ThinkPad Buttonless Trackpoint

ThinkPad Helix TrackPad


The New ThinkPad released in year 2013 will have buttonless trackpoint integrated into the trackpad, which enables the new ThinkPad to have a larger surface area for the TrackPad. Some people (including me) worries that this new design will ruin their favourite TrackPoint and dilute the ThinkPad brand. Personally i think the new TrackPoint will take some getting use to, as this design will be different and won’t be the same as the old TrackPoint. From my experiences with the buttonless TrackPad design on the X1 Carbon, the new TrackPoint button integration into the TrackPad will cause some confusion at first, especially the middle button (which i use as a scroll button). Since i have not tested the new TrackPoint buttons i will resolve my final comments till when i get the chance to test the new ThinkPad with this new TrackPoint/TrackPad.

Lenovo choose the new design for several reasons (my guesses):

  • Larger TrackPad Surface (which in the old ThinkPad was its achilles heel).
  • Better Aesethetics
  • Gives Lenovo better competitive edge for people whom wants a large TrackPad.

Previous generations of Dell Latitude also had TrackPoint type pointing device, but in the recent models the Trackpoint type pointing device got dropped in favour of having a larger TrackPad surface. Lenovo obviously could not drop the TrackPoint in its ThinkPad, therefore the new TrackPad/Trackpoint design allows Lenovo to have the best of both world.

T431s buttonless trackpoint

The new TrackPad should sense the approximate position of your finger on the TrackPad to determine which buttons of the TrackPoint you are trying to press, this is different to the old TrackPoint buttons which have dedicated physical dome switches under each physical trackpoint buttons. 



Jin Li (lead_org)

I'm the Chief Editor of, working from Melbourne Australia. I am currently a Microsoft MVP and a Lenovo Brand Evangelist/Advocate. My main interests are in technology, bioscience, marketing and obviously Lenovo products.

If you have any questions, comments or just want a chat about any topics related to technology, feel free to tweet me (@lead_org), email me or leave a comment in the post.

Latest posts by Jin Li (lead_org) (see all)



  • Unfortunately it looks like my T520 will be my last Thinkpad – after upgrading to an i7, 16 gigs of RAM and dual SSDs there won’t be anything more I can do to keep it up to date… I suppose I’ll have to switch to some kind of hyper-modern ultrabook (and Lenovo won’t even be on the menu if they remove the trackpoint buttons from additional devices) when the T520 is finally too slow to run modern applications.

    I might have been able to deal with the 6-row chiclet keyboard (albeit grudgingly – the older 7-row layout is so incredibly much better for text editing and coding), but no trackpoint keys is a complete deal-breaker.

  • I think, that this is genocide of thinkpad series! buttonless trackpoint :facepalm: – now we wait for joysticless trackpoint!

    Oh God, WHY?!!

  • I got this new trackpoint setup with the Lenovo Thinkpad Helix. It’s pretty bad. I miss my X200 trackpoint. A large part of the fault though is fixable as it’s not hardware but software. The new drivers, for some reason, are lacking configuration options of all sorts that existed before. For instance, what the middle button does. I want it to be “middle” not “scroll”. Also the position. The left and right buttons are farther left and right than on the physical unit. Again, this can be fixed in software. The last thing dislike is the hardware. The click of the trackpad is stiff and uncomfortable.

    As a side note, this is the best trackpad I have ever used. This includes Macbook Pros and the Apple trackpad. Sadly, I have no interest in using it.

  • The buttonless trackpoint is an unmitigated disaster. I am a longtime thinkpad user, and deploy them to my 30 employee business. Many users like to disable the touchpad and use the Cat Nipple exclusively, because the touchpad is often activated by a stray thumb or palm touch. Everyone in my office is complaining about it. I hope that Lenovo sees their error and resolves this quickly.

    In addition, they are changing the keyboard layout for every new model; this makes it very difficult to adapt. Honestly, what are they thinking? I’ve stocked up on T530s, because the T540 is so bad.

    • I concur with your opinion regarding the buttonless trackpoint. I sent Lenovo management an email regarding, my experiences and dislike for the buttonless trackpoint. I also explained to them what is wrong with it, and how it effects productivity for some people.

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