Where have all the good touchpads gone?

As you might’ve noticed if you read our front page (or my Twitter feed), I flew to Taiwan last week and attended the Computex trade show. Computex is a momentous yearly event spread across two locations, three convention halls, and several satellite buildings. Those buildings include the Grand Hyatt Taipei Hotel and Taipei 101, which until recently held the title of world’s tallest skyscraper.

Understandably, I got to see my fair share of computer hardware. That, and booth babes shrieking unintelligible corporate propaganda into microphones while dispensing cheap trinkets to their slack-jawed audiences.

This sea of circuit boards, gadgets, and slack-jawed attendees often parted to reveal some new and not-so-new laptops. I captured some of those machines on camera, played with a few of them, and ignored quite a few others. But nearly every time I put my hands down on a touchpad and started moving my finger around, I let out a disappointed "ugh" under my breath. Nearly every time, I asked myself the same questions. Why, out of so many laptops big, small, cheap, and expensive, can I not find a single half-way decent touchpad with a broad tracking area and a smooth surface? Why did all these manufacturers seem to opt for the same wretchedly inadequate strips of touch-sensitive plastic?

Many years ago, I had sworn off touchpads entirely after discovering the IBM TrackPoint, that tiny red joystick nested between the G and H keys of ThinkPad keyboards. With it, I could track without taking my hands off the home row… or moving much more than my index finger and thumb. A split-second of pressure to one side achieved the same result as several swipes across the tiny touchpad area. Holding down the middle button while pushing the TrackPoint up or down allowed scrolling with equal ease. It seemed like the perfect input device for the lazy typist.

In the fall of 2008, I was seeking a replacement for my aging ThinkPad T41. Lenovo, the new owner of the ThinkPad line and upholder of the mighty TrackPoint, wasn’t offering any systems with the combination of form factor, features, and price I wanted. I was reluctantly thinking of buying a laptop either without a TrackPoint or with a poor third-party imitation. Then, on October 14, Apple introduced the aluminum MacBook. On October 21, I placed my order.

The MacBook didn’t have a TrackPoint, but it didn’t need one. Below its keyboard lay a massive slate of glass with multi-touch input capabilities and a hidden button mechanism. I was hooked. You haven’t used a laptop until you’ve moved the cursor from one corner of the screen to another with a single motion, scrolled by effortlessly dragging two fingers, moved back a page in your browser by swiping three fingers to the left, activated a graphical overview of all your open windows by gently dragging four fingers down the touchpad surface, or enlarged some thumbnails with a simple pinch. This user experience owes as much to the hardware as to Apple’s software. Mac OS X makes multi-touch gestures feel remarkably solid and consistent, and it provides excellent support for tap-to-click functionality, down to the slight "stickiness" that makes button-less drag-and-dropping feel reliable yet not sluggish.

At the time, I expected other PC makers would quickly attempt to replicate the comforts of the glass touchpad, as they’re wont to do with other Apple innovations. Yet here we are, almost two years later, and PC touchpads still suck almost universally by comparison.

It’s not just that PC laptop makers cut corners by using smaller touchpads with fewer features. It’s that some of them seem to be actively trying to make the user experience as miserable as possible, coating their touchpads with all manners of textured and glossy finishes that feel either awkward or plainly unusable. I came across what may be the worst example of this trend a couple of days ago at Future Shop, which had one of HP’s G-series notebooks on display. Neat industrial design, absolutely wretched touchpad:

Just look at that monstrosity. With the same texture as the palm rest, it doesn’t just impede finger movements; it makes them downright uncomfortable—almost as if you spent long enough using this system, you might start to develop calluses like some guitar virtuoso. How can the world’s biggest PC vendor not just ship such a design, but actually ship it on three of its most affordable laptops? Did no one protest somewhere along the process? Are HP’s industrial designers playing a cruel trick on their unsuspecting audience, or were they really that eager to promote form over function?

HP is far from the only laptop maker to make poor choices in that respect. The dimpled touchpad on Asus’ Eee PC 1201T disappointed me almost as much, and my I found my fingers skipping infuriatingly across the glossy touchpad of Scott’s Gateway LT3103. What’s worse, when laptop makers do manage to get the coefficient of friction in the right ballpark, they usually fail to get other attributes right. Either the tracking area ends up too small, or they ship immature drivers with poor or absent multi-touch support. Sometimes both.

Perhaps today’s touchpads are intended to be more fixtures than usable input devices, a signal to the user that he should purchase a quality Bluetooth mouse and stick that in his laptop bag. But why? Over the past 20 months, Apple has shown me quite clearly that touchpads can not only be usable; they can be almost more fun and comfortable to use than a full-blown mouse. PC laptop makers don’t seem to realize that aluminum panels and glossy display bezels aren’t what make MacBooks great. It’s the ergonomics, stupid.

Comments closed
    • AMDguy
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t understand how patent law works any more, but perhaps Apple has a patent on the type of touchpad you like, thereby restricting its use to Apple?

    • WaltC
    • 9 years ago

    /[http://xtreview.com/addcomment-id-10296-view-Notebook-market-share.html<]ยง As of these numbers, in the US Apple is fourth in terms of market share, but internationally Apple doesn't even register on these charts, its international market share being < 5% (in some countries it is surely less than 1%.) I'm not in any way throwing off on Apple here--I present these numbers just to underscore the fact that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, and for most people, a Macbook-like touch-trackpad is just not a feature that interests them in a laptop.

      • TEAMSWITCHER
      • 9 years ago

      Apple market share is low internationally because the cost is prohibitively high. Apple is not interested in selling low-end junk. This is business 101 – the higher the product cost the fewer units get sold. Apple’s margins more than make up for the lost sales. The price keeps people out of the Mac experience.

      That said, I have never used a pointing device on a PC laptop that was any good. The MacBook Pro is state-of-the-art when it comes to built-in pointing devices. It’s just one of many innovations that Apple customers benefit from, while PC users struggle to find good things to say about their cheap, plastic sheathed, sticker covered, butt-ugly laptops.

      I feel sorry for them.

        • sreams
        • 9 years ago

        If only it were that simple. In more cases than not, a product that is equivalent or superior to a given Apple product costs less. “Business 101” is not the only contributing factor to the premium paid for Apple products.

      • sreams
      • 9 years ago

      While I agree on many of your points, I have to say I disagree with your views on trackpads and mice. I’d say most people using portable systems are using them in environments where a mouse is simply not feasible. That’s why improving more portable pointing solutions is important.

      • demani
      • 9 years ago

      “Most” people? How can you speak for most people when you have already declared the whole portable notion to be an utter failure and a pointless exercise. Clearly you are in the minority since more laptops are sold than desktops these days: more people want portability than don’t. The quality of that portable experience is an important factor (hence the complaints against glossy screens, the discussions of battery life, and the general interest in weight that accompanies every portable article here).

    • rrode74
    • 9 years ago

    Love my Macbook trackpad, the best ever. To bad the keyboard is just OK and I finally moved back to Windows 7, OS X was just lame and lacked many good apps. Makes pretty good Winodws latptop.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      hahah. Perhaps the MB KB wasn’t so bad after allg{<.<}g

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 9 years ago

    I used the eraserhead on our first few family laptops and my work Lenovo Thinkpad and never liked them. I’m so much more accurate using the touchpad. I don’t know anyone who can use an eraserhead as accurately as a well-seasoned touchpad user can.

    What is this about taking hands off of the home keys? Does your thumb not working for mousing?

    • clone
    • 9 years ago

    track ball baby, I hate touch pads although I admit to not having used an Apple…… track ball or the little joystick they used to equip all the way….. but I prefer trackball with 2 buttons.

    • TaBoVilla
    • 9 years ago

    I used to have to do autocad, visio drawings, diagrams and presentations on the go, but really on the go, not even being able to use any surface for mousepad, other than the palm rest.

    I got SO but I mean SO USED TO using the touchpad as my input device, that at one point I swear I could do things faster on the touchpad than using a mouse (anything but play fps =), even when I had the choice I preferred using the touchpad over a mouse for certain things, I still do.

    Tip #1, set the touchpad sensitivity to maximum, in order to be able to travel the cursor across the screen diagonally on one single touchpad “sweep” and use “finger rolling” for more precise controls.

    Tip #2 left hand thumb for mouse clicks, forget tapping.

    really, try it for a week.

    • NarwhaleAu
    • 9 years ago

    Buy a travel mouse. Problem solved.

    • link626
    • 9 years ago

    rant much?

    i use a mouse.
    But my touchpad works fine by default too.

    if you want to go from one corner to the opposite corner in one swipe, you can do that too.
    Just go to the Control Panel, and set the mouse to the fastest setting, and enable precision.
    One quick swipe takes you across the screen.

    • swaaye
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t really have issues with touchpads. I have used many of them. I’ve used track balls in notebooks too, way back in the day.

    I don’t really like the new glossy touchpads though. It’s primarily related to the instant smudge zone that they become. Clearly this is about the looks of the machine, just like giving the whole notebook a glossy finish. Glossy finishes are one of the more annoying things to happen to electronics.

    The trackpoints are interesting but I don’t go out of my way for them. I’ve had notebooks equipped with both of them at the same time.

    What has made touchpads much more functional for me is the ability to assign functions to them, such as setting a corner to browse back/forward on a webpage. The vertical scrollbar function is a requirement. The EeePC multitouch is nice too, along with the company’s triple tap function (I use that to browse back a page).

    • YeuEmMaiMai
    • 9 years ago

    lol what a bunch of weenies crying over how a touch pad does not work……….

    I never had any issues with any touch devices once I configured them the way i wanted them……..lol it’s not that hard………

      • End User
      • 9 years ago

      Which laptop are you using now?

        • YeuEmMaiMai
        • 9 years ago

        Dell Studio 15 and before that a Vostro 1400, AlienWare, Insprion, think pad, gateway, etc

          • End User
          • 9 years ago

          Terrible touchpads. If there are buttons next to the TOUCHpad, they blew it.

            • YeuEmMaiMai
            • 9 years ago

            lol i know you meant to say that if there are buttons under the touch pad it is win cause you can actually treat it like a mouse……

    • LoneWolf15
    • 9 years ago

    /[

    • Faceless Clock
    • 9 years ago

    Wow, are you me? I just recently ended up buying a MacBook after finding that Lenovo doesn’t offer a Thinkpad which fits my needs, and part of the reason I ordered it is that the Macs are the only laptops with a trackpad that makes me forget about not having trackpoint.

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    I find all input devices have their drawbacks.

    1. Wired Mouse – Inconvenience of carrying/portability. Lately I’ve just seen a remarkable downgrade in quality of Mice from Logitech and Microsoft.
    2. Wireless Mouse – Battery changes every 4-6 months, interference, reception, build quality.
    3. Touchpad – High learning curve to get all included features, high false positive rate for those features, various design implementations between manufacturers(as Cyril noted), imprecise versus mouse.
    4. Trackpoint – Horrible control, fatiguing, the issue that has existed for over a decade where they “drift.” (yes even on Thinkpads.

    I’ll take a touchpad for mobile but wired mouse on desktops. I simply HATE with rage the prompt to change a battery on wireless mice, or the intermittent connectivityg{<.<}g

      • OffBa1ance
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t agree with your comments on Trackpoint WRT horrible control, fatiguing. I am more accurate with the trackpoint than the touchpad on my t500 and my macbook and the reason I use the trackpoint is I find my hand alot less fatigued? Or are you refering to fatiguing of the point hardware itself?

      I do get the occasional bout of cursor drift however.

        • demani
        • 9 years ago

        Cursor drift was the most annoying part of the trackpoint on my Thinkpad. Just sitting there and the cursor starts wandering like a drunk sorority chick on Fleet Week.

        With dual monitors it was even more annoying.

      • Skrying
      • 9 years ago

      I’ve never had those issues with a wireless mouse or rather… I’ve never had connectivity issues and having to change the batteries *[

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 9 years ago

      What about wireless mice with rechargeable batteries?

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    /[<"quality Bluetooth mouse"<]/ Oxymoron detectedg{<.<}g

      • 5150
      • 9 years ago

      Seconded.

        • dgz
        • 9 years ago

        thirded

          • Jon
          • 9 years ago

          Fourtherth…..I did that just to troll ๐Ÿ˜›

    • WillBach
    • 9 years ago

    Cyril, the HP trackpad looks awful, but (out of curiosity) have you used it?

      • Cyril
      • 9 years ago

      I wouldn’t be calling it uncomfortable if I hadn’t. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • mreams13
        • 9 years ago

        I’ve got one of those HP laptops with the texture on the trackpad. It’s lightyears better than the little sunken ones (I bought this laptop because of the trackpad). I especially don’t like the ones where the material of the pad is kind of like rubber, so if you’re hand isn’t 100% dry then you’ll squeak to a stop.

        The texture isn’t bad at all. I can’t even imagine getting calluses from it. That’s absolutely ridiculous.

        (Now, the problem of the paint coming off, in only three months is an entirely different gripe).

    • d0g_p00p
    • 9 years ago

    I think the TrackPoint is by far the best mouse input device for laptops period. That being said I have never been able to adjust to using touchpads. That is the one single issue I have with all the laptops I have owned including my Macbook is having to use that damn touchpad. It’s a huge PITA for me.

    I wish more laptop makers would copy the Trackpoint. I don’t need any fancy multi-touch gestures or anything like that. Just give me left & right clicking and a precise pointing device. That’s all I ask for.

      • OffBa1ance
      • 9 years ago

      I agree with your comments re Trackpoint, I find even after long usage I don’t get the “bear claw” feeling that I used to get using my old macbook trackpad.

      I think Lenovo have the trackpoint system pretty locked down via patents. Since PC manufacturers are trying to cut all cost out of the trackpad, I can’t see them shelling out extra cash for a trackpoint system and licensing fees.

      • eofpi
      • 9 years ago

      Seconded.

      I used to play a decent game of TF2 on my Thinkpad with its Trackpoint. I never got the hang of the Trackpad,though.

      Now I’m in the market for a new laptop that can occasionally game without attaching any accessories (airplane tray tables don’t have room for both a laptop and a mouse), and finding trackpoints on other brands of laptops is proving difficult.

      • miken
      • 9 years ago

      Trackpads > Trackpoints? Sequential versus random access: I’ve always preferred the former because (just like mice) you can learn the scaling factor screen : input device coordinates) in your muscle memory, and as soon as you know where you want the pointer to be, you can more or less instantly jump there.

      With a trackpoint, there is a time-based feedback loop involved, especially with acceleration: push the device in the direction you want to go, then wait N milliseconds until it arrives, looking at the screen to make sure you don’t overshoot. I suppose you can learn this too, to a degree, but you can’t eliminate the time spent in the accelerate-travel-decelerate velocity curve. Mice and fingers have to move too, but they are limited only by the speed of your reflexes, whereas trackpoints move the mouse according to an artificial physics controlled by the device driver programmer, and maybe a control panel applet. Perhaps adjustable, but with a mouse / trackpad, I can change the velocity curve with every gesture.

      Just seems like a less natural — and slower — way to interact with a machine. Whenever I use a trackpoint, I feel like I’m held back by the speed of the input device, whereas with a trackpad, mouse or even keyboard, I can act as fast as I can think. Feels faster. Maybe I’m missing something that long time users of trackpoints can fill in.

        • OffBa1ance
        • 9 years ago

        Personally, I am willing to trade the slight delay when going all the way across screen for the lack of movement required to do it (reducing fatigue).

        I use a full size bluetooth mouse (Microsoft Wireless 8000) when gaming or spreadsheeting.

    • Goty
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t know what was wrong with your sample, but the touchpad on the LT3103 is /[

      • demani
      • 9 years ago

      The macbook is hardly glossy, and is just slightly smoother than the aluminum.

      The trackpad “innovation” I can’t stand (as shown in the photo) is the lack of tactile defined edges. Though with a suitably large trackpad (see macbook) edegs are less of an issue. I also like using the driver that makes it a tablet (1:1 mapping) sometimes.

    • jackaroon
    • 9 years ago

    I thought they just patented all the different ways that a person could touch a laptop other than tapping keys, clicking, right clicking, and dragging.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 9 years ago

      yeah Apple has been a anti trust nightmare for the industry, almost as bad as intel and microsoft.

        • adisor19
        • 9 years ago

        lol, take it easy over there.. Synaptics pretty much owns every single touch pad related patent out there. They sued the crap out of that other company and ventured in making trackpads a few years ago.. (the name eludes me right now)

        As for Apple, no matter how many multi touch patents they hold, they still have to licence the basic critical ones from Synaptics.

        Adi

    • Skrying
    • 9 years ago

    The two best touchpads I have used are on the MacBook Pros and my Dell XPS M1330. The M1330’s is tiny but very accurate and has a near perfect surface, it also supports multitouch with a Synaptic driver from the HP site (that is rather ironic). The MBP’s is large and the surface little bit further from perfect but still very good and accurate and OS X has the best multitouch integration. Everything else… seems to be horrible. Every HP I’ve used, the Asus UL80Vt of my friend’s is horrible, etc, etc.

    I just don’t get it. I’ve used laptops that are significantly older with better touchpads than newer laptops. It seriously is an area where there has been a regression in the core functionality.

      • Faceless Clock
      • 9 years ago

      The laptop industry is mostly a race to a bottom. All the players want higher sales figures at any cost. The only two companies which don’t do this are Apple and Sony.

    • jrr
    • 9 years ago

    preach on! I have the same macbook and this is the only trackpad I’ve ever wanted to use.

    • Chrispy_
    • 9 years ago

    My pet peeve with modern trackpads is that they all seem to have *[

      • tu2thepoo
      • 9 years ago

      I’m a huge trackpad snob (I was wedded to my Dell M1210 and an IBM Thinkpad before that because of the quality of the trackpad/point), and I have to say that the trackpads on Macs have to be the best I’ve ever used. In the native OSX environment, there’s absolutely no input lag that I can discern, and like Cyril wrote, Apple sets the bar for multitouch integration. The side-scrolling, pinch-to-zoom, swipe-for-exposรฉ, etc, all work much better and consistently than even the newest multitouch Win7 laptops I’ve used.

        • Chrispy_
        • 9 years ago

        Agreed, the M1210 trackpad was nice and responsive. Any idea who made it?

    • liquidsquid
    • 9 years ago

    I would venture a guess is that the first thing most lappy purchasers get is a wireless mouse. That is why trackpad designs aren’t any better, it is not a deciding choice on a purchase. I for one HATE them, as my thumb rests there while typing, making the cursor move and occasionally double-clicking. I would rather have a touch screen where I can jab at it forcefully.

      • adisor19
      • 9 years ago

      This is why the track pad on pc laptops has been teh suck for a while now : because pc users don’t realize what a good track pad should feel like.

      Adi

        • fishyuk
        • 9 years ago

        I have a macbook pro, I still can’t stand the trackpad for any projected period of time under OSX or Windows. I hate the click feeling and just generally hate trackpads and trackpoints for anything beyond rudimentary use on a train or plane. Fortunately whilst I travel a lot most of my work is done on a desk, the Microsoft Wireless Mouse 6000 is one of the best purchases I’ve made..
        Getting a switch Lenovo next month, can guarantee I’ll still be using a Wireless mouse.

        So count me in as one of those horrible PC users who destroys trackpad development by actually wanting a decent input experience and not an attempt to make the best of a bad idea :-).

    • Hattig
    • 9 years ago

    Ugh, Trackpoints. It’s like turning the cursor into a rolling marble with loads of inertia controlled by a tiny tiny pencil eraser. Could never get the hang of them.

    Trackpads are great, especially with multi-touch. Precise control with lots of actions available.

      • Voldenuit
      • 9 years ago

      Have you tried the ones on Thinkpads? Because I think the ‘trackpoints’ on Dell, hp and Toshiba’s corporate laptops are execrable. Lenovo seems to be the only people that do it right for me.

      • Deffexor
      • 9 years ago

      Ugh, Trackpads. Trying to get anywhere and you’re swiping the same stupid piece of surface over and over repeatedly. And then you rest your thumb on it accidentally and it moves your cursor away from where you’re typing. It’s maddening. Could never get the hang of them. (So I disabled mine.)

      Trackpoints are great, especially with the wide eraser-head add-on. Precise control with lots of actions available. And my hands never have to leave the home keys to move the mouse pointer. Amazing!

      (That said, for some things, a mouse is still superior… But a Trackpad? Waste of time…)

      /Apologies to Hattig
      //Classic rant format
      ///Had to spoof it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Hattig
        • 9 years ago

        Heh.

        To be fair, the trackpad on my work Dell sucks. Why are so many trackpads embedded deep into the laptop so you can’t use the entirety of the surface area (which is often also tiny)? Dell laptops need a mouse to be usable.

        My HP netbook at least offers a scrolling area, but it isn’t as good as multi-touch. Good keyboard though. Slot for an ExpressCard mouse…

        The Mac has got them right, and it’s had them right for a very long time – even my old 2005 iBook had a good trackpad with two finger multi-touch.

        Can’t beat ctrl+i/j/k/l for moving a cursor around though! :-p

          • thecoldanddarkone
          • 9 years ago

          the e6400/e6500 had terrible trackpads (alps). They were replaced with newer syn trackpads and it’s seemed to please the forums. My xps 16 trackpad isn’t that bad. I like the texture and the scroll bars work really well, unlike the one in my e6400. It has basic multitouch as well.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 9 years ago

      A long-ago boss once said that trackpoints are like finding the g-spot – some people just can’t get it right ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • indeego
        • 9 years ago

        We call it the clit in the IT industryg{<.<}g I think many of us have no idea, of courseg{<.<}g

          • MadManOriginal
          • 9 years ago

          HEh, yes, I just wanted to keep things ‘G’-spot rated. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • bhtooefr
    • 9 years ago

    My opinions on Apple are well-known, but they certainly know how to make good touchpads, although I’ve played with the glass touhpads, and not a fan of those.

    • Voldenuit
    • 9 years ago

    I’m wedded to the trackpoint.

    Having said that, the surface of the trackpad on my X300 is reasonably adequate – it’s not too coarse nor too smooth. Pity lenovo treats the trackpad as something of an afterthought, so my model doesn’t support multitouch or gestures (I believe the X301 and T410 models do).

      • Helmore
      • 9 years ago

      Look for the right drivers and my might even get multitouch support out of your touchpad. I have a 3 years old widescreen T60p and its touchpad supports multitouch. I can no scroll web pages on my T60p by dragging 2 fingers across my touchpad for example. I have to admit though, the touchpad is a little too small but I often switch between mouse, trackpoint and touchpad..

    • Blazex
    • 9 years ago

    you could always just turn the pad speed up and get the mouse to swipe across the screen in one motion like ive got on my older(circa 2005) hp model, ubuntu almost has it set by default to the setting ive got in windows, i dont really fancy the new macbook pro’s pad, its nice but a bit of a pain sometimes :/
    but yea, almost universally most trackpads are lame, or atleast just default is painfully slow, like a few pixels a swipe…

    • Firestarter
    • 9 years ago

    I noticed this when I first touched a new Asus laptop last month, which had a glossy, bumpy trackpad surface. Trying to use that laptop without a mouse was painfully awkward!

    • colinstu
    • 9 years ago

    Good thing this isn’t [H]. Those guys fucking hate apple products.

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      whoa. what’s with the cussing?

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 9 years ago

    Apparently HP doesn’t just design, they industrially design. How excellent!

    • grug
    • 9 years ago

    I hate the “bumpy” trackpads on some of the new ASUS models. My Eee 1005HE has a perfectly serviceable trackpad. Not great, especially compared to my Macbook Pro, but good enough.

    Then a coworker brought in her Eee 1005P. What IS that bumpy monstrosity, what is it meant to do, other than make it harder to actually move your finger across it? But then again, at least they fixed the right shift on that model…one step forward one step back.

    • tesla120
    • 9 years ago

    track pads are a waste. I love my VX Nano….

    • mbutrovich
    • 9 years ago

    The Apple trackpad really did set the bar 2 years ago, and still hasn’t been matched. Its sheer size makes it better than most of the other offerings out there, let alone surface material.

    • SNM
    • 9 years ago

    I’m glad that people are starting to notice these things. It’s always been my opinion that, regardless of the computing hardware, Apple’s laptops have been worth any real or perceived premium thanks to their ergonomics — which are so important in a laptop as to nearly outweigh any hardware issues (not that Macs have ever been terribly deficient there).

    • herothezero
    • 9 years ago

    Sorry, all touchpads suck next to the ThinkPad TrackPoint stick–even the new textured ThinkPad pads on the T-series are terrible.

      • Ethyriel
      • 9 years ago

      I recently spent a month and a half with a MBP, and the only difficult thing about going back to my X61s when I got thoroughly fed up with OS X was going back to the trackpoint. I’ve been a vocal trackpoint lover for years, but Apple’s trackpads are an absolute joy.

      But man, the keyboard blew. I can’t believe people mention it in the same breath as Thinkpad keyboards.

        • bthylafh
        • 9 years ago

        I’m waiting for someone to build a laptop with a buckling-spring keyboard.

        I’d settle for one with nice Cherry or Alps switches, though.

          • Ethyriel
          • 9 years ago

          Cherry browns or Topre, please. Cherry MX would actually be an option without adding too much thickness.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    hp: design by committee.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 9 years ago

    Never use a trackpad on my laptop. PC OEM’s rightly figure that if you need precise control you’ll just use a mouse and if you don’t care enough to do that, then you won’t mind having somewhat less horrible trackpads be replaced by somewhat more horrible ones.

    Imo.

      • grantmeaname
      • 9 years ago

      You’re saying that because you don’t like touchpads, everyone else wouldn’t mind them getting worse. I think what you mean to say is because you don’t like touchpads, you wouldn’t mind them getting worse.

      See if you can spot the key difference between the sentences.

      • ltcommander.data
      • 9 years ago

      In other words, OEMs have a free license to continue to cut corners until enough people complain. So much for continual improvement.

    • tay
    • 9 years ago

    I’m never buying a PC laptop again…

    • End User
    • 9 years ago

    I have a 1201N and I immediately noticed how much space ASUS wasted in the design – space that could have been used to fit a larger touchpad. ASUS has fixed that with their 1215. Hopefully they will apply this way of thinking to more of their products.

    I agree that Apple is the benchmark for touchpads. Their current version rocks.

    • riquee
    • 9 years ago

    Level 10 review please.

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