In recent years I have had the opportunity to use and review many HP laptops. I have kept track of how HP sharpened its design cutlets, improved performance and battery life and invented all new form factors with unique materials. But because of all those laptops there is one constant: terrible trackpads.
It's not that the actual hardware in HP's trackpads is bad – it's large, smooth, multi-touch glass surfaces, just like you would find on a modern laptop. The problem was always inferior drivers & firmware, which resulted in poor gesture support, jerky scrolling, poor palm rejection and all the other things that make a trackpad frustrating to use. HP has stubbornly stuck to the Synaptics drivers on its trackpads, despite the fact that many customers and reviewers, like myself, beg the company to switch to something better.
Today HP has revealed that it is switching to something better. In particular, the Microsoft Precision uses trackpad drivers on the new Envy 13, Envy 17, Envy x360 13, and Envy x360 15 laptops to match what the rest of the Windows laptop world has been offering for years. Precision drivers have enhanced the trackpad experience on virtually every machine on which they are used, giving Windows laptop trackpads a level of performance, reliability and flexibility that is almost the same as that of Apple & # 39; s MacBooks for years. Microsoft specifically developed the & # 39; s driver itself to address the age-old problem of bad Windows trackpads, and it was largely successful. But it never forced laptop makers to use them and HP was one of the last holdouts that hadn't implemented Precision drivers.
The new Envy models are the first consumer HP laptops with Precision drivers & # 39; s (the company has been using the superior drivers on its product line for several years, making the bad consumer experience even more frustrating), but the company says it plans to bring them to its full product line, as new models are announced in the different lines of Envy, Specter and Pavilion. (Unfortunately, that does not apply to the recently released 15-inch Specter x360 with OLED screen that I am currently testing, which still has the terrible Synaptics experience.)
With a finally good trackpad experience, HP & # 39; s laptops now have the potential to reach the top of many recommendations because they already offer great performance, eye-catching designs and an impressive battery life. It is not clear whether the company will bring the Precision drivers to existing models, but it is likely that it will only use them for new models. But my fingers crossed that the next HP laptop that is coming for review is not saddled with the same old trackpad issues that I have seen for years. Now it only needs to make the 3: 2 aspect ratio of all screens.