Which is Better: Mouse Vs. Trackpad?

Over the past several years, trackpads have come a long way. They’ve gone from being simple pointing devices to multi-touch interface systems that mimic (and in some ways improve) on capabilities previously exclusive to the mouse. As operating systems and hardware makers begin to support increased trackpad functionality, the usefulness of this previously limited interface increases.

Today, modern trackpad hardware (and operating systems) have been designed with the mobile user in mind. Multi-touch controls are typically built in, allowing the user to utilize gestures that can handle a variety of different tasks such as resizing a Web page or switching between multiple desktops. On OS X Lion, many of these gestures have been refined with an incredible amount added, allowing the user to achieve the same action with a swipe of their hand that would normally require several clicks of the mouse.

The mouse still remains the preferred device for interacting with games. While there have been some considerable improvements in trackpad technology, the mouse allows for pinpoint precision where it’s needed most. Graphics designers and others that deal in 3D environments are also somewhat bound to the mouse until a new interface that revolutionizes interaction is created in trackpad form. For some, there is the option of a 3D mouse, such as the SpaceNavigator by 3DConnexion.

The mouse itself has evolved considerably. No longer is it limited to button clicks and simple 2D scrolling. A new breed of mouse includes a touch-sensitive surface that allows you to replicate several of the gestures found on a trackpad. Apple’s Magic Mouse is one example of this kind of technology, with more on the way from several major hardware manufacturers. This marriage between mouse and trackpad may be an excellent solution for many users out there who seek the best of both worlds.

So, if you had to choose between one and the other today, which would you pick? Would you go for the gesture-friendly trackpad or the intuitive and precise mouse?

9 comments On Which is Better: Mouse Vs. Trackpad?

  • Jimmy, I bought a mouse when I bought my first laptop 6 years ago, thinking it was necessary. I never used the mouse. I’ve been a trackpad-only-guy for all this time. I still miss the mouse, just because it was fun to use, but the trackpads on my laptops have served me perfectly well. I understand the new trackpads have added lots of functionality, so they further shove the mouse into the dustbin of history. Move over buggy whip.

  • Jimmy, I bought a mouse when I bought my first laptop 6 years ago, thinking it was necessary. I never used the mouse. I’ve been a trackpad-only-guy for all this time. I still miss the mouse, just because it was fun to use, but the trackpads on my laptops have served me perfectly well. I understand the new trackpads have added lots of functionality, so they further shove the mouse into the dustbin of history. Move over buggy whip.

  • Jimmy, I bought a mouse when I bought my first laptop 6 years ago, thinking it was necessary. I never used the mouse. I’ve been a trackpad-only-guy for all this time. I still miss the mouse, just because it was fun to use, but the trackpads on my laptops have served me perfectly well. I understand the new trackpads have added lots of functionality, so they further shove the mouse into the dustbin of history. Move over buggy whip.

  • I would get a new mouse too.
    The trackpad, should I ever get a mac as far as I am aware only works on the mac.
    I can usually plug a usb mouse into another computer whatever OS it is running and get at least most of the same experience.
    While my experience with a multi-touch trackpad is exactly nil I do question whether a trackpad can compete for gaming comapred to a mouse.

  • I would get a new mouse too.
    The trackpad, should I ever get a mac as far as I am aware only works on the mac.
    I can usually plug a usb mouse into another computer whatever OS it is running and get at least most of the same experience.
    While my experience with a multi-touch trackpad is exactly nil I do question whether a trackpad can compete for gaming comapred to a mouse.

  • I would get a new mouse too.
    The trackpad, should I ever get a mac as far as I am aware only works on the mac.
    I can usually plug a usb mouse into another computer whatever OS it is running and get at least most of the same experience.
    While my experience with a multi-touch trackpad is exactly nil I do question whether a trackpad can compete for gaming comapred to a mouse.

  • As stated, some apps (like games) pretty much need a mouse. I bought my first laptop about 3 years ago. Got used to the trackpad as a “no choice” thing when I was traveling- but couldn’t warm to it. Then, I found out about Synaptics software. I now never use anything but the trackpad even when I’m at a desk. I used Synaptic to program my pad: tap bottom left (go back a page or up a level), tap bottom right (go forward in these), tap top right- on a link in a web page (open link in new tab without leaving the current page).

    What can I say? don/t have to use the back/forward buttons anymore…I also like to research & like that I can have the new pages building as I continue to read the current page.

    With few exceptions, trackpad & Synaptics, FTW.

  • As stated, some apps (like games) pretty much need a mouse. I bought my first laptop about 3 years ago. Got used to the trackpad as a “no choice” thing when I was traveling- but couldn’t warm to it. Then, I found out about Synaptics software. I now never use anything but the trackpad even when I’m at a desk. I used Synaptic to program my pad: tap bottom left (go back a page or up a level), tap bottom right (go forward in these), tap top right- on a link in a web page (open link in new tab without leaving the current page).

    What can I say? don/t have to use the back/forward buttons anymore…I also like to research & like that I can have the new pages building as I continue to read the current page.

    With few exceptions, trackpad & Synaptics, FTW.

  • As stated, some apps (like games) pretty much need a mouse. I bought my first laptop about 3 years ago. Got used to the trackpad as a “no choice” thing when I was traveling- but couldn’t warm to it. Then, I found out about Synaptics software. I now never use anything but the trackpad even when I’m at a desk. I used Synaptic to program my pad: tap bottom left (go back a page or up a level), tap bottom right (go forward in these), tap top right- on a link in a web page (open link in new tab without leaving the current page).

    What can I say? don/t have to use the back/forward buttons anymore…I also like to research & like that I can have the new pages building as I continue to read the current page.

    With few exceptions, trackpad & Synaptics, FTW.

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