pen vs. fingers vs. thumbs

Phil Gyford has a fascinating post on his home-grown experiment in the text entry speeds for his various devices. iPhone vs. Treo? He’s got that. But wait, there is more:

I have six input methods to compare:

Although an exhaustive test could have included other devices, these four seem to cover the main types of input. For comparison’s sake I also tested:

  • Pen and paper
  • A full-size QWERTY keyboard

Taking us through each method, Gyford finds iPhone and Treo keyboard to be about the same (with the iPhone a bit quicker). I am impressed with the systematic approach, and also his 68 wpm on touch typing. I didn’t think anyone had those skills anymore.

3 thoughts on “pen vs. fingers vs. thumbs”

  1. Re: “68 wpm on touch typing. I didn’t think anyone had those skills anymore.” Really? I would have thought that the prevalence of computers has made such skills more common. Being able to type 90 wpm is one of the few concrete and verifiable things I learned from all my “computer” classes in elementary and middle school. On the other hand, hand-writing more than a couple of sentences is an ordeal with illegible results…

    What impresses me is his speed on the iPhone; I find it tolerable to type on but it always makes me long for a full-scale physical keyboard.


    1. Well, you don’t need a lot of typing skills to type on a computer. Typists used to require very good form because you had to hit typewriter keys hard for the hit to register, and you couldn’t sustain that very long if you weren’t doing it ergonomically.

      That said, 68 wpm is nothing.


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