Over the past year or so we’ve seen a growing trend of laptop makers eliminating touchpad buttons and instead using touchpads with integrated clicking, also known as ClickPads. While Apple has demonstrated that these ClickPads can actually be pretty useful tools, most of the Windows notebooks I’ve tried with ClickPads are plagued with problems: the cursor jumps when you accidentally rest a finger on the pad, you zoom in when you mean to scroll, and so on.

Now it looks like touchpad and ClickPad maker Synaptics may have the solution. Engadget’s Joanna Stern took one of the company’s upcoming ClickPad IS Series 3 devices for a spin, and she reports that the user experience is much better.

The new ClickPad features a new type of sensor technology which is similar to what you get on a MacBook touchpad. It does a better job of recognizing gestures while rejecting accidental swipes. The technology is still in the prototype phases at this point, but we could start to see Windows laptops next year with these touchpads.

Personally I don’t have a problem with a good old fashioned touchpad with two buttons below it, but I can certainly see how these integrated ClickPads will provide your fingers with more space for performing multitouch gestures.

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign


Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,502 other subscribers

10 replies on “Synaptics develops technology to make Windows ClickPads usable”

  1. Dear Computer Gods,

    Please let these new ClickPads come out soon. I am an unfortunate early adopter of the Macbook Air, which overheats when it comes across all things internet, save for static content pages. An Apple Genius has post-warned me, that the MacBook Air was not meant for things as intensive as Flash or voice and video chat, even though it comes with built-in webcam and microphone. Boys who happen to be fans of Apple claim that the other 90% market share should switch to Apple so they can use iChat if they want to see and hear us. All I ask for is cross-platform peace.
    Unfortunately, I can’t bring myself to return to PC land just yet, because the Apple Trackpad does indeed make the laptop experience incredibly better. However, while searching for options for a new laptop, I learned there may soon be a competitor to the link between user and laptop in use by Apple.

    So, I pray that this new ClickPad does indeed rival Apple hardware, and that it comes soon. Hence, I may be free to watch YouTube or video chat with my fiancee, without an OS that shuts down a core, or fills registers with no-ops to cut down on user cpu usage in order to lower temperatures; but, that I also will not lose ergonomic user experience.

    I ask this of you, almighty computer gods…Amen


    -You think you’re a customer? You were a customer while you were purchasing your computer. Now, you’re a user.

  2. So how do I enable a click zone for right click on an HP dv7-4173 running Windows 7? Currently I have to use the right mouse button area and actually click it. Ick. FIX IT, or give me actual buttons back.

  3. I have wondered for years why they never got rid of the buttons below/beside the touch pads. I have never used the click buttons on a touch pad since buying my first notebook. You have always been able to tap the pad for a left click, and the Synapics drivers allow you to set up click zones for the other mouse buttons. On my previous notebook with a Synaptics pad, I set a click spot in the top right corner do do a right click and the top left for a middle click.

    My current netbook uses an Elan touch pad, which I have set right click as a tap with two fingers and middle click as a tap with three fingers.

  4. I prefer the Trackpoint eraser nub. It is much more precise than
    touchpads. You keep your fingers on the home row of the keyboard.
    You ddon’t need to move your fingers very far to get where you
    are going. Clicking and dragging can be a one handed operation.

    On systems with both Trackpoints and touchpads, one can tell
    the difference.

  5. You guys have got to be kidding! The first thing I do on every laptop I get is disable tapping and gestures. They never work. How many times do you need to drag the cursor then have it think you clicked on something?

    1. tsk. tsk. So lazy and so scared to learn a new trick or skill. I think I should start charging for trackpad lessons. There may be a business in that. Then again, learning takes effort. Oh well. BTW, just for fun, how do you know how good or bad the trackpads are if you disable them right away? It’s like locking a door before you try to open it and wondering why you can’t get in.

  6. This has been my hope all along. On a netbook, more pad = better user experience. It will shock a lot of consumers to not have the redundant click bar there. It will baffle a lot of people. This is going to be a really risky move at this point. Older generation = completely lost without something there to click. Unfortunately, this click pad idea will be a slow adoption process. I would buy a netbook without a bar and thus a bigger pad any day, but I say I’m a small minority who actually understand that these new-gen trackpads require one to learn a new skill. Most people = lazy.

    1. Yup… count me in the lazy camp. 🙂

      Although I do find it hard to go back to using a touchpad which doesn’t support two-finger scrolling now.

    2. Most people are lazy. That’s the part that you got right.

      There is only one gesture that trackpads warrant, and it’s an obscene what that you make at the trackpad rather than with it. The trackpads is so dumb that it doesn’t even know that you’re making it.

      Trackpads are garbage. They are functional garbage. They are ergonomic garbage. They are tactile garbage. They are cursor control garbage. They are gesture system garbage. I guess you can put perfume on a pig, but it’s still just a stinky pig. As a guy who who uses multiple slate tablets with capacitive multitouch (and one who is privy to the research), I’m more than comfortable declaring that offscreen pointing devices like trackpads are MUCH better than touchscreens. However, trackpads are actually the worst of all the offscreen pointing devices. Gestures are dumb. They are not intuitive. They don’t represent quality interactions with onscreen control systems. I would miss a bar for a lot of reasons. First, I don’t like multiple context control systems. I really don’t want the steering wheel of my car to provide the accelerator (yes, I love flapping the paddle shifters, but those are a different control surface than the wheel itself). Moreover, there are things that you can do with buttons like simulated middle click that are going to be a mess on a system like this. Unfortunately, we now live in the “fun and cool” era of technology where we’re making Happy Meals instead of Healthy Meals. It’s great that you like stuff. It doesn’t make it good. It also doesn’t make the people who don’t bad.

      In a short while, all of this contact-based computer interaction will go away. We won’t touch pads or screens. We won’t touch anything. That will be a huge improvement over stupid metaphors like keyboards and mice. Junk like this trackpad is not.

      1. Great rant there. Probably a top 10 on this blog that I’ve read. Maybe even top 5.

        The “younger” generation can do what the elders thought impossible. It makes a big difference. Lots of technologies looked great before, like the LP needle, but things advanced. A rocker bar takes up valuable real estate. That’s the issue.

        Bottom line is, if you can’t do it without the rocker bar, it’s time for a lesson. If you don’t want to do it without the rocker bar, then you’re too old. Sad reality, but very truthful upon reflection.

        Have a nice weekend everyone!

Comments are closed.