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.

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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.

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