Why do laptops still have such small keyboards?

Back in the old days when laptops were B I G and H E A V Y, the fashion was to make the keyboard with fewer keys than a desktop, and what keys there were were often cut down versions of their big brothers. A kind of de facto “laptop keyboard” standard arose.

But then we got widescreen laptops, thinner laptops, lighter laptops – but still kept the narrow keyboards. Instead of giving the keyboards a normal set of keys as on a desktop, we still get these ridiculously small keyboards that favour people with arms that stem from their breastbones, not their shoulders!

It isn’t as if the makers don’t have enough space – they often stick speakers on either side of the keyboards, so they could clearly make the keyboards wider without trouble. But they don’t. Why? Look at a typical widescreen laptop like the Dell 16″ or the Apple 17″. Masses of space for a normal sized keyboard. But they still stick a miniature one on top that would fit into a 12″ laptop. Why?

Isn’t it about time they realised laptops don’t need a cut down keyboard anymore? I’m fed up of trying to hit not just a standard sized Enter or Backspace key, but in many cases one that is even smaller than the other laptop keyboard keys. It’s ridiculous, and unnecessary.

C’mon manufacturers – buck your ideas up and make a proper keyboard for laptops!


2 comments on “Why do laptops still have such small keyboards?

  1. I think only the HP Nx9600 laptop has a full featured keyboard with a numeric pad.


  2. Thanks for the info, Amit. That laptop’s really a monster, isn’t it? It does have the full size keyboard though. Shame it’s so thick and heavy – 2″ and 9.4 lbs (4.3 Kg) is a lot to carry around. All we need now is for companies that make more elegant solutions that are half as thick and much lighter – 1″ and 6.8 pounds (3.1 kg) to add in a better keyboard like HP have done.

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