View Full Version : why isn't the trackpoint more popular?

April 9th, 2007, 08:46 AM
I'm just wondering why the Trackpoint isn't more popular, you know that red pointing device that comes standard with IBM thinkpads. I never found touchpads to be sensitive enough, and a mouse inefficiently forces your hand away from the keyboard.
I know they were on other brands like dell and (compaq?) before, but now I only see them on thinkpads (not even on the cheaper lenovo laptops). My last computer purchasing decision was influenced heavily by the trackpoint - I know ppl say that thinkpads are expensive, but ebay has plenty of good condition machines for a very reasonable price.

April 9th, 2007, 08:55 AM
I have Z60m and agree with everything you wrote. I like those sweet red button:) My friend has it on Dell Inspirion _some_nums_ and it isn't so good as Thinkpad's.

April 9th, 2007, 09:03 AM
Another trackpoint lover here! It's a great little design, and it even saves a lot of space. I hate touchpads, they're totally inaccurate and hard to master (if one ever does so).

I have an X31 and can't even fathom it having anything other than a trackpoint for pointing device. And also... those Thinkpads with both a trackpoint and a touchpad... what a waste of good space... what were they thinking?

BTW, cheaper Lenovo laptops probably cannot have Trackpoints of their own, because the design is an IBM exclusive and Lenovo can only use anything related to IBM in the Thinkpad lines, it was part of their agreement.

So, Lenovo Thinkpads = good; Lenovo non Thinkpads = eeeek.

April 9th, 2007, 09:11 AM
same here too

April 9th, 2007, 09:18 AM
They give me numb hands and arms, for some reason, while the touchpad doesn't. It feels like I have to use too much pressure and too many weird muscles to use the trackpoint.

weekend warrior
April 9th, 2007, 10:05 AM
Two words - cursor drift.

I've used Thinkpads for years and seen quite a few cases. Usually it's an occasional small drift and most trackpoints will re-calibrate, but it's annoying nonetheless. It's common enough that Wikipedia picked up on it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pointing_stick).

Thankfully my trusty T23, which just has a trackpoint, doesn't suffer this problem. Even so, if I'm not typing much and have some space I find myself using a little laptop mouse which is more comfortable.

April 9th, 2007, 10:44 AM
I still don't get why trackballs died out. I always found them more efficient than trackpads, and they don't leave you with a tingling sensation in your finger.

April 9th, 2007, 11:59 AM
I ususally have a mouse hooked up to my home laptop, but in those cases where I dont (moving machine around house etc.), I use the trackpoint. I have a T-60 at work that has both trackpoint and touchpad and the touchpad never gets used... seems too slow and unresponsive.


April 9th, 2007, 12:07 PM
I have an IBM with a trackpoint but I never use it. When I use it I always seem to push down my b key which is extremely annoying when typing something. So I always use the trackpad on my laptop instead.

April 9th, 2007, 12:25 PM
Another trackpoint lover here. I have a $50 mouse 10cm away but still use the trackpoint alot. :)

April 9th, 2007, 02:56 PM
And another one.

I've never been able to use trackpads. My dad says he read somewhere that the oil content of your skin has some effect on your ability to use one. He's no good at using them either.

I also prefer trackballs over mice. Mice use too much space. Often, I like to have my arm at an angle, which makes the mouse that much harder to control

April 9th, 2007, 03:33 PM
I use the trackpoint on mine every once in a while. Kind of weird to get used to. I could take it or leave it, actually. I find I'm using keyboard shortcuts more often on the laptop instead...

April 9th, 2007, 03:38 PM
I also prefer trackballs over mice. Mice use too much space.

You've got your mouse sensitivity set too high then. At a resolution of 1152x864, you should be able to move the cursor from corner to corner by moving the mouse 5cm. At higher resolutions, you can use two scoots to get the cursor to the corner, and not even have to move your hand horizontally.

April 9th, 2007, 03:46 PM
Love trackpoints, my laptop however has a touchpad which i dont use if i dont have to. Use a little external mouse but a trackpoint would be great.

April 9th, 2007, 03:55 PM
I too like the trackpoint and i have a theory as to why its not as popular as it should be.

http://xkcd.com/c243.html this may have something to do with it.

April 9th, 2007, 03:57 PM
At a resolution of 1152x864, you should be able to move the cursor from corner to corner by moving the mouse 5cm.

That's still more than is needed for a trackball/point.

April 11th, 2007, 03:26 PM
I think the points are hard to get used to. I mean, it's basically using a joystick to move around the screen; you might as well be using the arrow keys to move the mouse (IMHO). Touchpads are at least relative-motion devices like mice or trackballs. And I think that trackballs in laptops died out when they started cramming so much into the laptops. Trackballs can be made small, but you still have depth to worry about. A half-inch is a lot of depth if the main body of your laptop is only 3/4in tall.

April 11th, 2007, 03:34 PM
I have a trackpoint on my laptop, but I rearly use it. Maby its just me, but I find it really hard to use (hard to hit what you want, easy to drive the mouse too far).

April 11th, 2007, 03:38 PM
I agree that they are much better than touchpads. Something I've wondered: why did the trackball die? An optical trackball would be better than a touchpad, too.

Super King
April 11th, 2007, 04:52 PM
Yeah, once I used a Trackpoint for about a week I couldn't go back to touchpads. My efficiency is up like 500% with a Trackpoint. That's one of the primary reasons why I went Thinkpad again when I needed to get a new laptop.

April 29th, 2007, 08:16 PM
I absolutely despise the trackpoint. One way or another it develops a mind of its own and randomly drifts to one corner or another of the screen and is bordering on impossible to remove from that corner... until it randomly decides to move to another corner. I did manage to counter this with the Synaptics Pointing Device driver in XP which allowed me to completely turn the trackpoint off, but haven't been able to find a suitable solution in Feisty for the same problem... anyone got any ideas? By the way, for one reason or another I cannot turn it off in the BIOS menu either, so that's out. I have also tried "commenting"it out in /etc/X11/xorg.conf, but that didn't seem to work either.

April 29th, 2007, 08:19 PM
i wish my laptop had a trackpoint. i think they're great. but a small, cheap external mouse solved my touchpad problems well enough.

April 29th, 2007, 08:37 PM
I too find the TrackPoint to be the more efficient and accurate choice for my use. The trackpads and trackballs were highly inaccurate and difficult for me to control, even after some extended use. And while it took a week or so originally to get comfortable on the TrackPoint, I haven't strayed since, going through a 600E, T23, T30, T42, and now T60. I find the positioning of the device makes it almost seamless when typing and must save me a large amount of movement and time. An external mouse on a laptop seems so counterintuitive to me.

That being said, we use ThinkPads at my company and a very high number of people absolutely hate them. As they say, to each their own!

(Note - For TP lovers that are interested in carrying the TP Love over to their stationary machines, there is the TrackPoint USB Keyboard (http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?sitestyle=lenovo&lndocid=MIGR-4WKSWX&velxr-layout=printLenovo).)

May 2nd, 2007, 11:25 PM
Probably because a trackpad can only ever be *so* broken. It's either tracking, or it isn't.

A trackpoint on the other hand can break in any number of ways - tearing off, getting stuck down, pressing on surrounding keys, the known "drift" issue, idiots pressing too hard and breaking something vital inside, inferior third-party replacement points, etc.

It's probably cheaper to produce the trackpads, and I'm sure their cheaper to repair/replace when they are under warranty. (Or rather, it's probably rarer they need repairs while still under warranty at all!)

My laptop (my main machine that is) has got a trackpad. Oh, how I'd prefer the trackpoint! I'm getting mighty sick of my right palm moving my cursor while I'm not looking! I guess I hold my hands crooked when I type, because it's only the right palm that hits it. Well, the big meaty part where your thumb turns into your palm, actually.


May 2nd, 2007, 11:29 PM
trackpoint + Gvim == love.

May 2nd, 2007, 11:48 PM
Never used a trackpoint, but we are passed that, touchscreens is the way to go (i hope) :)