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Blosxom

       

home :: hardware :: touchpads

Sun, 31 Jan 2016

Touchpads are annoying.

I've lived through many generations of laptops, from the Osborne 1 through various Toshibas, HPs, Dells, IBMs, Lenovos, and Macbooks to today's Ultrabooks and various tablets.

Of course, using a mouse with a laptop has always been annoying: you're trying to use the laptop on a plane (on one of those ridiculously small tray tablets), and there is no place to use a mouse properly. Various companies have tried various tricks to make the experience a bit easier: tiny mice (Kensington has produced those for years), trackballs, ... but with limited success. The only one that I found I could use proficiently, is the IBM trackpoint.

However, in recent years, probably due to the influence of Apple MacBooks, more and more laptops come with touchpads (or should I say, all laptops come with touchpads?).

Sigh.

I find touchpads really annoying as devices to interact with laptops. It's difficult to reliably do many of the operations that I need to do when using a computer:

  • accurately selecting things on the screen
  • dragging and dropping things
  • doing multiple selections
  • and many more...

I am even annoyed by my Lenovo Yoga laptop at work, even though it has a trackpoint in addition to the touchpad, but I find that even just as a "right and left button" replacement, the touchpad is not working as reliably as a pair of dedicated buttons :-(

I still prefer a trackpoint nib with two buttons over a touchpad, even if some of the gestures on the touchpad are nice (e.g. to zoom on a picture).

However, if I look at the industry, this is clearly a battle that is not worth fighting: this ship has sailed and touchpads are definitely part of the modern laptop configuration these days.

Grin and bear.

/hardware | Posted at 13:18 | permanent link