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?

3 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.