Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Hardware

Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For a Laptop With a Keypad That Doesn't Suck 300

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the buckling-springs-for-a-better-tomorrow dept.
PhunkySchtuff writes "I'm seeking the collective's recommendations on a laptop with a numeric keypad that doesn't suck. For practicality reasons, an external USB keypad is less convenient than a built-in one. A keypad is required for entry of lots of numbers, and using the alpha keys with the Fn key to turn them into a keypad is not acceptable. Looking at the larger manufacturers, it seems that none of their business grade laptops (e.g. Lenovo's T-Series or similar quality levels) have numeric keypads. Looking at their laptops that do have keypads, invariably they are cheap, plastic and flimsy. Looking at Lenovo's offering with a Keypad, whilst it's a 15" screen, the vertical resolution is just 768 pixels, and the build quality of it leaves a lot to be desired. I need to find something that is built to the quality of a 'real' ThinkPad, or even a MacBook Pro, but has a full-sized keyboard with a numeric keypad and there doesn't seem to be anything like that on the market at the moment. This is a mystery to me as to why it would be the case as I'd imagine it's business users who need to use a keypad more than the average user, yet it is the consumer grade laptops that have keypads."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For a Laptop With a Keypad That Doesn't Suck

Comments Filter:
  • Re:bluetooth/usb (Score:5, Interesting)

    by optimism (2183618) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @02:06PM (#40052477)

    external bluetooth or usb numeric keypad

    I'm assuming the OP's problem with a USB keypad is that it requires a cable or dongle. A bluetooth keypad does not.

    I have a couple of MS bluetooth keypads that I use with my X-series Thinkpads. These bluetooth keypads are very thin & light, work for many months on a single AAA, and just simply work every time I pull them out. Personally I think it's the best product ever sold by MS.

    One huge benefit of a wireless external keypad is that you can place it in the most ergonomic position for your data-entry arm. Or remote-control arm. Or whatever task you're using it for.

    With a built-in keypad, you either have a behemoth of a foldable computer (not really a laptop), or a squashed set of keys (not full size) or both.

  • by optimism (2183618) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @02:55PM (#40052743)

    Trackpoints are 100% useless.

    The initial research, back in the mid-1980s, with technical users, showed that Trackpoints were radically more efficient than moving your hand off the keyboard to access a pointing device.

    Subsequent research, with mainstream consumers, showed that most people had trouble learning how to use it.

    It isn't the technology; it's the ability of most people to get over a learning curve when they have another option readily available.

    Try the Trackpoint again...try a little harder...and I bet you'll never go back to a mouse. :)

  • Re:"Consumer Grade" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cirby (2599) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @05:25PM (#40053509)

    Yeah, that was something else I forgot to mention - I see (literally) hundreds of laptops, from all sorts of brands, each year.

    I get all of the sob stories, all of the support nightmares, and then I get to make them work with random networks and projection systems.

    The Toshibas are the ones that tend to be problem-free. That's why I bought mine. It's been pretty close to perfect for the last couple of years. The only thing I don't like is a minor design issue - they didn't put screw attachments for the external VGA connector, so you have to rely on friction (or gaff tape) to make sure the connector doesn't come off. That's almost universal nowadays, though, and if you're not a Power Point Ranger, it's a non-issue.

    We're talking about a laptop that's traveled across the country (and out of the country) a few times, has been carried to work in a motorcycle backpack (a lot), and has been used to test out and operate high-end and low-end corporate video systems of all sorts. It's the machine we break out when we want to test a system that we aren't sure is working - if the system is working at all, something will show up. Of course, a lot of that comes from having an actual dedicated graphics chip (GeForce 310M) with a bit of dedicated graphics RAM (512 megs) - those shared memory machines tend to have issues with drivers and pushing signals through external ports. It's not really a massive gaming machine or anything like that, but it'll do a lot more than 90% of the "business" laptops out there.

  • by quacking duck (607555) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @09:44PM (#40054679)

    Trackpoints are 100% useless.

    The initial research, back in the mid-1980s, with technical users, showed that Trackpoints were radically more efficient than moving your hand off the keyboard to access a pointing device.

    Subsequent research, with mainstream consumers, showed that most people had trouble learning how to use it.

    I suspect that's because the mid-80s research didn't consider using a stationary area below the space bar for a pointing device, or using one of the two thumbs to move it around. How recent was the subsequent consumer research? Most non-Mac consumers probably hadn't used a mouse before Windows 3.x came out, so there wouldn't have been much bias toward any pointer technology if the latter research occurred before 1991 or so.

    Apple's PowerBook 100 was the first laptop with a palm rest, which integrated perfectly with it being the first with a trackball, too. Even into the mid-90s many PC laptops still had no palmrest, let alone a larger pointing device. And by the time trackballs became common Apple had already dropped them in favour of trackpads.

    I have used several business laptops with trackpoints, from IBM/Lenovo and HP. My current work laptop, a Thinkpad X201, doesn't even have a trackpad, and the trackpads on our X220s are so small they're useless so I end up using the trackpoints anyway.

    Anyway, all that to say I believe I've used them enough to have an informed opinion of them, and mine is that they're fine if minimizing surface space is critical, but a proper-sized trackpad beats it hands down 9 times out of 10. I do like how on Thinkpads you can simulate the scroll wheel using the trackpoint while holding the middle "mouse" button beneath the spacebar, but most PC laptops don't bother, and instead reserve a strip on the side of the trackpad. This (and two-finger scrolling) is very poorly implemented on the X220's tiny trackpad.

    On Mac laptops, the trackpads are so much larger and more functional (it can even recognize Chinese and other Asian language handwriting, which doesn't look like an out-of-box trackpad option in Windows), the trackpoint has zero advantages that I can see.

ASCII a stupid question, you get an EBCDIC answer.

Working...