large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

HP’s trackpads aren’t good but this major upgrade should make them great

HP has announced it is sprucing-up its Envy laptops with new trackpad drivers that promise a dramatically improved experience.

For years, HP users have complained about underperforming trackpads with an inferior scrolling experience and a lack of comprehensive support for gestures. These issues haven’t been attributed to the hardware HP deploys on the laptops, but to the Synaptics drivers and firmware.

The PC giant is finally relenting with a switch to Microsoft’s Precision trackpad drivers, which have become commonly used by most of the mainstream laptop makers, improving pretty much all of those notebooks in the process.

HP’s new Envy 13, Envy 17, Envy x360 13, and Envy x360 15 will all carry the Precision drivers and are the first of the company’s consumer notebooks to do so. In the future, the Microsoft Precision drivers will come to all new Envy, Spectre and Pavillion laptops, but it doesn’t appear as if support will be retroactively added to older models.

As The Verge points out, Microsoft had developed the Precision drivers itself because it was tired of the poor trackpad experiences on third-party devices. They were first used on the Surface Pro 2 and have featured in every subsequent release.

Related: Best laptops 2019

Microsoft doesn’t compel third-party Windows manufactures to follow suit, but many of them have done, due to the improved, uniform experience the drivers provide. They bring updates with new Windows 10 releases, a smooth pointing experience and access to gestures.

They can be used regardless of the materials laptop makers use to construct the physical trackpads, so have proven popular among most of the major Windows laptop makers. The Precision drivers have enabled Windows-based laptops to erase the once-cavernous gap in performance with Apple’s MacBook trackpad experience.

Why HP stubbornly clung to the Synaptics drivers for so long remains a mystery, but the company has finally seen the light and users of its laptops should notice an instant improvement.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.