Any non-macbooks that can compete with apples trackpads?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Shredder-, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Shredder- macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    #1
    One of the few reasons I'll most likely never leave MacBooks for another laptop is the trackpad. Every other trackpad is just pure garbage compare to MacBooks'. What laptop is closest to MacBooks sensitivity? (Two finger swipe down, four finger swipe to show desktop, all those utilities)
     
  2. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    #2
    I don't think another one exists. And if it does, it's made to work for Windows and the gesturing is pretty dependent on the driver. (Synaptics is pretty prevalent). For me, it's starting to make more sense to run Windows full time on a MacBook (lots of biz apps at work plus I don't like where OSX is headed). Of course Boot camp drivers for windows really suck and there really isn't anything else out there.

    I do agree. The buttery-smooth scrolling and gestures on the trackpad does grow on you. PC laptops fail here as does Windows IMO.
     
  3. /user/me macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    #3
    no. Proprietary tech and a legal team that has the capability to sue God for negligence means that even if one did, apple crushed it into dust.
     
  4. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #4
    That is OS specific, not trackpad specific. A multi-touch trackpad isn't exactly hard to implement, Windows simply doesn't have the proper drivers for it.
     
  5. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020

    pgiguere1

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #5
    I've heard the new HP Envy 14 Spectre has the best trackpad for a Windows laptop, and feels similar to those of Macs.

    It's only a shame that:

    - They ripped-off Apple's design
    - It claims to be an ultrabook (uses ULV processor, SSD, etc.) yet is much bulkier and heavier than a MBA (almost 1 lb more)
    - Slower than MBA
    - Has less battery than MBA
    - More expensive than MBA

    In other words, it has really poor value but it's one of the only Windows laptop with a trackpad that doesn't completely suck.
     
  6. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #6
    Oh yeah, it has a silver body with black keys... must be a rip-off. Did you even look at it?

    You actually get a 1600x900 screen, USB 3.0, and CPU, Memory and storage very similar to what the 13'' MBA offers. It has a sound system that I don't think any Macbook can match.
    The engadget review gets exactly the same battery life than for the 13'' MBA (on OSX), but the 13'' MBA gets 1 hour less on windows (who cares :D ). I actually found mixed reviews for the trackpad, ranging from "best non-Apple" to "so-so."

    At the end of the day, it's still somewhat overpriced for what it is, but I don't think the comparison with a 13'' MBA is fair.



    http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/14/hp-envy-14-spectre-review/
    http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/14/2869658/hp-envy-14-spectre-review
     
  7. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020

    pgiguere1

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #7
    [​IMG]
    I did. Are you saying that all it has in common with the MBP's design is black keys and a silver body? Wow.

    Sure, specs are similar, yet the HP is more expensive. People won't usually choose an HP over a Mac if the Mac has a better specs/dollar ratio (which rarely happens anyway). Specs/dollar is actually what Apple usually is the worst at, yet HP managed to do worse. A Mac is not just about specs, but more about the global experience (customer service, build quality, design, efficient and bloatware-free OS, no drivers and virus to worry about, etc.), which I suspect this HP can't match. Both reviews you just posted show the MBA scores better in all benchmarks (PCMarkVantage, 3DMarkVantage and 3DMark06), yet is cheaper, slimmer and lighter by almost 1 lb.

    Engadget's review shows 2 minutes more for the MBA and The Verge's review show 65 minutes more. The actual battery difference will vary depending what you do but I think it's safe to say that the (cheaper) MBA offers a slightly better battery life.

    Then what would you compare it to? It aims at the same form factor and uses the same CPU, GPU, RAM and storage and has a similar price.
     
  8. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #8
    Look, it's design is certainly inspired by the MBPs unibody, but it's not a rip off. Which of these following pictures look like a Mac?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    If I were looking for a windows laptop, I would choose this one over a MBA with bootcamped windows. The bootcamp trackpad drivers that Apple provides do not offer the same experience as in OSX. Add the cost of a windows license, and the shorter battery life under windows (if we trust engadget), and there is no benefit left for going with the MBA.

    I guess it does fall into a broad category that includes the 13'' MBA, but when I look at it I don't feel that it belongs to the whole ultrabook crowd. It is more a niche product that doesn't really have an Apple counterpart.
     
  9. ixodes macrumors 601

    ixodes

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Location:
    Pacific Coast, USA
    #9
    This seems like a pointless thread.

    Anyone remotely familiar with laptops, knows that one of Apples strengths is in multitouch. No other Mfg comes close.
     
  10. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #10
    Well, one can certainly ask which windows laptop offers the best trackpad. When I feel like playing with laptops of other brands the fun usually stops the second I touch the trackpad. But eventually others will catch up.

    My impression is that a large part is not just the hardware, but also the software - as mentioned above, the Mac trackpad performs much worse under windows, even after installing the bootcamp drivers.

    Who makes Apples trackpads anyways?
     
  11. Kavier macrumors 6502a

    Kavier

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #11
    No that I know of. When I was helping my husband look for a PC laptop, we looked at every brand and tried a bunch of the trackpads. They all sucked. They weren't very responsive or intuitive.
     
  12. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    #12
    Yes. The Apple Trackpad is something you won't appreciate until you actually use it. PC users will never know. (I never did anyway).
     
  13. gpzjock, Mar 16, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012

    gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    #13
    Windows laptops have touchpads?

    Having used a Macbook Pro for a year I have had to use numerous little pieces of plastic on the front of other people's laptops that purport to be touchpads. They are not. Once you have got used to multi-touch loveliness the first thing you want to do with a Windows laptop is plug in a mouse. Roughly 75% of the other laptop owners have done exactly that already, when they get home, before I even get to their machines. Speaks volumes doesn't it. :eek:
     
  14. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #14
    Recently I powered on my 2008 pre-unibody MBP. The trackpad is sooooooo small!!! I wanted to use it to test ML, but it was very hard to get the gestures done on that tiny window.

    I think most of the ultrabooks that were announced for 2012 have Apple sized trackpads. I would be surprised if they can also match the quality.
     
  15. Kavier macrumors 6502a

    Kavier

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #15
    Definitely!! I could never go back to using a standard track pad again.
     
  16. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    #16
    A lot of thinkpads have a really nice trackpad, with buttons on top and bottom, as well as the red dot pointer.
     
  17. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    #17
    I would say the ThinkPads are second best, but nothing competes with the MBP that I am yet to see. IMO it is the biggest selling point behind the MBP that no one ever mentions. If you think about it, a multi touch track pad like the MBPs is the key to productivity. Take all those tasks you do and the trackpad can knock the time it takes to select/do them in half. Well even if you save .5 seconds each time, multiply that by a million, or however much you use it in the life of the computer. It's productivity at its best.

    Once I am finished typing this, I am going to do a three finger swipe to get back to the main screen. Then I am going to swipe three fingers up and to the side to go to my Windows virtual desktop. Forget having to move the mouse, which takes a few seconds, I am going it almost instantaneously. No way I could ever go to a touchpad that is less than this! :)
     
  18. limo79, Mar 17, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012

    limo79 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    #18
    HP Spectre 14: http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/14/2869658/hp-envy-14-spectre-review
    Razer Blade: http://www.anandtech.com/show/5606/razer-blade-review/3
    Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3: http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/acer-aspire-timeline-ultra-m3.aspx
    Samsung 9:

    "The scheme works like this: the Broadcom BCM5974 touch controller sends the timing info to TI's line driver CD3238, the line driver is, in essence, a level shifter and it drives out a 18V square/sine wave to drive the Y lines one at a time. BCM5974 will sense the voltage through mutual cap on the X lines, thus determining which X-Y crosspoint has been touched. Of course, there will be lots of points end up being touched, so there will be a 2D image inside the BCM5974's RAM. BCM5974 will process this data in its embedded MCU core and RAM. The RAM requirement should be less than 8KB and the MCU is probably a stripped-down 32-bit ARM core. The reason for 32-bit is because of the relatively high processing load (it needs to process the X * Y nodes in each scan, and for each touch, it will need to process the 2D image, doing FIR filtering, image edge extraction and interpolation to get the coordinates).

    BCM5974 is like the following: an analog AFE (front-end) with a MUX (for all the Y points) sigma-delta ADC (probably 16-bit, not sure) and some other functions. In the logic domain, there is a MCU core, in the original iPhone, it is a separate IC from NXP (arm7), but in iPhone 3G, the NXP functionality has been integrated into BCM5974 as a SOC."


    Please keep in mind that is all Apple touchpads are connected to USB bus, not PCI-E.

    Apple base on Fingerworks technology which I believe was revolutionary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FingerWorks

    "Westerman was working on a dissertation on chord-based manipulation with a multi-touch surface while a doctoral student at the University of Delaware. He and Elias, a professor in his department, started FingerWorks while he was finishing his dissertation, which formed the basis for some of the company's products. Westerman developed repetitive stress problems while finishing his dissertation, which inspired active focus on low-impact inputs."

    That's why Apple touchpads are so magic and touch sensitive. Efficient hybrid algorithms with signal processing noise (filtering, LUT etc). High 3D XYZ-axis scan resolution with touch pressure measurement in Z-axis based on stray capacitance for touch event detection/general localization and mutual capacitance for accurate location of where the touch event occurred. Different scan frequencies. Great auto scan logic to save the energy. Lot of hours spent to tune it, setting the tresholds and release into mass production.

    Fingerworks iGesture Pad was a Magic Trackpad predecessor with impressive customer feedback that time:
    [​IMG]

    OS X is also specific - Apple use different mouse acceleration than Microsoft (patents).
     
  19. Zakoth macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    #19
    Yep; I bought a mouse with my Windows laptop after I had a go with it.
     
  20. maswriter macrumors member

    maswriter

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    #20
    The trackpad and the keyboard were the things that swayed me towards the MacBook Pro. I tried the Dell XPS15, but the keys were so mushy and poorly spaced, my fingers hurt after typing on it for 10 minutes. With other HP models, I had to dig my fingers into the trackpad to get it to scroll. I didn't look at the Envy. At only a few hundred less than a refurbished MBP, what's the point?

    I like both the sensitivity and the smoothness of the MBP's trackpad. Also, the gestures for Mac make a lot more sense that then ones for any of the Windows laptops I tried.
     
  21. jamojamo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    #21
    I keep trying to do gestures, etc on my work Dell laptop and that's when I reminded how nice Apple's is.
     
  22. mfuchs88 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2011
    #22
    I have to admit, Thinkpads are fantastic machines. I have no hate for Windows machines whatsoever, and Thinkpads are among the best of them. But having used a high-end Thinkpad for years, then going to a low end Dell, and then to a MBP, it's really quite a change. If you've only ever used windows, you will be amazing by the Thinkpad's construction and as you said, trackpad. But once you go Mac, no matter how much anyone wants, you really never go back. Using a Mac for even more than a few hours absolutely spoils you, and that's the point at which one learn's why they cost so much more. Anyway, I agree, just thought I'd chime in with my addition to this thread. Cheers everyone!
     
  23. srshaw macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #23
    The track pad was an unexpected bonus when I bought my mbp. This is my first mac, and ordered it with a mouse because I generally preferred a mouse to the trackpads I've used on pc laptops.

    I must say I don't think I've used the mouse more than a couple of times.
     
  24. bjm2660 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #24
    I used to be incredulous regarding the usability of touch pads. My impression was clearly colored by a tiny unresponsive Synaptics pad on my old Dell. Touchpads were great in a pinch (no pun intended) or on a lap when a mouse wasn't practical but I thought that they could never replace a mouse. Then, I had a friend using Apple laptops. He said he stopped using mice and that Apple's trackpad on their MacBooks was like a whole new experience. Still, I persisted in my thinking that they weren't really practical. When I came around to getting my first Apple computer--a 2011 13' MacBook Pro--I finally understood. Not only is the trackpad accurate and smooth, the entire operating system is built to suit it (Lion). I can't imagine being as efficient or productive with a mouse. I got a magic trackpad for clamshell mode. I got my wife the 11' Air. Apple has made believers of us all. I am sure there are some users that need a mouse for certain applications, but not us. It's such a great feeling to use the machine and know you have everything you need self contained.
     
  25. antseg macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #25
    This is really true. You're not going to get the same experience with a PC. I've gone Mac->PC->Mac and couldn't stand PCs' trackpads. There is a subtle smoothness to the entire Mac experience for me, and I owe a lot of that to the easiness of the trackpad.

    There isn't going to be something that replicates what you get from a Mac.
     

Share This Page