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Author Topic: Best Laptop Input Device?  (Read 7141 times)

JennyB

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Best Laptop Input Device?
« on: September 25, 2009, 01:13:08 PM »
Not that I have a laptop, but I have rigged up a sort of folding easel that I use to move my ex-desktop to various locations, most of which do not have a desk. I often find myself typing with the keyboard on my knees and the mouse hanging over my upper left thigh. The keyboard position is fine, but there must be a better solution for the pointing device, one that doesn't involve dropping something every time you move.  :mad:

I'm sure there is a market for this among laptop owners too, so what devices are available, and how do they rate?

If you don't see how it can fail -
you haven't understood it properly.

rjbull

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2009, 03:41:47 PM »
Most laptops have some kind of mouse-equivalent built in.  My Win98SE laptop has a small rubber knob that sticks up between two keys, plus a couple of buttons below the keyboard; my new Vista laptop has a touch pad with scroll-wheel analogue built into it, plus buttons.  I've also seen small trackballs designed to clip onto the edge of a keyboard, though not for a long time.

tomos

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2009, 04:19:41 PM »
wasnt there a keyboard on sale with some sort of mouse (a trackball maybe?) towards the front, similar to the laptop + touchpad layout ?

(sorry I cant remember any 'real' details)
Tom

Innuendo

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2009, 11:04:54 PM »
You can buy keyboards that have trackpads or trackpoints (those little rubber knobs that stick up between the keys that rjbull was talking about). There are even keyboards with integrated trackballs as well.


JennyB

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2009, 06:12:30 AM »
You can buy keyboards that have trackpads or trackpoints (those little rubber knobs that stick up between the keys that rjbull was talking about). There are even keyboards with integrated trackballs as well.



The question is, which of these is best for comfortable input, rather than for optimising space?

I've tried trackpoints, trackballs and touchpads, but I am not convinced that any of them are superior to a mouse. Perhaps the ultimate would be a split keyboard with a multi-touch screen in the middle.

For the present, I am experimenting with my Blue Peter solution, which is a piece of cardboard taped to the back of the keyboard, so that the mouse sits between my wrists as I type. It works OK, but it needs to be adjusted so that I do not hit the mouse button with the base of my thumb.
If you don't see how it can fail -
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Innuendo

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2009, 09:04:10 AM »
The question is, which of these is best for comfortable input, rather than for optimising space?

Only you can answer the question of comfort. Everyone's body is different & everyone works differently. I'd buy from a place with a good return policy so you can return it if it doesn't work for you.

CleverCat

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2009, 02:06:24 AM »

Dormouse

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2009, 03:52:28 AM »
When I'm doing a lot of typing, I generally sit back in my chair with my keyboard on my knees. I have a wide armrest on my chair and have the mouse on that. Much better than any of the other input devices I've come across.

When I use a laptop, I usually have another keyboard and mouse attached and mostly use those.

For better mouse control than a mouse I use a Wacom tablet. But that is less easy to use and swapping to the keyboard is much less smooth.

mrainey

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2009, 04:46:01 AM »
Quote
I have a wide armrest on my chair and have the mouse on that.

Me too.
Software For Metalworking
http://closetolerancesoftware.com

JennyB

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2009, 04:45:45 PM »
What about one of these?

http://www.ecrater.c...duct.php?pid=3487424

That looks like a neat thing for a media centre or presentations, but not so good as a mouse substitute when keyboarding. I've been looking a lapdesks, which provide a portable 'wide armrest' but none seem to address the question of what happens when you need to do something else. Ideally, I want to be able to pick up everything I have in my lap and put it away or carry it elsewhere as easily as I would a laptop.
If you don't see how it can fail -
you haven't understood it properly.

Cloq

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2009, 08:10:20 PM »
I would recommend a portable clip-on trackball. It seems clip-on trackballs have gone the way of the dodo (in the States that is).

The only one that I have been able to spot is the Traveler 350.

Innuendo

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2009, 10:21:13 PM »
I would recommend a portable clip-on trackball. It seems clip-on trackballs have gone the way of the dodo (in the States that is).

You can always buy a keyboard with an integrated trackball.

http://pckeyboards.s....yahoo.net/on10.html

Stoic Joker

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2009, 05:40:42 AM »
Is there a specific reason you are sticking with the desk-easel rig and choosing not to just get the laptop it sounds like you need? I ask because there are usually many more requirements for the type of setup that you are describing that are important but not readily appearent.

Kinda of like why not use a wheeled cart of some kind so there is a flat surface available to use a normal mouse on? Not to mention better ergonomics if you can just stand normally in front of the computer instead of squatting in front of it for extended periods.

Obviously this won't work if you do site work and have a small car ... but without more information about what's actually happenning the crew is probably going to keep chanting trackball.

Cloq

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2009, 04:54:06 PM »

You can always buy a keyboard with an integrated trackball.

http://pckeyboards.s....yahoo.net/on10.html

Oh wow! Thanks for the link,  Innuendo!

hmm.. wonder how the trackball is..  :tellme:

Innuendo

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2009, 05:30:32 PM »
Oh wow! Thanks for the link,  Innuendo!

hmm.. wonder how the trackball is..  :tellme:

I've never used one, but I would imagine that it would be high quality. If you are not familiar with Unicomp, they are the company that used to be the keyboard division of Lexmark which used to be the keyboard division of IBM.

Deozaan

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2009, 08:10:26 PM »
I'd have to vote for trackball as well. But not the kind you control with your index/middle fingers. The thumb trackballs. Then you can just place it somewhere (even your thigh will work) and it doesn't have to move anywhere. Anywhere it won't fall is a good place for it.


JennyB

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2009, 12:22:12 PM »
Is there a specific reason you are sticking with the desk-easel rig and choosing not to just get the laptop it sounds like you need? I ask because there are usually many more requirements for the type of setup that you are describing that are important but not readily appearent.

Kinda of like why not use a wheeled cart of some kind so there is a flat surface available to use a normal mouse on? Not to mention better ergonomics if you can just stand normally in front of the computer instead of squatting in front of it for extended periods.


I'm using the easel because it gives me as much portability as I need. Basically, its a modified 28" trolley case with the tower in the bottom and the rest stored on top. Every place I'm likely to use it has a chair of some sort, but not always a suitable table. I could rig something to fold out from the front, but I think that would prove either unwieldy or unstable, and in any case I like the keyboard in my lap.

So the spec is for something that stores in one piece, no wider than a standard keyboard and no more than about 9" front to back, and preferably wireless.
If you don't see how it can fail -
you haven't understood it properly.

Innuendo

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2009, 01:17:49 PM »
So the spec is for something that stores in one piece, no wider than a standard keyboard and no more than about 9" front to back, and preferably wireless.

Note #1: I am in no way advocating Amazon.
Note #2: I am in no way advocating Adesso.
Note #3: I don't know if you hate trackballs.

Try these three candidates:

http://www.amazon.co...p/product/B000JJM7S0

http://www.amazon.co...p/product/B0009JR47O

http://www.amazon.co...p/product/B001G8LNLU

Do any of these three come anywhere close to hitting the mark?

tomos

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2009, 01:52:48 PM »
or have you seen in the 'Announce your product' section:
A free laptop mouse replacement software.

disclaimer: I havent tried it, it is free (at the moment at any rate).
Tom

kartal

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2009, 02:53:12 PM »
Have you seen this one before ?



http://www.amazon.co...256068383&sr=1-1

JennyB

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2009, 05:26:04 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions, folks. I think this is definitely a case of "try before you buy!"  :P
If you don't see how it can fail -
you haven't understood it properly.

Innuendo

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Re: Best Laptop Input Device?
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2009, 11:37:41 AM »
Jenny, regarding "try before you buy", most definitely. I only buy input devices (mice, keyboards, joypads, whatever) locally or from places on the internet that have liberal return policies because everyone has different size hands and fingertip spans. What might be right for most might not be right for you as your hands may be smaller/bigger than most and your fingers my not stretch the same distances as easily as others. It might also be that whatever felt fine in the store may not be nearly as comfortable once you're in your normal computing environment and have had a chance to work with the peripheral for a few hours.