Computer Input Devices – Touchpad vs Trackpoint

I have been looking at new a new laptops and have been watching how people use them. My reasons for this are simple. I am a firm believer in the trackpoint, the little joystick thing in the middle of a laptop keyboard. Particularly on the IBM thinkpad laptops. The new laptop I will be using is a Dell and may or may not have have the trackpoint available. It is difficult for me to understand why a person would use the touchpad. I will go into detail for both, but I must warn you I have only used the touchpad on limited occasions. So let’s start this argument.

Reasons for the Trackpoint

1. You never have to let you fingers leave the keys. You can just move your pointer finger over and move the mouse and then click while still on the asdf key sets.

2. It is easy to use and learn on.

3. Takes up less space on the laptop. This is not an issue with todays Monster desktop replacements.

4. I find it very accurate.

Reasons for the Touchpad

1. Touchpad allows for multiple functions – scroll, slide, click and application launching

2. It seems to cause less stress on the wrist when using

Failures of the trackpoint

1. The pointer stick often gets dirty (kinda sticky)

2. You may hit it by accident when typing

3. There is not scrolling option unless you have a newer IBM.

Failures of the touch pad

1. People often hit it it when they are moving their wrists or fingers.

2. Difficult to learn quickly or use accurately

3. You cannot use it with one hand.

4. It can get very dirty , chips and dip are not very nice to the touchpad.

So who wins. Well have you ever been to an airport or at a seminar and watched all the laptop users fire up their computers and then pull out a mouse. Why is this. Why not use the built-in mouse. Well my thoughts are the fact that the touch pad sucks… They spend all this money for a laptop and then have to go out and get a mouse. To me, it is not a laptop then it is now just another computer. I have noticed and figured out that most IBM thinkpad users tend to stick with the trackpoint and end up dropping the mouse. I have not found any surveys, but it would be interesting.

From a usage standpoint, the trackpoint allows you to do development and movement very effectively. I can type and move the mouse to the properties section of the Visual Studio IDE quickly.

I would love to hear peoples thoughts. When I was in our IT group and new people started and were issued a new thinkpad. They always wanted a mouse. In about 2 days we would get the mouse back. They would get the hang of the trackpoint.

2 thoughts on “Computer Input Devices – Touchpad vs Trackpoint”

  1. I concur that the trackpoint is a better input interface than the touchpad. My understanding is that IBM owns the patent on the trackpoint and other vendors have to pay a royalty to use it. Still, I can’t believe it would cost that much more per unit, and I would gladly pay the extra $ to have it included as an option.
    Touch pads are worthless. They require more focus off the keyboard to use and getting the sensitivity settings right is a lost cause. I could do without on all together.
    My next laptop purchase will continue to include trackpoint as a requirement. Lenovo, Dell and HP all offer business laptops with this feature.

  2. Hi Jim , I agree with the above comments , my first laptop was a Compaq with a trackpoint so I was used to it straight away. After using 2 more laptops without it I was so fed up trying to use those useless touchpads I got a Thinkpad and am now a happy bunny again. Unfortunately it also has a touchpad which I have switched off , my ideal would be a slightly larger trackpoint , half-inch ? , at both sides of the keyboard for left/right handers and no touchpad at all thus moving the keyboard to the front of the machine where it is supposed to be , no wonder so many people get cramp and eyestrain using the present models. With the keys at the front the lappy can be pushed back at least 4″ where it should be anyway for optimum reading.

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