Things in the laptop industry seem to be following sort of a “fashion” – just like the shiny screen totally dominated the consumer market before anti-glare laptops started to reappear, now it is really hard to find a laptop with a nice, full-size keyboard without the chiclet junk that doesn’t register keystrokes or makes you miss keys. I am tall and I have big hands, so just like having issues with all cars being made for people shorter than 6 feet (about 1.83 m), it’s already challenging enough for me to type on keyboards sized for an average person, but chiclet keyboards make it worse with their smaller keys and less real estate for your fingertips.
Few years ago I used to enjoy typing on HP Elitebook and Probook series laptops, but now it seems they replaced their “standard” keyboards with same chiclet junk most other laptop manufacturers use. I had and loved their Elitebook 2530p and 2540p, but it seems that both Elitebook 2560p with Sandy Bridge CPU and more recent Elitebook 2570p with Ivy Bridge CPU are impaired with the chiclet joke of a keyboard.
Desperate for the right typing feel, I went to see new lower end 15.6″ Lenovos, ready to give away my chiclet piece of junk Toshiba Portege to my wife, remembering that the Lenovo B560 I helped choose for my in-laws last year has a keyboard that felt absolutely great while I was typing its own review on it. But no, even new Lenovo models have chiclet keyboards. Sheesh! Like many other average consumers, the person I recently helped choose a new laptop wasn’t bothered by the Lenovo’s new chiclet keyboard because they don’t do as much typing, but to me it’s a shame to see this brand follow the “fashion lemmings” and throw away what distinguished them most from competition. They were so well known for their keyboards inherited from IBM, but since it seems they decided to cut the cord, I believe that may hurt them in the long run.
So now with both HP and Lenovo out of the game, I’m stuck and I blame Apple for starting this worthless chiclet junk fashion. Instead of following only good Apple solutions and leaving it to Apple fanboys to suffer with bad ones, the PC laptop industry blindly follows mostly everything Apple does, regardless of how useless it may be. Copycats everywhere, just as I mentioned in my Steve Jobs farewell article. This really stinks and I currently have no laptop of choice, so I keep suffering when mobile or using the desktop keyboard and monitor when at home. I was right in my why laptops are like shoes post – it didn’t take laptop manufacturers long to mess things up. All I can do now is to crave absolutely accurate speech recognition, so I can avoid the frustrating experience of having to use a keyboard on these new, “fancy” laptops. Meanwhile, I’ll either search for the yesteryear models and hopefully find some with decent keyboards, or wait for some manufacturers to fill the void in the niche of writers, executives and coders who do a lot of typing on their laptops and care for great quality keyboards.