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FireGryphon
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Touchpad woes

Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:00 am

I’m gearing up to buy a laptop but there’s one thing that is holdig me back: buggy touchpads. I use Dell laptops at work (various Latitude models from various years) and my wife uses a Dell XPS 12 from a few years ago at home. All of the touchpads exhibit the same problems:

1. Sometimes a left-click with the actual buttons do not register and i have to click twice.
2. When I’m typing the cursor will jump as though I clicked (though I didn’t) and I’ll end up typing the wrong thing in the wrong place.


I am unable to solve this problem on my own and I still see conplaints about this on the Internet. What I don’t understand is that many people must not complain. I watch my wife struggle with this first hand, but she just clicks through and ignores it like it is acceptable. Others do this, too, perhaps, but I cannot stand it and would have to return any laptop that has this problem with its touchpad. The only computer I’ve ever not had this problem with is a MacBook, pre-force touch, anyway.

So, how many of you here have this problem with your touchpads? Is there a known fix that isnt well-published on the ‘net? Tell me all you know!
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Re: Touchpad woes

Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:14 am

The force touch Macbooks just side step this issue by not having tap to click enabled in their default state. It's kind of an important feature now that the touch pad on newer MBPs is approximately the size of Rhode Island, so avoiding touching it while typing is about impossible.
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Re: Touchpad woes

Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:16 am

I personally only use touchpads that have physical buttons. I hate the one's that don't for exactly the reasons you described. I gladly sacrifice the real estate.
 
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Re: Touchpad woes

Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:58 am

I hate click pads. If you buy Dell Latitude E-series they still have buttons.

Although the typing cursor-jump thing isn't necessarily a click, it can just be your thumb brushing the pad and swiping the cursor to a new location. Happens to me now and then if I let my hands let lazy and droop.

EDIT: I guess what I meant was, tap-to-click can be enabled on conventional trackpads, in which case you can get the swipe/drop effect. If it causes issues, there's usually a setting to disable it in the mouse control panel applet.
Last edited by ludi on Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Touchpad woes

Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:00 am

SuperSpy wrote:
It's kind of an important feature now that the touch pad on newer MBPs is approximately the size of Rhode Island

I was thinking Wyoming.
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Re: Touchpad woes

Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:05 am

just brew it! wrote:
SuperSpy wrote:
It's kind of an important feature now that the touch pad on newer MBPs is approximately the size of Rhode Island

I was thinking Wyoming.

Well, in shape, at least.
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Re: Touchpad woes

Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:06 am

Captain Ned wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
SuperSpy wrote:
It's kind of an important feature now that the touch pad on newer MBPs is approximately the size of Rhode Island

I was thinking Wyoming.

Well, in shape, at least.

That too.
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Re: Touchpad woes

Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:24 pm

Don't have these problems on an Elan touchpad in an Asus laptop.

1. I don't recall clicks that don't register, though I very rarely use physical clicking. No separate buttons here, but I anyway much prefer a gentle tap to actual clicking.

2. Maybe related to settings that temporarily ignore the touchpad while typing? Figure out whether your touchpads are Elan or Synaptics, try to find/get to work alternate/their generic drivers and see if they expose more configuration options.

Image

Elan's been a pain in this regard, with no official 1st-party drivers available, and OEM customized drivers that are always nerfed or tweaked in different ways, including registry settings that don't show in the GUI and unknown ones that change the overall pointer movement feel. In many cases they're also made difficult to install on PCs not from the specific OEM.

(It's one big annoying mess. After having to reinstall once, I gave up on tweaking everything to perfection, and also lost a few features I used to use. I still have the 14 driver variants I downloaded back then, but I didn't take down full notes so I don't know which one was the best, nor what were all the registry tweaks.)
 
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Re: Touchpad woes

Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:10 pm

I have a different peeve with touchpads, and that's latency. Thankfully most touchpads now have less than one frame of latency which makes them fine but I feel your pain - lousy touchpads are the bane of laptops everywhere.

My advice would be to find a touchpad that's marketed as a "Windows Precision Touchpad"

That means it uses the standard Windows 10 touchpad driver, and that is by far the best option, IMO. You won't get discrete physical buttons, but what you do get is a large clickpad that understands a tactile press with near 100% accuracy regardless of how cheap the laptop/tablet is and a light tap that seems to be very good at distinguishing between one finger (left-click), two fingers (right-click), and three fingers (middle-click).

I think the most important thing about a good touchpad experience is to not overcomplicate it, and to be aware that any brushing of the touchpad with your wrist will always potentially register as a click. IMO, every Elan/Synaptics/Alps driver with 'accidental palm brush recognition' adds too much lag and weirdness to the feel of the touchpad to be worth it. Even Asus/HP/Dell's efforts have paled into insignificance compared to the default Windows Precision driver. So I've just learned to stop resting my wrist on the touchpad, or to use a goddamn mouse and enable the setting that disables the touchpad when a mouse is detected.
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Re: Touchpad woes

Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:11 pm

SuperSpy wrote:
The force touch Macbooks just side step this issue by not having tap to click enabled in their default state. It's kind of an important feature now that the touch pad on newer MBPs is approximately the size of Rhode Island, so avoiding touching it while typing is about impossible.

I have tap to click enabled on my 2017 MacBook Pro. I have have no such problems.
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Re: Touchpad woes

Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:28 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
My advice would be to find a touchpad that's marketed as a "Windows Precision Touchpad"

That is definitely the first step.

While not as good as Apple's Magic Trackpad 2, I find the Precision touchpad on my T480 to be acceptable when tapping (not clicking). I've configured the touchpad on the T480 to be tap to left/right click to avoid the "physical clicks not registering" issue. Tapping fits very nicely into my swiping workflow (Windows 10 gesture control).

I primarily tap when I use my Magic Trackpad 2 and the touchpad on my MacBook Pro so it is nice to have the same basic functionality on the T480.
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