What is so special about the MBP Trackpad?

marc55

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 14, 2011
848
204
What is so special about the MBP Trackpad?

What does it do better than or different from higher end Windows computers like the Dell XPS-15, or ASUS?

Thank you
 

MacDawg

macrumors Core
Mar 20, 2004
19,824
4,503
"Between the Hedges"
It is the only trackpad I have used that makes me feel like I don't need a mouse

I have a Dell for work and I would never use the trackpad on it, always a bluetooth mouse

My MBP, I don't connect the mouse... smooth and effortless
 

DavidMonteiro

macrumors newbie
Nov 8, 2013
19
0
Aesthetically, it is larger than most trackpads. That is a very good plus.

But I think it is more on the software. Put Windows on your Mac, use the trackpad, and it will be bad. OS X has amazing gestures, and these gestures are reasons why I love the trackpad so much. This is why Apple controlling both the software and hardware is so great because (I have to say this...) it just works.
 
Last edited:

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,407
33,055
Boston
I don't know about it being "special" but I will say it works better then any other trackpad I've had on my work laptops
 

IJBrekke

macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2009
392
156
Long Beach, CA
Why I prefer it:

1. Made of glass (why don't more companies do this?)
2. It's large, lots of space
3. It tracks extremely accurately

The fact that pc makers can't figure out these basic ingredients completely baffles me.
 

mg84

macrumors newbie
Dec 4, 2013
9
0
As someone who just switched over from a PC to a MBP... I definitely like Apple's trackpad better. The Gestures are awesome and make using the OS so much easier!

But as someone who just switched over from a PC it has taken some adjustment and I'm having to break some "bad habits" that I gained from using a PC. I.e. when I used a PC trackpad I always kept one finger on the button and used a second finger on the trackpad... "bad" things happen when you do this on the Apple track pad. Not really "bad" but unintended results occur. I've been using it for a couple weeks now and I haven't fully broken myself of the habit.

But I do have a harder time using PC's at work now because I try to use the Apple gestures on the PC and nothing or the opposite effect occurs.

One of the harder things for me to get used to and make the transistion... but it's well worth it!!! I now use most gestures without having to think about them.
 

bds120

macrumors member
Nov 26, 2013
77
0
As someone who just switched over from a PC to a MBP... I definitely like Apple's trackpad better. The Gestures are awesome and make using the OS so much easier!

But as someone who just switched over from a PC it has taken some adjustment and I'm having to break some "bad habits" that I gained from using a PC. I.e. when I used a PC trackpad I always kept one finger on the button and used a second finger on the trackpad... "bad" things happen when you do this on the Apple track pad. Not really "bad" but unintended results occur. I've been using it for a couple weeks now and I haven't fully broken myself of the habit.

But I do have a harder time using PC's at work now because I try to use the Apple gestures on the PC and nothing or the opposite effect occurs.

One of the harder things for me to get used to and make the transistion... but it's well worth it!!! I now use most gestures without having to think about them.
I am also a recent PC to Mac convert. I too will agree that it is simply just much more easy to use. I have enjoyed using it. The only thing I can find that I still like on PC is the function buttons. The simple things like the F5 to refresh a page and "home/end/pg down/page up" now require the use of 2 fingers clicking the "command +" whatever function you are trying to get working. That is probably my only gripe.

It is the only trackpad I have used that makes me feel like I don't need a mouse

I have a Dell for work and I would never use the trackpad on it, always a bluetooth mouse

My MBP, I don't connect the mouse... smooth and effortless
I will hands down agree with this. I mean out of every laptop I have had, I have been fully in need of a dedicated mouse. With my mac and I got a older model just recently Early 2008 model, I find myself NEVER using a actual mouse because they don't stay with my movements as good as it does just using my hands. Its a true miracle in my book, I thought I would never be able to go without a mouse using a laptop.
 

mg84

macrumors newbie
Dec 4, 2013
9
0
I am also a recent PC to Mac convert. I too will agree that it is simply just much more easy to use. I have enjoyed using it. The only thing I can find that I still like on PC is the function buttons. The simple things like the F5 to refresh a page and "home/end/pg down/page up" now require the use of 2 fingers clicking the "command +" whatever function you are trying to get working. That is probably my only gripe.
In the preferences you can swap the keyboard settings so that the Function keys are primary and the "other functions" use the Command Key. But I'm not sure how configurable the Function keys are (sitting on a work PC and don't have my MBP with me). But I would image that you can configure the Function keys to do the home/end/pd down/page up... who actually uses all ofthe default F1-F12 commands anyways... most of them I never used on my PC and I have yet to use them on my MBP. As far as pg down/pg up... I haven't missed those at all because the gestures on the track pad work so well. But having a Home/End key would have been handy a few times and I haven't bothered learning most of the Command short cuts yet.
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,212
14,772
Why I prefer it:

1. Made of glass (why don't more companies do this?)
2. It's large, lots of space
3. It tracks extremely accurately

The fact that pc makers can't figure out these basic ingredients completely baffles me.
That's the thing, they CAN, they just cheap out.

Back in 2011 Synaptics put out a video showing great PC trackpads that were honestly equal to those in MacBooks. That said, working at Best Buy the last two years I've been disgusted by the crap trackpads that companies put out. Clearly they are there to cut costs, but even setting up the machines became a major frustration as companies add textures to their trackpads and include crappy buttons, or even worse if the entire pad is a button they rock terribly and constantly get false clicks. It's beyond me why someone would put a texture on a trackpad when all it does is get skin oils on it instantly and become stuttery as fingers jump off the surface when scrolling.

It's not that there aren't good PC trackpads out there, its just that for the majority of models the venders simply don't give a damn.
 

drought

macrumors newbie
Dec 22, 2013
15
0
the mbp trackpad is better than any other trackpad i've ever used (lots) by about a dozen-fold. i don't know why pc laptop manufacturers can't get it together w/r/t trackpads. nothing comes remotely close to apple's trackpads.
 

brdeveloper

macrumors 68030
Apr 21, 2010
2,541
194
Brasil
I think the glass-based trackpad from my unibody macbook white is better than the rMBP's one... it's smoother.
 

Quu

macrumors 68030
Apr 2, 2007
2,910
4,549
The trackpads on the newer Macs (2008 Unibody models to current) are just much much better than any other computer trackpad. And they are better in every criteria.

Smoother Texture
Wear Better
More Accurate
Accurate gesture recognition
Larger Surface Area

Some others have mentioned about the glass, this is a fundamental reason for a lot of its special qualities. The glass doesn't wear as fast as plastic does so you don't end up with a trackpad that looks like this:

admittedly this is an extreme example most trackpads that get worn end up like this:

this is due to the oils secreted by your skin working its magic on the trackpads wearing the plastic down like a high quality abrasive. It makes them shiny and in some cases this shininess can make the trackpad less easy to use, it causes friction.

But it's not just the feel, it looks awful and seriously hurts the resale value of your notebook. I have yet to meet a notebook with a plastic trackpad that didn't suffer from this problem and that includes Apples own notebooks from years ago (iBook, PowerBook, early MacBook Pro's before Unibody).

The glass however holds up. I used the same 2009 Unibody notebook almost every day for 4 years and 10 months and the trackpad looks fine, no marks, no blemishes. Every inch of it looks the same unlike the plastic trackpads that visibly wear in the centre where your fingers spend most of their time.

I've even seen plastic trackpads on Windows PC's start to gain the shiny blemish within 2 months of normal use. Not to the severity I posted above of course but enough that it is noticeable and the surface texture is already starting to feel deteriorated.

But honestly there's nothing intricately unique with what Apple has done. They haven't cracked a secret formula or bottled unicorn tears. They saw a problem and they solved it. No doubt the glass costs more than plastic and that is what drives all these second rate OEM's to use plastic with poor results.
 

KUguardgrl13

macrumors 68020
May 16, 2013
2,488
119
Kansas, USA
Definitely the quality of its design and its functionality. When I was between MBPs a few months ago, I borrowed my boyfriend's Lenovo ThinkPad. After four years with my mid-2009 MBP, Lenovo's trackpad did not work for me at all. It has some of the same gestures, but the tiny nubs are extremely irritating and the scrolling is choppy. Clicking on the trackpad also isn't the most accurate. I often opted for the old school nub mouse instead, but I've never gotten used to those.
 

drought

macrumors newbie
Dec 22, 2013
15
0
I may be mistaken, but I think Apple holds a patent on it.
http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/15/3879224/apple-gets-design-patent-on-glass-trackpad

it's a somewhat limited patent that doesn't excuse other OEMs for their garbage trackpads

Of course, there are a few ways to skirt this particular patent. Apple didn't get a patent on all trackpads, or even all glass trackpads. For example, competitors could add buttons below or above the trackpad. Other non-infringing designs might include recessing the trackpad, or including a larger (or smaller) gap between the trackpad and the front edge of the laptop or the keyboard. Design patents are useful to capture blatant copies but with a little creativity they're often easy to work around. This one's no exception.
 

B...

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2013
1,949
2
For me, the main reason is a combination of the large size, glass coating and the software that supports it.
 

IJBrekke

macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2009
392
156
Long Beach, CA

Astroboy907

macrumors 65816
May 6, 2012
1,387
13
Spaceball One
1. It. scrolls. Simple as that, the fact that 70% of windows laptops I have tried *don't* scroll easily (or at all), is just wrong. The 2 finger drag was a stroke of genius. And I can scroll anywhere on the trackpad, I don't have to move my fingers to a dedicated scroll strip off to the side

2. Not textured. I really like the smooth glass. Having a textured trackpad makes me feel like I'm grating my fingers against sandpaper. Ugh.

3. Large. Ever tried using a trackpad the size of three fingers side to side?

4. Gestures. I don't know where I was before these. Open an app? Ok, 5 fingers out. iTunes? 3 fingers to the side. See all my windows? 3 fingers up. So yeah.

5. Clicking works. Right clicking works. 'Nuff said.

6. Integrated click buttons. Nothing more annoying then having separate buttons for clicking, especially one for left click and one for right.
 

AirThis

macrumors 6502a
Mar 6, 2012
505
0
The OSX trackpad gestures are a natural extension to your brain. The Windows way of doing it just feels dorky. Once you go Mac trackpad, you will never want to use another trackpad. Remember Minority Report with Tom Cruise? At the beginning of the movie, he brings up some files on screen and starts playing with them using manual gestures. Well, that's exactly what the Mac trackpad feels like.
 

Ccrew

macrumors 68020
Feb 28, 2011
2,035
3
Definitely the quality of its design and its functionality. When I was between MBPs a few months ago, I borrowed my boyfriend's Lenovo ThinkPad. After four years with my mid-2009 MBP, Lenovo's trackpad did not work for me at all.
Interesting take. I see a lot of different computers and while Apple is the hands down winner on the trackpad Lenovo's I've found are generally the best out there of the bunch. But that said, Apples trackpad rocks under OSX - the same machine running Windows in't all that either.
 

raptor402

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2011
399
2
Besides the smooth glass and the large size, I believe that the primary selling point of the MBP trackpad is OS X. The functionality, even without additional software such as Better Touch Tool, is so streamlined and comfortable that switching to any other trackpad leaves one continuously using two fingers to scroll, etc.

With Better Touch Tool, the trackpad becomes even better. There are dozens of different gestures available for hundreds of different actions.

I haven't owned a Winows laptop in 4 years so I can't be too definite, but the multitouch trackpads on those laptops, while ergonomically sound, seem to be lacking in functionality and user-friendliness.

Regards
Raptor
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,465
4,968
Its simply the best trackpad in the industry. Haptics, ergonomics, accuracy, response time - all of them are miles ahead of competition. Using trackpad on a different machine is often a chore - you either need to press harder or correct the finger multiple times, the touch feedback is weird, the whole experience feels 'alien' - with MBP, its very smooth. And - its completely silent if you just work with taps.
 

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