Logitech touch pad points to the future - review

2013-01-09 13:02
The Logitech touch pad is set to change what PC users expect from their pointing devices. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The Logitech touch pad is set to change what PC users expect from their pointing devices. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - A mouse is one of the most ubiquitous computer peripherals, but has remained relatively unchanged for years.

The time has come for it to change. The Logitech T650 touch pad is a new generation of pointing device that brings multi-touch to the PC.

Measuring 13cm by 13cm, the touch pad is large enough to be comfortable even for bigger hands, and there's enough space for the multiple gestures that the device allows. It also has rubber "feet" that keep it neatly stable.

Windows 8 supports a range of touch gestures, as the operating system is designed for mobile smart devices. Notebook computers also use a range of multi-touch, but these features have been largely absent from desktop computers.

The Logitech touch pad comes with a "Unifying receiver" which is essentially a Bluetooth receiver that communicates with the wireless device.

It seems that Logitech could have used a generic receiver, but the company is also hoping that you will like its products so much that you will also buy other peripherals and each receiver can handle up to six devices.

Productivity boost

Installing the touch pad is simple: Plug the receiver in to a USB slot, switch on the touch pad and the PC will automatically recognise it.

Initially, it will only support simple gestures, but after downloading the Logitech driver application, SetPoint Settings, the device comes alive.

Those with the latest laptops from Apple, Samsung and Acer should recognise the multiple gestures, but it is a productivity boost for PC users.

Beyond the traditional left and right clicks, there's also a two finger touch gesture for context menus, and three finger swipes reveal and switch between all open windows.

It's a neat exercise, but there are concerns: Given that the touch pad is wireless, the most obvious issue is theft. The thief might steal the device, but it won't work unless he also lifted the receiver.

On the other hand, its rechargeable batteries last for weeks, even when used regularly. It doesn't consume power when not in use, so it's unnecessary to switch it off, even when you shut down your PC.

It's a great first device, and Logitech also has a wireless keyboard (K400) with a built-in touch pad which also pushes the limits of what these devices should be able to do.

For PC users with pain from using traditional pointers, the T650 might present an alternative to traditional devices.

It would be nice if the future model T750 had a flexible touch screen to aid interaction with the PC with handwriting recognition, but for the moment the T650 is available for the lofty recommended retail price of R879.99, more than the Apple TrackPad.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

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