock on the shelves is labelled as more than $30. The box says the battery will last two years but refuses to say what you have to buy when the battery fails. You have to go online to find out it is a AA battery and there is nothing to tell you if the battery can be easily replaced. Wired is easier than the rubbish manufacturers and retailers put you through when you try to buy wireless.
Manufacturers commit fraud
You can only make the right decision based on facts. Manufacturers hide the facts. Most shop assistants lie because they do not know anything about any of the products other than their commission and the highest commission is on the worst junk. None of them want you to know the full truth.
Manufacturers know that a cheap simple design will work the fastest and last an incredibly long time without using expensive materials. They do not want their products to last tent years. They need to sell you something new every year. Adding a battery to something, then making the battery not replaceable, is a really easy way to force things to break before they wear out.
Apple makes billions of dollars of profit selling new iPods to the suckers who purchased the first iPods and cannot replace the battery. At the time the iPod came out, there were more than 60 MP3 players on the market with most offering more features, such as FM radio, and most had replaceable batteries. The iPod purchasers probably expected the iPod to be as green and ethical as the others. Instead they received an economic and environmental disaster. Few victims complained and Apple made such a gross profit that many other manufacturers copied the Apple greed.
While looking at mice, I looked at headphones and keyboards. The headphone manufacturers are hiding the connector and not listing anything on the packet, you might get USB or you might get audio jacks. For keyboards, PS2 connections are faster than USB but you do not get the choice. If you are prepared to pay over $100, you can get a good $30 keyboard with a $2 USB/PS2 converter in the box. The same with headphones, a $30 headphone with a $5 audio/USB converter costs $65 dollars when packed in the same plastic bubble.
Some mice work on glass table tops and on other weird surfaces. If you are a guest at a friend's beach cottage and the table outside is glass, you can buy a $30 mouse, instead of an $8 mouse, to use on glass. The alternative is to lay a sheet of paper on the glass.
Repetitive strain injuries occur when you heat up tendons through repeated fast actions. Blood circulation is reduced when you hold muscles in constant tension. The lower blood circulation fails to remove the heat and makes the tendon damage worse. The oxygen shortage creates more damage, as does the build up of toxic chemicals. One solution is to change the type of movement you make. If you are tensed over a pad, switch to a mouse or a keyboard. Swap back and forth every few minutes.
My big hand on a small mouse produces excessive tension so a big mouse is a relaxing change for my hand. A graphics stylus is another change and, again, I have to find a thick one to fit my hand. Your hand may require a different design. Reaching out for a glass of water can be a change.
If you use an iPad, remember the hand holding the iPad. That hand is often under more strain and more restriction than the hand mousing over the iPad. If you continually forget to let that hand have time off, picture gangrene starting up in the hand.
Mice offer a better range of choices including the upside down mouse called a trackball. You can use several and switch between them to relieve the strain on individual muscles. You might not want to pack five different devices in your backpack when travelling. :-)
Mice give you choice and muscle movement variation but are an extra device to carry when travelling. I do not use a mouse on my 38 minute commute to the city but do use one every time I sit at a computer for a few hours.