Are You A One-Handed Or Two-Handed Touchpad User? The Answer May Determine The Best Laptop For You

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HP Envy 15 trackpadIn our reviews of HP's Envy 13 and 15, we noticed that the touchpads on both were finicky and difficult to work with. Our reviewers noticed jumping cursors, poor response to input and intermittent gesture recognition. Like the rest of the system, it was obvious the touchpad's style and design were meant to mimic the ones on MacBook Pros. We wished that they worked nearly as well.

Passing the systems around the office, we discovered that staffers who used the touchpad with one hand had an easier time dealing with the Envys than those who use two hands.

Unlike typing, I never received any formal instruction on how to use a touchpad, so I defaulted to what made sense to me. Is that true for everyone? If so, what does the way you use a touchpad say about you as a person? Perhaps it reveals deep mysteries about your personality. Or perhaps it just means you're more or less frustrated with your laptop on a daily basis.

I'm a two-handed user, so I always keep a finger from my left hand on the mouse button while my right moves the cursor around, like so:


Some of the people on staff use just one hand, like so:


I find it really difficult to use the touchpad this way, especially when working on a netbook:


The second way works much better on small netbook pads. However, because the buttons on netbooks are often small, there are times when a tip of my finger accidentally strays onto the touchpad, making the cursor jump or scrolling difficult. This doesn't happen too often, but often enough to notice.

Neither the one-handed or two-handed approach seems to be more common than the other in the office, but I wonder if maybe the designers and engineers who worked on the HP Envy line are all one-handed users. That certainly makes using the touchpad a bit easier. Perhaps they are all secretly MacBook users, as I've noticed a correlation between one-handed touchpad use and Mac users:


However, when I use a MacBook touchpad I default to my usual two-handed stance and don't encounter problems. It seems Apple's hardware is usually able to tell the difference between a finger resting on the touchpad and those in motion, allowing even people like me to use it frustration-free.

Are you a one-handed or two-handed touchpad user? Maybe you're lucky and can do both. Have you noticed that some touchpads are more difficult to deal with than others? Could it be because you're using it differently than the designers intended?

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  • laurwarr Says:

    I work in a high school and it has been confounding me that almost everyone uses 2 hands. I noticed yesterday that some students had difficulty with the laptop response and thought that it was caused by 2 hands attempting to give the command. An outside observer opined that maybe they tended to use 2 hands because they use 2 hands to text.

  • grafixd Says:

    I use two hands, my dominant right hand for the cursor (middle finger because it takes less effort and moves in clean arcs when I rest my wrist on the edge of the chassis). My left hand's thumb hovers over the left trackpad button, my left wrist is placed on the body, and my left fingers nestle into the keyboard's bottom cleft. I right click with my right hand thumb which also hovers in position.

    I can use Illustrator's pen tool very nicely with this method. It's a very stable and predictable arrangement and allows me to jump up to the keyboard and back without looking. Macbook trackpads ruin it though. The fact that the buttons are part of the touchpad makes the cursor randomly jump away from my target. I consider it one of the worst trackpads even though it's visibly higher quality than my Samsung laptop whose buttons are cheap plastic with poorly placed microswitches. Yet they're more predictable than the Macbook.

  • jimmy895 Says:

    ...thumb to scroll and *Right* click...

  • jimmy895 Says:

    You could just tap to press, that's prob why you see most people using that way. I use my index finger to point and my thumb to scroll and left click, I have the asus g73 which has a very large touchpad w/ synaptics drivers which has a ton of options to fine tune it to yourself, I love it, its so accuarate and I have the speed turned up so I don't have to move my hand to go around the whole screen. So far I haven't had to say "OMFG, I gotta get a mouse!"

  • JonGl Says:

    Interesting poll results. Of course, it's still a rather small poll, but it's been consistent from the beginning--most people, by a wide margin, use single-handed scrolling. It looks like your offices are an anomaly. ;-) Maybe this is why manufacturers don't make their trackpads work better with two-handed trackpadding.


  • phi Says:

    Instead on one hand or two hand, I usually use only one finger (index finger only no other finger involved) to move around the touchpad and left click by using tap on the location of the index finger is pointing (no need to tap another button), for scrolling i use the rightside of the touchpad to scroll and circle motion to continue scrolling unfortunately this scroll may be hit and miss, but for right click its a little bit tricky I use sentelic software to register small portion of the touchpad to tap for the right click (usually lower right position). fyi, I use Aspire One D150.

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