Laptop Thoughts - News & Reviews on Laptops, Netbooks, Slates, and More

Be sure to register in our forums! Share your opinions, help others, and enter our contests.


Android Thoughts

Loading feed...

Windows Phone Thoughts

Loading feed...

Digital Home Thoughts

Loading feed...




Go Back   Thoughts Media Forums > LAPTOP THOUGHTS > Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-30-2010, 07:00 PM
Jason Dunn
Executive Editor
Jason Dunn's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 29,160
Default Laptop Touchpads: Why Do They Often Suck so Much?

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://blog.laptopmag.com/terrible-touchpads-give-you-the-finger' target='_blank'>http://blog.laptopmag.com/terrible-...-you-the-finger</a><br /><br /></div><p><em>"When you think about how much laptops have evolved over the past couple of years, it's staggering. You can now get screaming-fast quad-core power inside a machine that weighs less than 4 pounds. Many notebooks can switch between integrated and discrete graphics on the fly. You'll even find some models with 3D displays or tech that lets you stream video wirelessly to your HDTV. Yet even with all of these advancements, notebooks have taken serious steps back in some ways. The "evolution" of the touchpad seems to have moved from a utilitarian pointing device to a mere decoration."</em></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/lpt/auto/1282953178.usr1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p>Mark Spoonauer over at Laptop Magazine has a point: touchpads are still a real hit or miss affair on laptops. I <a href="http://www.digitalhomethoughts.com/news/show/96215/hp-s-dm3-laptop-looks-great-worst-touchpad-ever.html" target="_blank">reviewed the dm3</a> just like <a href="http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptop/hp-pavilion-dm3t.aspx?page=2" target="_blank">Spoonauer did</a>, and both of us had the same conclusion: how could HP release something so shockingly awful? What were the designers thinking, and more so, how did such an obviously awful implementation make it into a shipping product? I've seen some truly awful touchpads, but I've also seen some really great ones. I don't think it's a matter of personal opinion: a touchpad should be responsive, easy to use, not interfere with you when you're typing (even if you brush the touchpad surface), and have buttons that are easily clickable.</p><p>I part ways with Spoonauer when it comes to his praising of pointing sticks - I've always found them to be more of a hassle than anything else.&nbsp;Where do you stand on touchpad versus pointing stick? And what's the worse, or best, touchpad you've had on a laptop? I thought that the touchpad on my Dell XPS M1330 was perfect - I had zero complaints with it.</p>
__________________
Want to contact me personally? Use this. Want to read my personal blog? Check it out. Want to follow me on Twitter? Here you go.
 
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-30-2010, 08:23 PM
Michael Knutson
Contributing Editor
Michael Knutson's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 498
Send a message via AIM to Michael Knutson Send a message via MSN to Michael Knutson Send a message via Yahoo to Michael Knutson Send a message via Skype™ to Michael Knutson

My opinion: most are horrible, some are tolerable, and few are great! I've been "stuck" with ThinkPads quite often, and I do have to say that I've seldom ever used the eraser/nub/(fill-in) always stuck in the middle of the keyboard. When I do, it's just to wiggle it around a bit to be sure that it's still working. Of course, back in ancient times, the nub was the only mouse-alternative on earlier thinkpads.

Best touchpad? Probably my MacBookPro 13-inch laptop. It just seems to sit perfectly, and when used, it's always right at hand, meaning that I don't have to move my hand to use it when typing. It's close to the edge, so it's ergonomically superb. In fact, I've put off getting a larger MBP because the trackpad is farther "inland" from the edge, and just not as comfortable. Second is probably a Dell Mini 12 that I had for a short time, but gave to a family member when the RAM proved impossible to upgrade.

That being said, I still prefer using an optical mouse, as it's just more precise for me. And, despite being predominantly left-handed, I've switched the mouse to the right side, where it is very comfortable. For much of my career I've done network drawings (visio), and they are infinitely easier with a mouse.
__________________
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." Albert Einstein
 
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-30-2010, 09:05 PM
Hooch Tan
Contributing Editor
Hooch Tan's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 918
Send a message via ICQ to Hooch Tan Send a message via MSN to Hooch Tan Send a message via Yahoo to Hooch Tan

Aside from the whole quality issue, I have found my preference in pointing device also depends on the environment I#m in and placement.

Under ideal circumstances, like Michael, a mouse is my preferred pointing device. I find it accurate, easy to use, multi-functional and far faster than any other pointing device.

With a largish laptop, I prefer the nubbins. They seem to give me the best accuracy and speed when covering a lot of ground, and I do not have a mouse available. The fact that it requires minimal movement from my hand to use it is also a plus. I also find they need less movement, which helps if I am on a couch. However, I have found that for really small laptops, including netbooks, the nubbins are much harder to use and I favor touchpads or a touch surface, stylus or touch.
 
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-31-2010, 01:42 PM
Lee Yuan Sheng
Contributing Editor
Lee Yuan Sheng's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,503

Trackpoints are the way to go, and only Trackpoints. IBM, and now Lenovo, have the patents to make the thing work properly. Other pointing sticks suck; they're floaty and incredibly hard to get precise movements out of.

Touchpads? Hate them. Wish every notebook manufacturer would license the damn Trackpoint from Lenovo.
__________________
Baka. Soku. Zan. - The justice behind the dysORDer.
 
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-02-2010, 08:32 PM
crimsonsky
Thinker
crimsonsky's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 367

Well, I think my 13" MacBook Pro has the best trackpad I've ever used. To me it's the gold standard that all should strive to achieve. It's so good that I never use a mouse with it, and that's saying a lot. On the other hand, I've NEVER met a PC trackpad that was worth a squat. I always use mice with PC laptops. (However, unlike a previous poster, I adore the eraser head on Lenovo/Thinkpads). And netbooks? Don't even get me started. They'd be better off not even including a trackpad with those things and just bundling a mouse with the device.
__________________
XBox 360 S, 16GB iPhone 4S, iPod Classic 160 GB, Dell Inspiron Mini 1018; Macs: Mac Mini 2.4 GHz 6 GB RAM; Macbook 2.0 GHz 3 GB RAM; MacBook Air 11", 24" Cinema Display
 
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-03-2010, 08:42 PM
Chris Gohlke
Contributing Editor Emeritus
Chris Gohlke's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,291

I'm going to give a thums up to the trackpoints. We are an IBM (Lenovo) shop and have been for years. I've always liked them.
 
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-04-2010, 01:58 AM
Tony Rylow
Editor Emeritus
Tony Rylow's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 214

The touchpad on my work laptop, an HP 6930p, is a piece of junk. I can monkey with the settings all day and it still isn't usable. On my m11x for home/school, the texture of it matches the rest of the laptop casing so much that I have to constantly look down when I go to use it (otherwise I just look silly dragging my fingers all over feeling for it!). The Macbook Pro pad is definitely where it's at!!
 
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 12:12 PM.