Since the launch of Windows 8, more and more laptops are incorporating touch screen displays, which integrates well with the Microsoft’s new OS. While this may be the case, not all buyers will happily dig deeper into their wallets for these types of laptops. Logitech has provided a middle ground for such gesture-based features by introducing the T650. The Logitech T650 is a wireless, rechargeable touchpad, as stated in its rather lengthy name, which provides gesture support specifically for Windows 8, adding a host of features that a traditional mouse is unable to achieve.
The design of the T650 is very minimalistic; fundamentally it’s a bevelled square with rounded edges. Measured at 129mm in length and width, the T650 is three to four times larger than the average trackpad found on modern laptops, while still slim (1cm) and light (205g) enough to carry in your bag. The scratch-resistant, glass surface is smooth to touch, and the “bronze-grey” colour on the sand-blasted, matt finish will match the standard desktop environment. The trackpad has four rubberised feet, making it less prone to moving around while in use, which is essential since the entire device itself is clickable.
As with many other Logitech peripherals, connection to the T650 is done via a 2.4GHz USB dongle plugged into your PC or laptop. If you already own another Logitech device with the same wireless connection, you can simply add it to the SetPoint software (supporting up to 6 connections) without requiring the extra dongle. Charging the device is done by means of plugging in a microUSB cable to the rear, which should provide continuous use (if remaining on) slightly less than a week. For more efficient use (turning off when not used, as with a normal wireless mouse), users can expect a charge lasting around 8 or 9 days, although nothing near the supposed one month that was advertised.
Despite its minimalistic look and feel, the T650 offers a number of clicking and gesture options, all of which are customisable. There are 13 unique gestures to perform, all of which are integrated with Windows 8’s UI; from the normal scrolling and clicking, to the Start Menu, Switch applications and Windows 8 Charms menu. Since each of these gestures are customisable, more advanced users can include shortcuts other than these default options, making it quite effective.
On first use, there is a lot to take in with the T650. Including 13 gestures may add great value, but having to learn each in a fairly short time proved tricky to remember. One important gesture that proved trickiest to accomplish was the simple right-click. Clicking on the lower-right hand side of the device provides the right-click functionality, while clicking anywhere off the 2x2cm space (even on the corner itself) renders the default, left-click.
The Logitech T650 Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad has quite a lot to offer in terms of its use and functionality. The question remains, however, on whether you would need one, and whether it replaces your standard mouse. The T650 won’t be as intuitive for most users, although spending some time with the device will yield better results. In terms of design work, and general activity requiring more accuracy, the device seems cumbersome to use. As for the integration with Windows 8, the features and shortcuts offered are useful, although there’s a definite lack of compatible applications in the Windows Store making use of all gestures.
At a recommended retail price of R879.99, the device isn’t cheap, although it fits in well with the lower end, advanced wireless mouse options currently available. There’s little to fault with the design and performance of the T650, as it does everything it says with little effort. Whether users will be able to make full use of it all the time makes the decision to purchase one very complicated.