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TrackPoint vs TouchPad

Performance, hardware, software, general buying and gaming discussion..

Which do you prefer? TrackPoint or TouchPad?

TrackPoint
100
83%
TouchPad
12
10%
I don't mind
9
7%
 
Total votes: 121

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pianowizard
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#61 Post by pianowizard » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:37 am

A general comment first: I think this debate would be less heated if people could stop making generalized statements like "touchpads are for novices" or "all experts that I know prefer the trackpoint", etc. These statements are all over the place on this forum, and you can't blame touchpad users like jvarszegi for feeling a bit antagonized. If you prefer the trackpoint, just say you prefer the trackpoint. No need to emphasize that you are part of an elite group.
dr_st wrote:novices tend to prefer touchpads (initially more intuitive, more common and therefore more familiar), users with sufficient experience with both generally favor the trackpoint.
My first laptop was a Dell Inspiron 8200 and it had both trackpoint and touchpad. I tried each for several hours and decided the trackpoint was better for me. So, for me, the trackpoint was more intuitive. I kept using trackpoints almost exclusively for about 2 years. Then I bought a Dell Inspiron 700m, which only had a touchpad and so I was forced to use it. Also, I saw a cousin of mine use a touchpad with one hand (and before that I had always used both hands), and that inspired me to learn how to use touchpads properly. I worked very hard on it, but still I took me several months to learn to use it as well as a trackpoint. Few people who've decided that the trackpoint suits them better would ever be willing to work so hard at learning the touchpad. Had I not made so much effort to learn touchpads, I would probably be swearing by the trackpoint like most people here are doing, and saying things like "touchpads are for novices".

Now I use the touchpad better than the trackpoint, not because I have stopped using the latter -- my 240Z only has a trackpoint and I use this laptop a lot -- but because I have worked really hard to learn the touchpad.
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#62 Post by dsvochak » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:14 am

If you prefer the trackpoint, just say you prefer the trackpoint. No need to emphasize that you are part of an elite group.
The converse is also true (“touchpad” being substituted for “trackpoint”).
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#63 Post by pianowizard » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:07 am

dsvochak wrote:The converse is also true (“touchpad” being substituted for “trackpoint”).
Naturally, but I haven't seen anyone say "touchpads are for experts and trackpoints are for novices" or similar statements yet.
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#64 Post by dr_st » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:23 pm

pianowizard,
Since your comment about generalized statements was obviously inspired by my earlier post, I have to politely express my disagreement with it.

All my statements were based solely on my own, personal, limited experience and interaction with people, and I made it clear that it is the case. Never will you see me try to sell my own opinions as facts, and my private observations as the general state of things. As for others, well, I am no one's advocate.

I also don't claim to be part of an "elite group", and if I am, then this elite group constitutes over 80% of the users on this forum. Too much to be considered elite, IMO.

If someone finds my observations inaccurate, by all means I welcome him to provide his own. But if someone feels antagonized simply due to being a minority in a specific group, without any specific actions against him by that group, I see it as an issue on his part.

For the record, I never said "touchpads are for novices", merely that novices tend to prefer them. And even that was honestly only in a response to claims to the superiority of the pad, based on a study where only novices were considered.
pianowizard wrote:Naturally, but I haven't seen anyone say "touchpads are for experts and trackpoints are for novices" or similar statements yet.
No, you've only seen someone claim that the touchpad is the proven better device and compare trackpoint users to people who willingly and knowingly drive an inferior car for psychological reasons. Which one do you find more antagonizing? :??:
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#65 Post by pianowizard » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:04 pm

dr_st wrote:Since your comment about generalized statements was obviously inspired by my earlier post, I have to politely express my disagreement with it.
It was indeed inspired a little bit by your earlier posts, but mainly by the hundreds of posts I'd seen over the years on this forum, and that's why I called it a "general comment". I am glad you clarified that you don't have any snobbish attitude about being a trackpoint user, and I believe you 100% -- I have always enjoyed reading your posts and have found you to be a fair and honest person. But I suspect that many (though definitely not all) other trackpoint users do have some sort of superiority complex. Again, I'm not just talking about this thread, but the countless posts scattered all over this forum. Such an attitude doesn't bother me at all, but it might bother some touchpad users.
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#66 Post by dr_st » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:16 pm

Thank you for your compliment. The feeling is definitely mutual.

I must say that I consider your posts, which often express views quite different from the forum consensus, generally very well-written and quite refreshing, whether I happen to agree with some of the particulars, or not.

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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#67 Post by rkawakami » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:51 pm

Okay, after some reading of this thread and the responses that have been given, I did some web searching and came up with this:

http://www.tele-actor.net/fitts/fitts_background.html (read this first to understand the nature of the test)
http://www.tele-actor.net/fitts/consent_form.html (fill out the consent form and then start the test)

It is a Java-based test that measures your response time with whatever pointing system you are using. A series of green and blue rectangles (or lines when they get thin) is displayed on the screen and you have to move the cursor and click on the green one as accurately and fast as you can. You then get several response time graphs that shows your "score".

I use trackpoints exclusively on Thinkpads (even the T41 systems; I have the touchpad disabled). At work, I also use a Dell Latitude D520 with a touchpad. I was slightly faster with the trackpoint than the touchpad but that's probably because of my usage pattern and past history with finicky pads (the Dell has a tendency to "stall" the cursor movement or maintain a drag mode after scrolling down a page).

edit: Just completed the second test (Applet2 - 25 round target points). With the touchpad I was recorded at 1288mS; the trackpoint was 1057. Again, this probably just indicates that I'm more comfortable and faster with the trackpoint but it's an interesting test nevertheless.
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#68 Post by dr_st » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:35 pm

I remember this test. :) I tried it again just now and managed to do ~950ms for both of the two tests. With the trackpoint. My touchpad is currently disabled and I don't feel like rebooting, so no touchpad tests. However, in the past I actually compared the two pointing devices in this exact test, and found that applet 1 seems to favor the touchpad a bit, whereas applet 2 favors the trackpoint.
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#69 Post by AIX » Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:25 pm

trackpoint exclusively. l33t.
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#70 Post by Nick Y » Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:48 pm

I find the trackpoint too slow. Also, moving between several laptops, one of which does not have a trackpoint (Gateway), I use the TouchPads as I have them set to roughly the same response. For speed on the main laptop (T43) I prefer to use a wireless mouse.
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#71 Post by jvarszegi » Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:54 am

I just tried the tests on my wife's T61, which I rarely use these days. I only used the touchpad, and got 824 msec on test 1 the first try, and 880 msec on test 2. I ran test 2 twice, though-- my first score was 980 msec on that one, exactly 100 msec longer.

The first test does probably favor the touchpad more, since movements can be much more rapid with a touchpad than a trackpoint and it doesn't test vertical accuracy.

I didn't use the trackpoint, but I am assuming my scores would be much worse due to far less recent practice with it. I am also assuming my touchpad scores on my own machine might be a little better. Security features on my machine kept preventing the tests from being run, though.

My conclusion: trackpoints are clearly appropriate for an uber-leet strikeforce of Thinkpad enthusiasts. Everyone else can probably get along at least as well with a touchpad, without ever realizing what they're missing. :D

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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#72 Post by dr_st » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:36 am

With a mouse of course it is much easier still. My best times were 526 and 729 for applets 1 and 2 respectively, using the Logitech MX310 optical mouse (nothing fancy). Average times were about 50-60 milliseconds higher.

BTW, when you used the touchpad for these tests - did you use the tap function to click or the actual touchpad button? If the button, were you using the same hand or the other one?
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#73 Post by jvarszegi » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:27 am

I used the touchpad button, though I would say I probably use the tap feature about 75% of the time in daily use. I used the same hand (forefinger to press the button, middle finger to point). For simple pointing, even when I tap, I use my middle finger.

EDIT: I mean I usually use the tap when I'm just meaning to click on something. I use the button for scrolling, which I tend to do a lot.

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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#74 Post by dr_st » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:01 am

jvarszegi wrote:I used the touchpad button, though I would say I probably use the tap feature about 75% of the time in daily use.
Exactly what I was thinking. I was doing the same.

Tap-to-click is a must-have for a usable touchpad, and most people will find themselves using it most of the time instead of actually clicking the button. At the same time, this particular type of test where you have to move extra-fast and click extra-fast (while moving) requires one to use the button, because you don't want to waste precious milliseconds lifting the finger off the pad to tap (not to mention that at high speeds, it will likely get the pad confused as to whether your intentions are to move, click or drag.
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#75 Post by jvarszegi » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:46 am

dr_st wrote:Tap-to-click is a must-have for a usable touchpad
I don't think so. It just makes the total stress involved of the point-and-click motion much lower, lower IMHO than it could possibly be with a trackpoint. I originally stopped using the trackpoint because it was causing hand/finger pain with prolonged use, even on the most sensitive setting (I do a lot of computing).

But one point for the trackpoint that could be pretty important is that one's hand is more likely to be in a correct position ergonomically, especially on a small machine. I have caught myself a few times on my tiny X100e with my right hand in an awkward position, with the two outermost fingers curling under. This would be a very bad way to work, and the problem goes away when I adjust my body/arm position. But this never used to happen with my T series, presumably because the touchpad was not so near to the edge.

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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#76 Post by ashat » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:49 pm

I can't live without trackpoint.
I very rarely use the touchpad, sometimes when I am using the laptop standing up in front of it, or if I can't place my palm on the palm-rest for whatever reason (distance etc..). Anyway I think having both it's the best option.

I do prefer the trackpoint even to an external mouse, and I would like to have one even on the keyboard of my desktop. I know this kind of IBM keyboards do exist, but they are really expensive!

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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#77 Post by pianowizard » Mon May 03, 2010 11:52 am

I finally had a chance to try the test, specifically applet 1. My touchpad score was 719 ms and my trackpoint score was 1003 ms. I tried the touchpad first, and so my trackpoint score could have been boosted a little bit through the extra practice.
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#78 Post by MnR » Thu May 20, 2010 5:53 pm

Hi,

The Trackpoint is nice and so is the Touchpad, But I still prefer a mouse.. :thumbs-UP: I don't need speed and I am mor accurate with a mouse than either of the other two .

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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#79 Post by tiorapatea » Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:34 am

Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but it seems like this debate could and should be an eternal struggle!

Also, I am now typing on a Dell Latitude E6500, which has both Trackpoint (with middle button, pace parsona on page 1) and Touchpad, both of which are practically unusable, so this whole thread has struck a raw nerve.

I have voted Touchpad, but I will admit I am not hugely experienced with either device (I have probably averaged only one hour a day of modern laptop use for the last 15 years).

My Trackpoint experience was mostly with 600E and 600X machines in 1999-2002. I have since used one sporadically on a T30 and a T60, and on this infernal E6500 (which does not belong to me). What I found was that I really liked moving the cursor [EDIT: pointer] around with a Trackpoint, but that as soon as I needed to do anything else, I needed to press buttons, which I always found awkward. After long use, I even get finger pain in the finger I use on the Trackpoint itself. Actually, I can never decide which finger to use: sometimes it is the index finger, but other times it is the next one along (by the way, I am right-handed). This finger is much longer than my index finger, and it kind of gets in the way if I use my index finger (it has nowhere to go except resting awkwardly on the keyboard).

As regards Touchpads, I initially used a Sony Vaio N505X, which I don't remember particularly enjoying. That was partly because the machine would give me electric shocks to my wrist every so often. I have since used a T30, and I quite liked the Touchpad, but I believe it is unable to do the newer mouse gestures (I have not investigated too deeply). I have also used this diabolical E6500 for a couple of years (work machine).

However, just over a year ago, I bought a T60 from a forum-member. I installed Debian, and managed to get two-fingered scrolling working. This is a great improvement. I think I may have tried a couple of other gestures, but nothing else really grabbed me.

Anyway, since then, I have really enjoyed working with the T60's Touchpad. I don't find it a perfect solution, and still prefer a mouse, as everybody seems to around here. What I like though is that I can do what I need for extended periods without straining my fingers, wrist, or any other part of my body. My wrists also enjoy the fact that they are not slowly cooked by the heat from the wrist rest.
With tap-to-click, double tap to do whatever that does (is it called draglock?), two-fingered scrolling, and maximum acceleration, I am happy. I never have to press a button, which I hate to do, probably because my fingers are too long.

I do think that people in general, myself included, but perhaps not so much others on this forum, lack the know-how to use their input devices in the most appropriate way. This is probably the case for me and Trackpoints.

Is there a useful Trackpoint user guide anyone can point to?
Last edited by tiorapatea on Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#80 Post by topmahof » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:44 am

trackpoint, hands down. can't stand typing being put into next week. or wherever it goes with a pad. the hp has a nice trackpoint but it also has a trackpad. still getting used to it. gotta keep my palms in the air. all the thinkpads are x series. i can type on them.
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#81 Post by skanky » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:39 pm

first laptop i used at a place of work was a toshiba portege, i didnt think they came with trackpads, when i brought my own laptop (t40/x31/t42/t60), i stuck with the trackpoint. passed on my fair share of laptops because, no nipple, no deal!

on my current x201s, i configured it with no trackpad.

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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#82 Post by skanky » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:42 pm

dr_st wrote:Tap-to-click is a must-have for a usable touchpad
at work we use dell latitudes, i end up turning it off when i configure machines for users as i cant get the hang of it, and if i cant noone else at my work should be allowed to use it ;)

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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#83 Post by tiorapatea » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:03 am

I have now come to appreciate more than ever that, even when using identical hardware, driver issues can make an enormous difference to the usabiliy of any device. I have installed Wndows-7 on a T60, just to try out the OS, and am just amazed by the poor Touchpad driver implementation when compared with what I have been used to with Debian Squeeze.

I began with the driver offered by Windows Update, but didn't see many options there for tweaking, so I installed the latest Ultranav driver from Lenovo's driver matrix. Still not much tweakability, so I installed the Ultranav utility. To my astonishment, even this did not offer even two-fingered scrolling, let alone any of the more fancy multi-touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom, three-finger stuff etc.

So I hunted around, and came across the Synaptics Gesture Suite, available for free (as in beer) download here. I was a bit nervous about driver conflicts, but as this is a test installation I just went ahead and installed it. Seemingly, this has worked out ok, in that I have had no problems with the previous Lenovo drivers getting in the way.

However, the driver itself is of much lower quality than the Linux one I am used to. Two-fingered scrolling, which I normally love, is just hardly worth using at all - it takes a while to decide you are wanting to scroll, then if you just leave your two fingers stationary for a moment, it decides you want to be right at the bottom of the page. If you turn on edge enhancement (things carry on when you reach the edge of the pad), you have to learn to take one of the two fingers off when you get to the edge, or else it starts going backwards. More generally, it just seems hard to tune the thing to respond with the appropriate magnitude to any two-fingered stimulus (!). Momentum scrolling appears to be nearly unusable, as are three-fingered swipes.

Various gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom, have been disbabled in recent versions of the driver, as a result of some kind of business conspiracy, so I can't comment on them.

So-called "Scrybe" functions, which effectively let you attach macros to custom gestures, are there but I have not yet been motivated to try them.

Oh, yes, I should also mention that the driver has a horrible, bloated UI, complete with animations and videos.

Overall, trying to get the Touchpad configured properly in Windows 7 has been a horrible experience.
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#84 Post by t140568 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:47 am

While my typical experiences with trackpads have been terrible and so-so at best, I have to say that I am absolutely in LOVE with Apple's giganto-clicky-multi-gesture-trackpad. I had the opportunity to use one briefly a few weeks ago and it left me wanting an Apple pretty badly.
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#85 Post by Hawk-Think » Sun Oct 23, 2016 12:12 pm

Anyone every played Call of Duty? Any shooting game?
Try use a touch pad for it. And you will figure out.
I could play any cursor accuracy demanding game all day long with a trackpoint.
Because your finger doesn't move when you moving the cursor!!! The move stroke is infinite!!!
you don't stop till you at the right place.
The touch pad, you need to sweep because you run out of room. so your hand moves back and fourth.
try to do that couple tens of thousand times in an hour and you find out.
Another important feature is your finger can rest on the trackpoint standby for your next move. You can not do that
with touchpad, touch pad will drift. If I start a shooting game with my finger at the center of the touchpad (aim at the center of the screen). 2 minutes later my aim on the screen at the center (finger never leave touchpad due to rapid cursor adjustment) but my finger is already at the edge of the touchpad. Now I have to lift my hand to the center of the touchpad. for this micro-second without adjusting your cursor. You get killed.
Whatever device, if you put it into an extreme condition and it still work, it's better. TrackPoint can be used for rapid and constant cursor adjustment while touchpad could never achieve. I have a mac book that sitting in the drawer two weeks after I bought it. It's basically useless unless I have a mouse.
I had found out all the people that I knew were bad mouthing TrackPoint because they are not using it correctly...

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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#86 Post by TPFanatic » Sun Oct 23, 2016 1:14 pm

^^Agreed 100%.

My trackpoint seems to be a bit imprecise, either because my cap is worn or because my keyboard is a Chicony (NMB and Alps trackpoints seem more precise to me??) But it's infinitely better than a touchpad.
lenovo T420 i7 2670qm 16GB QHD + eGPU GTX 960
lenovo T430s i5 3230m 16GB QHD w/ optimus(RIP), lenovo T430 i5 3320m 8GB FHD, lenovo T500 P9700 8GB WUXGA(LED) w/ switchable graphics
Enable 2 finger scroll on old Synaptics touchpads with registry.

TonyJZX
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#87 Post by TonyJZX » Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:33 pm

If you been weaned on the early generation IBM Thinkpads then you are probably a big fan of the trackpoint.

If you hadnt then the touchpad is what you're used to. Thing is the touchpad quality is variable from one unit to the other.

My first Thinkpad was the T20 series so the red trackpoint is what I like. I think Dell would be the 2nd perferred and HP last.

However I find that new Thinkpad owners are likely never take up the trackpoint.

I myself never use the trackpoint unless I'm forced to use it due to space reasons. Otherwise I'd rather use the pile of free Lenovo OEM mice I have.

To be fair, I'm abivalent now. I would probably accept something like even a buttonless trackpad since I'm rarely ever on it.

Sweater Fish Deluxe
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Re: TrackPoint vs TouchPad

#88 Post by Sweater Fish Deluxe » Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:36 pm

I really love having both. I use the trackpoint for pointing and the trackpad for scrolling (one finger scrolling with pointer control disabled). Most people are also totally unable to use my laptop because of this.

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