I used to really prefer these, because early touch pads totally sucked. I also hated how they tended to be recessed into a hole in the case, which never felt right to me. But I actually like the newer designs. The only on this HP laptop is flush with the bezel, not recessed, which I like. It is also larger very smooth, which is nice. And it has something the pointer never had - scroll. There is a bar on the right that works like a scroll wheel. And I've seen even newer pads with another one across the bottom for left/right scrolling. The one thing I miss on the laptop is a dedicated middle button. (Yeah, I know I can hit both to emulate it, but it is lame.)
Random factoid about me - I despise mice. I don't mean the furry things, I mean computer mice. I own a number of Logitech Trackman Marble+ trackballs that I use when I have a desktop machine. I managed to acquire several before they changed their design - the old design fits my hand better.