Peripherals, Reviews

Logitech Wireless Touchpad: reinventing the wheel

Who ever thought that turning a mouse on its belly and rubbing its little rubber nubbin would be preferable to standard mouse control? The trackball actually predates the mouse, so screw that antiquated form of movement and embrace the gleaming future of control with the Logitech Wireless Touchpad.

Overall design

With the colour scheme of a killer whale, the Touchpad is a thing of refined beauty. Logitech knows how to design desktop gadgets. The Touchpad’s smooth surface feels dense and resilient, it’s like rubbing my finger against the surface of a fine leather wallet. The back is made of pure ivory-like plastic, with a sheen usually reserved for high-end gaming consoles. The left and right mouse buttons are within thumb and index finger reach and large enough to satisfy the needs of my giant, gorilla-like hands. Best of all, left-clicking a mouse is replaced with a simple tap of the Touchpad. For those suffering from RSI, the Touchpad may be the solution.

Performance

I didn’t have the Apple Magic Trackpad to compare the Touchpad to, but it instantly fares better than the trackpad on my laptop. There is an age-old debate on how the trackpad fares poorly for writing, as the hand is constantly drifting from the keyboard to the pad and back again. But come on, the mouse is just as “inconsistent” as a pad, you simply become more conscious of your actions.

Anyway, performance. I won’t mince words, the Touchpad takes some getting used to. You have to unlearn what you have learnt in relation to traditional interfaces. The index or pointing finger becomes the natural controller for the Touchpad, with the thumb and pinkie finger taking control of the mouse buttons. The whole affair becomes an orchestra of control.

No mouse wheel? No problem. While some may miss the lack of a third mouse button, the Touchpad compensates with a two-fingered swipe up or down to scroll the page. There is no input lag, and controlling even the finest details of the scroll is made simple with the two-fingered method.

Logitech packs a few more gestures into the Touchpad to round off the interface options. Swipe with three fingers up or down for pageup/pagedown. Swipe three fingers across to go back or forward a page in your browser. Swipe four fingers up to act as Alt-Tab. Four fingers down minimises all windows and in Windows 7 only, swiping four fingers left or right “docks” the active window. Genius. What is missing is pinch to zoom, but future updates may deliver us from this horrendous oversight.

Power

The Touchpad needs two AA-batteries to operate and in heavy testing for a month, the Touchpad is still running smoothly. If I take the previous Logitech product as a benchmark (my old wireless keyboard), then I can comfortably expect the batteries to last a full year or longer. The Unifying Receiver connects the Touchpad to your Windows 7 compatible PC.

Wrap-up

What more can I say? The mouse is dead, long live the Touchpad.

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