Haptic trackpads - The Future or Just optional?

What are y’all thoughts on haptic trackspads like the ones from Sensel?

I hate the feeling of using a trackpad that has limited sweet spots. It’s one of the big deciding factors for me when using a laptop in which I do a test to feel if all the edges of a trackpad are actually tangible. It feels like Sensel’s trackpad tech could bridge and solve a lot of issues w/ current conventional & haptic trackpad design.

Linus from LTT who is now an investor at Framework also did demo Sensel’s tech not too long ago in this video

However there have also been amazing non haptic trackpads. From a linearity standpoint I’d like the trackpad to feel “good” regardless of how I push down on it. The best trackpad I’ve ever felt have been non-haptic. Especially on Google’s own Pixel line of Chromebooks. They all perform flawlessly when compared to even Apple’s Force Touch (haptic) trackpads due to the physical displacement & travel nature. How has everyone’s experience been with the current Framework trackpads? Do they feel lacking in anyway and could they be improved?

7 Likes

I find Framework’s diving-board style trackpad pretty decent for its class. I was surprised at how much of the trackpad was actually clickable. Here’s a comparison with a new X1 Carbon:

That said Sensel’s efforts so far have been lackluster (see X1 Titanium) so at the moment I don’t think haptic is quite there yet. A lot of new units with haptics were announced recently so I’d expect improvement there in the next few years.

Def expecting to see some improvements in the upcoming years, Sensel said they would drop some news during computex this year so might be looking forward to seeing what shows up this year.

Its one of the upgrades I’d most like to see happen w/ our Frame.work machines. While I liked the trackpad when I first got the Frame, I’ve since come to dislike it more and more - especially after extended use and its started to act a little funky and stick at the bottom…
I would love a new upgrade/solution. The Sensei hardware SOUNDS good; but if I were completely honest, I just wish we could have an exact MacBook Pro ‘copy’.
Thats possibly what Sensei hardware IS - I’m just not sure. I know I’d buy an upgrade, tho.

This might be the place to ask the question about trackpads that’s been bugging me for years. I TAP trackpads with one, two or occasionally three fingers and they do my bidding. The only time I need to CLICK a trackpad is when the operating system doesn’t understand taps (eg, to switch between Wayland and xorg when logging into Ubuntu).

What is the point of adding clicking to a trackpad? Apart from the need to appease some few instances of ignorant software, what is this mechanical complication for?


Chris

To be honest… I kinda prefer tapping over clicking on trackpads, I have it enabled on my PowerBook G4 and use it that way. Less mechanical wear and it works at any point on the pad, unlike a physical button. One of three things (alongside the non-3:2 aspect ratio and generally speaking unrepairability besides the battery or display) that I don’t like about the 13" M2 MBP, at least from my time spent with it at the Apple store.

Tapping is definitely convenient. However, if you find yourself clicking and then moving a short distance and then clicking again A LOT (like check all the boxes that are 50px from each other), it will nicer to never lift your finger off the pad.

Tapping is better on most laptops because the trackpads are trash. Macbook touchpads are fantastic and you really don’t appreciate how good they are until you use one for a long time. The clicking is very satisfying and the ability to click and drag is much better without enabling the ‘tapping’ functionality. I have never used a Sensel touchpad but I would very much like to have one like the Macbook touchpads on the Framework. It appears Lenovo and even Microsoft (with the laptop studio) are attempting to delve into this area too.

Another point towards Sensel’s touchpads is not just do they offer haptics, but the tracking is also a level beyond.

According to LTT at least, the Sensel trackpad is a step above the Mac in every way!

2 Likes

It is possible that Sensel has entered into an exclusivity pact with Lenovo, which could prevent them from working with other laptop companies. However, this remains speculation and it is hoped that this is not the case as it would limit the potential for innovation and competition in the industry.

I find this unlikely considering their website still very much poises them as open to partnership!
Although it is possible.

1 Like

Resurfacing this post.
This is a must have. If you want to convey more people from Mac to Frame.Work the aptic trackpad is a no brainer.

1 Like

Agree. This is the one thing that is leaving me in doubt about getting a Framework over a similarly priced MacBook Air.

2 Likes

I ended up buying a Framework laptop 13 (12th gen) and returning it precisely because of the touchpad. I ended up with a Macbook Air instead. Two things really caused me to switch: battery life and the touchpad. I could have done with bad battery life and just charged the device more often but I couldn’t do with the touchpad. If they ever release a haptic touchpad, I will buy another and probably really enjoy it.

2 Likes

I find both the keyboard and trackpad on the Framework laptop to be on the mushy side. The keyboard however I can live with, but the trackpad feels a step back not only from the haptic MacBook trackpads but even the MacBook diving board trackpads.

Apple has worked really, really hard on their HID touchpoints and it shows. I’m looking forward to improvements from Framework on the input cover to get closer to the market leader.

I can’t stand trackpads in general and the one on framework is easily the worst I’ve encountered. Far too big and no physical buttons or even any indication of the division between right and left. I’d be far happier with a trackball.

Why do you prefer to have physical left and right buttons on your trackpad? What advantages does having this bring to the user? In my eyes, taping the trackpad with two fingers to left-click, and tapping/pressing once to right-click is far easier. Not to mention, these sorts of trackpads look way more sleek than ones with physical buttons.

1 Like

I have (at times severe) hand tremors. If I lift my hand from the pad it won’t be in the same place when it goes back down. Therefore trackpads never behave themselves when I use them. They are a usability disaster for people with hand/coordination disabilities.

4 Likes

Thank you for speaking about this, and informing me about the limitations of using a computer for some people. Have a great day.

Here’s a list of Lenovo laptops with Sensel:

If Sensel release a usb version, we might be able to DIY something until Framework bring out a module.

Agree that I can’t go back to a mouse now. Switching from keyboard to trackpad is quicker

1 Like