middle or left touchpad?
Laptop Questions

Why Are Laptop Touchpads On The Left?

Why are the touchpads of some laptops more towards the left hand side instead of the middle, which is better, and which should you get in your next laptop? This is a common question I receive, with a simple explanation.

The touchpad needs to be centered to the letter keys, rather than the whole chassis, otherwise your wrist will come into contact with it while typing.

But Some Laptops Have Centered Touchpads!

Some laptops, such as the Razer Blade 15 pictured below, have the touchpad directly in the center of the chassis.

Razer Blade 15 Touchpad
Razer Blade 15 – Touchpad centered

Most Touchpads Are Towards The Left

Many laptops, however, such as the Acer Helios 300 in the image below, have the touchpad more towards the left in comparison.

Acer Predator Helios 300 Touchpad
Acer Helios 300 – Touchpad towards left

Some people seem to instantly dismiss this and assume it’s a negative or annoying that the touchpad isn’t centered, however it’s definitely in the optimal position.

As the Helios 300 has a numpad, the letter keys are pushed over to the left. The touchpad simply follows this and is moved over as well. If the touchpad stayed in the middle in this case, when you are resting your wrists on the device your right hand would come into contact with the touchpad. This would potentially result in you unintentionally moving the mouse around and clicking while you’re trying to type.

An Example Of Bad Placement

The MSI Creator 17 has a wide touchpad, which is fine, however it’s placed in the center of the laptop chassis rather than the center of the letter keys:

MSI Creator 17 laptop

In this example, while typing my right hand was constantly triggering the touchpad to click. To be fair, the palm rejection stopped this from doing anything, but it did feel annoying, and I’d rather not have to rely on the palm rejection being successful.

If the laptop has good palm rejection, it could ignore these extra touches while you’re typing. In most cases though, it seems that most manufacturers minimize the problem by simply centering the touchpad with regards to the letter keys, instead of the entire keyboard when there is a numpad or other extra buttons.

In the end it doesn’t matter much where the touchpad is located, as long as it’s centered regards to the letter keys.

If you’ve got a big issue with this, well you can always use an external mouse!

 


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Hi, I’m Jarrod, a tech reviewer from Australia. I mainly focus on laptops, but am interested in all things tech related!

7 Comments

  • Marvin

    It was good to find some analysis on this subject. I have been using an MSI GF63 for a few months now. It has the touch pad to the left of center. It has been usable but very annoying at best. I find that when trying to use the left-click I repeatedly hit right-click instead. I find this happening around 75% of the time. On previous laptops I have never had this problem. I actually have to exaggerate my action to the left in order to get to the left far enough to make a left-click. Otherwise I get the wrong action – right-click. I’m nearly ready to change the laptop for something else because it happens so often in various applications. At first I thought the touch pad was defective until I realized that it was just off-center. I am surprised that I have not seen any other feedback about this so far. I have been hoping that my mind will become accustom to the diffenence but after 3 months it is still just as annoying.

  • Kaydee DeBolt

    I’m trying to find an I7 core rtx 2060 laptop. The main issue I find is that the mouse pad is on the left, because it has a 2nd set of number keys like a desktop keyboard. I don’t like this, I want them centered. I’m right handed so this makes it even more frustrating. And the ones that are centered are cheap and have lead, or the screen sucks and the fans are on the bottom. Truly frustrating.

  • Old_Programmer_Guy

    The reason the pad should ALWAYS be in the middle is because if you are actually using your laptop as a portable device like intended, like on the bus or in the sofa, it’s increadibly bad ergonomy to not have it centered. It is also equally bad ergonomically to not have a centered keyboard. It will hurt your joints quite soon…

    Anyone how works wile commuting know this. It’s more or less impossible to type decently if the keyboard is not centered, because the laptop is so close to your arms are not detachable…. It is rather baffling that laptops are even made with non centered keybaords.

    I’ve been programming for 30 years, so I know ergonomy is the single most importart thing with any IT eqipment, if you haven’t learned this yet, you will learn by pain eventually. Trust an old programmer. Don’t be stupid. Only use centered keyboards, it will spare you alot of neck, arm and wrist pain in the future.

    Worst thing in all this. It seems impossible to get a 17″ laptop or bigger screen with a centered keyboard.

    • Jarrod

      I still think the touchpad needs to be centered relative to the letter keys, what you’re outlining seems to be a different thing, in that ideally you just want a centered keyboard/touchpad (no numpad) for that sort of work. Yeah most 17″ try to use the extra available space to put in the numpad which I suppose makes that happen.

  • Sharon Cox

    I’m in the market for a new laptop and have very little choice as I prefer a centred mousepad. I’m left handed and the off-centre pads to the left are incredibly uncomfortable to use for a lefty – having to exaggerate my hand movements. As usual, the world is designed for right-handed people and there has obviously been no consideration/testing given with regards to left-handed users.

  • Joe

    I disagree. I wish my touchpad would be aligned to the right side of the laptop, not the center or the left, as I use only my right hand for touchpad actions. I keep mis-clicking constantly (right-clicking instead of left). I absolutely despise this more than anything on earth. Dell opted to not include physical buttons on this piece of crap, so it’s just one of those rocker touchpads that is awful.

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