P1 Touchpad Improver Review

by Reads (13,753)

Introduction

After months of usage, the wear on your notebook’s touchpad is often noticeable.  Instead of the original grainy surface, you are left with a shiny circle that is only good for occasionally checking to see if you have anything stuck between your teeth.  The slick surface has no traction, making it difficult to properly track your pointer movement.  Before, it seemed like the only solution was to send it in to replace the touchpad, but Portable One is now offering a cheaper, simpler solution with the P1 touchpad improver.

Size and Features

When I received the P1 touchpad improver, it came sealed in a small anti-static bag. 


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Smaller than a credit card, the touchpad improver has the following dimensions:  2.32” (W) x 1.625 (H).  It is also about half the thickness of a credit card.


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At this size, it will most likely cover the majority of a touchpad, but it will leave a little space open.  Here’s an image of the improver on my Fujitsu N3530.


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Here is the touchpad of my fianc e’s old Dell Latitude with a good amount of wear.  Because of Latitude touchpad’s odd shape, the touchpad improver doesn’t fit well.  In fact, the upper corners of the improvers do not even fit on the touchpad. 


Without P1 touchpad improver on Dell Latitude (view large image)

With P1 touchpad improver on Dell Latitude (view large image)

 

The actual surface is grainy, a good bit more so than my regular touchpad on my N3530, giving it a nicer texture.


P1 touchpad improver on Fujitsu N3530 (view large image)

The backside of the improver has a 3M adhesive that sticks to your touchpad.


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I was very impressed at how well the improver would stick after repeatedly removing and reattaching it.  Also, it leaves no sticky residue. 

Touchpad Usability

So the big question is, does the P1 touchpad improver actually improve touchpad usage?  The answer: it depends. 

When I use my touchpad, I use a very light touch.  I also tap the touchpad for a click action instead of clicking mouse buttons below the touchpad.  Understandably, when you place another thin layer of material between your finger and the touchpad, it will decrease sensitivity.  Unfortunately, for people who use as soft a touch as I do (a very small portion of the notebook using population, I am sure), this may pose a problem.  I found that it didn’t track as quickly as I am used to.

Also, I had much difficulty registering my one-tap click.  Regardless of how hard I tapped at times, the tap would not register.  I quickly found out that if I just use the pad of my finger (i.e. increase the surface area that comes in contact with the touchpad) instead of the tip of my finger, this issue was resolved.  Thus, people with hands that are bigger than a 10-year-old’s shouldn’t have a problem with tapping.  Regardless of which part of my finger I used, I found that registering a double tap was not a problem.

For people with a “regular” touch, the P1 touchpad improvers can be beneficial, especially when these are used to cover up a worn touchpad.  My fianc e immediately noticed a difference in tracking after placing the P1 touchpad improvers on his Latitude.  His fingers no longer stuck to the slick part of the touchpad, making tracking much smoother.

Conclusion

Basically, if you have worn down your touchpad, you will notice improvement in tracking with the touchpad improvers.  On the other hand, this improvement can be greatly reduced if you use a light touch on the touchpad.  The decreased sensitivity due to the added layer will make things more difficult for a small subset of users.  For regular users, with normal or above-average size fingers and weightier touch, the P1 touchpad improver should cause no problems and can even be used on unworn touchpads to prevent wear.

Pros:

  • Cheap (3-pack for $9.99 and free shipping)
  • Easily removable/reattachable and doesn’t leave any sticky substance behind
  • Increases traction on touchpad
  • Prevents touchpad wear

Cons:

  • Doesn’t fit perfectly on touchpad and may not fit well on touchpads that aren’t perfectly rectangular (as in older notebooks)
  • Decreases sensitivity

Purchase and Availability

The P1 touchpad improver is available online from Portable One for $9.99 with free shipping within the U.S.


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