Windows 8 is, if nothing else, controversial. It’s also really slick looking, really promising for tablets, kind of confusing for desktop users, and, to reiterate what Steve Ballmer said two years ago, the company’s riskiest bet yet.
Let’s toss all of that aside for the moment, however, and look at one thing that Windows 8 does indisputably well: touch. Touch and multitouch have been hacked into Windows since the halcyon days of Windows XP – and it’s simply never been very good. Windows 8 promises to change all of that, and Logitech is hoping to take advantage.
Most computers that get Windows 8 – either from the factory, or with an upgraded installation – aren’t going to have touchscreen functionality. Logitech plans on filling that void with a series of new mice, trackpads, and keyboards that have Windows-specific functionality baked right into the hardware.
Logitech Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad T650
Let’s be honest – the Logitech Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad T650 takes a lot of its design from Apple’s own Magic Trackpad model. You know what, though? It totally looks better. With a black finish all over, the T650 looks sleek and modern, and its wedge-shaped design promises to stand up to a lot of abuse.
For the first time, Windows users have an exciting peripheral available that lets them take of advantage a whopping thirteen different multitouch gestures – from edge-swiping to engage the Windows 8 Charms and Applications bars, to four-finger maximize, vertical, and horizontal scrolling.
Unlike the first Logitech Trackpad, which had a limited touch-enabled surface, the T650’s entire surface is touch sensitive. It’s covered with a single sheet of glass, which ensures a smooth finger-sliding action. Like many modern trackpads, the new version can determine left and right clicks just by where your finger is positioned on the device. Perhaps most importantly, the T650 comes with a rechargeable battery built in, so there’s no need to replace batteries – just plug it into a USB cord now and then.
Logitech noted that the Touchpad T650 works just fine under Windows 7 as well, but the older OS will be unable to support all of the gestures.
The T650 offers one month of battery life.
Logitech Touch Mouse T620, Logitech Zone Touch Mouse T400
Logitech also took the wraps off of two new mice, both specifically engineered for extra touch functionality in Windows 8. Like the Trackpad, the new Touch Mouse T620 features a full touch surface on top, replete with multitouch functionality and gesture support. Underneath the touchpad section is Logitech’s generally high quality optical mouse sensor.
The new Logitech Zone Touch Mouse T400 trades some of that touchpad functionality for a more comfortable usage model. Surrounding the outside of the mouse is a series of rubber grips, ensuring you’ll never lose track of where you’re mousing. On top, the full-sized touch area is reduced to the typical mousing scroll “wheel” – which supports both horizontal and vertical scrolling. You can also click once, anywhere on the touch-capable spot, to bring up the new Windows Start Screen.
The T620 offers users six months of battery life, while the T400 offers up to a ridiculous eighteen months of use on a single charge.
All three devices will be available later this month in the U.S. and Europe, with an MSRP of $79.99, $69.99, and $49.99, respectively.
Logitech Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard K810
An update to what is one of our flat-out favoritest keyboards ever, the new Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard K810 from Logitech lets you take advantage of the versatility that Bluetooth connections offer, without having to make a choice and constantly re-pair the keyboard with all of your devices.
Allowing several different pairings at a single time, the K810 can be attached to your desktop or notebook, tablet, and smartphone, all at the same time – you can switch between them with the touch of a button. Comprised of honest-to-goodness aluminum, the new device will look good next to just about any gadget you’ve got.
Taking advantage of the light and proximity sensing created for the keyboard’s predecessor, the K810 adjusts its brightness depending on both ambient light levels and whether you’re actively using it. Given the backlight and Bluetooth functionality, however, don’t expect to score the multi-month battery life of the rest of Logitech’s new devices – the K810 can go up to just ten days on a single charge (but let’s be honest – that’s still impressive for a backlit device).
It also has Windows 8-specific features, such as special app switching just by tapping the keyboard’s function key. Logitech plans to offer the backlit K810 keyboard in the United States starting this month, with European availability following a month later. The suggested retail price is $99.99.