The TrackPoint is my favourite pointing device. It offers extreme convenience, decent accuracy, and the ability to use it at while typing. Furthermore, it also works when you are wearing gloves and it lets you have a larger wrist rest if you disable the touchpad. In fact, I love it so much that I have disabled the touchpad on all of my ThinkPads that have one because I find them to be a hindrance and I never use it when the TrackPoint is available.
To get the most out of the TrackPoint, I have experimented with and evaluated all the different caps that are currently available. These different caps that are available are:
Disclaimer: All ratings are my personal opinion are not the result of scientific testing.
This is the standard tip that comes on all new models. There are various heights of this, ranging from 6mm to 2mm. I have only tried the 6mm version extensively. This is an all-round great TrackPoint tip. I agree with the choice of Lenovo to make this the standard tip.
|Grip||8/10||It feels pretty grippy and quite pleasant, especially in a warmer environment and my finger does not slide off it very easily.|
|Durability||8/10||This seems to be quite durable, but I have seen cases where the bumps wear down or wear off completely.|
|Cost||9/10||Plentiful and cheap, you can buy several for just a couple of dollars. Beware of the fakes! They feel much more slippery and are frankly, absolute garbage.|
Also known as the "Cat's Tongue", this was the cap that came standard with the old ThinkPads (I'm not sure when). This one is my personal favourite. If you are a classic ThinkPadder or want maximum grip, then this is the one to choose.
|Grip||10/10 when new, 8/10 when heavily used||New ones feel insanely grippy. The abrasive, sandpaper-like feeling of it may be a turn-off for some and a huge attraction for others. If you want grip, this is the one for you.|
|Durability||3.5/10||Being highly grippy, it will wear down and attract grime very quickly. This is their main downside. It is hard to clean without removing some of the textured coating. The wear becomes pretty noticeable after just a few weeks of moderate usage.|
|Cost||6/10||These are getting harder to find and so are a bit pricy. A pack of 10 will cost you $35 USD plus shipping from trackcap.com|
For those that want to minimise the force needed to move the cursor, this is the one to choose. It is moved by pushing it rather than dragging and provides a mechanical advantage over the other TrackPoint tips.
|Grip||7/10||It feels about as grippy as the soft dome, but a bit less so. However, the concave shape will suit some fingers better than others, so your mileage may vary.|
|Durability||7.5/10||This feels pretty durable, like the soft dome. However, I suspect the edge will wear out quicker than the dots will wear down on the soft dome. It will last a while, probably several months at least.|
|Cost||5.5/10||This one appears to be more expensive than the classic dome, but around the same price as it. They sell for $6 USD each from trackcap.com|
This is a discontinued model, and so genuine ones are hard to find. It may pre-date the classic dome. It came standard on the IBM Model M13 keyboard, which is a Model M with a TrackPoint. The ones I have are not genuine, but are replacements from unicomp, aka pckeyboard.com.
|Grip||5/10||While grippy at first, this type of cap quickly became slippery after about 15 minutes of use for me. As a result, I has to use more force to prevent slipping off. This does not make it very good in my opinion.|
|Durability||10/10||Well, it is a block of rubber. This would probably take years of use to wear down in a way that affects functionality.|
|Cost||8/10||You can get 3 for $5 USD plus shipping on pckeyboard.com. This is a good price per unit compared to other trackpoints. You should probably save the money and buy one of the other ones, though.|
Last modified: 11 March 2021