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I’ve always been a fan of Logitech accessories and peripherals and have owned quite a few in the past decade. I tried to keep things objective and wrote about some of the interesting products the company launched for tablets in the past years. Now that Windows 8 is officially launched it’s time to take a look at two touch focused products Logitech was kind to send me for review, the Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad T650 and the Zone Touch Mouse T400, products that work well with both Windows 8 and the already old Windows 7.
Both products support touch gestures, so I was quite interested to see what that meant in real world and if it’s worth changing your current mouse or add a touchpad to your PC or tablet. Make no mistake, these two won’t replace a touch enabled device like a monitor, laptop or tablet, but will bring some of the advantages of using a touchscreen to non-touch computers, without leaving smudges on the screen. Let’s see what the Logitech Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad T650 and Zone Touch Mouse T400 can do for you:
As the name suggests, we’re talking about a wireless touchpad, with a generous size, covered in glass, similar to the Magic Trackpad from Apple. Unlike the Magic Trackpad, this one spots a dark grey finish, which I like and plays nice with my current setup, but this is of course a matter of taste. The Wireless Touchpad T650 is very slim and spots a clever clickpad mechanism: the two bottom rubber feet actually move inside the touchpad when you press on the lower part of the trackpad.
The force needed to produce a valid click is average, by my count, but you shouldn’t worry about that, as tapping the surface of the T650 with one, two or three fingers will perform a left, right and middle click. That can be changed via the Logitech SetPoint software, quite a useful piece of software. Up to 6 Logitech devices can be connected to a Unifying receiver, so if you have more Unifying compatible devices they will only take one precious USB port. That’s something I really love, as right now I’ve set up three Logitech devices with only one receiver. Signal strength is not an issue unless you do massive wireless transfers, which seems to make the cursor lagg or move erratically on the screen. Other than that I had no problem with four connected Unifying devices. My router and the Unifying receiver work in the 2.4 GHz frequency range, so switching to 5GHz WiFi could solve this issue, but I can’t test that right now.
Being covered in glass, the Logitech TouchPad T650 will always feel cold to the touch, but I don’t mind that since I’m only touching it with the tip of my fingers. Simplicity is the word when it comes to visual details, as there’s only an On/Off rocker on the right side and the micro USB charging port on the top edge of the T650. A green LED is placed on the top right corner of the touchpad and will light up when the device is turned On or comes alive from Stand by. The same LED turns red when it’s time to recharge the Logitech Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad T650.
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As performance goes, I think this is one of the most precise touchpads I’ve ever used and I dare say it’s up to the precision found on Apple’s legendary touchpads. I think we should end with the gestures: the T650 supports up to four simultaneous inputs, so there are quite a few gestures it can recognize, including vertical, horizontal scroll, minimize, maximize, snap windows, switch apps and so on. A full list of Windows 7 gestures is available here, while Windows 8 gestures are listed on this page. The new Microsoft OS is fully supported, so if you own a Win 8 tablet or PC you might want to take a look at this touchpad as a way to enhance your user experience.
Let’s now see what Logitech has envisioned for a touch mouse. The Zone Touch Mouse T400 is not a full touch mouse, which means only the area between the left and right buttons (integrated into the case) is actually touch enabled. That zone acts as a vertical and horizontal scroll area, plus has two tap zones and a clickable one.
Unlike the T650, you can only use one finger for gestures on the Zone Touch Mouse T400, but you can still do scrolling (all directions), back/forward in browsers (doesn’t seem to work in Windows Explorer, for example). Double tapping the front or back part of the screen can be configured to zoom in/out for example. Pretty much any button or tap zone can be configured with Logitech’s excellent SetPoint utility (free download), so you can change the default behavior to your liking.
The Logitech Zone Touch Mouse T400 is a mice for notebooks, so it will feel small in big hands like mine, but if portability is your thing this is well worth the compromise. Power comes from two AA batteries (non-rechargeable ones are included with the mouse) and they’re said to last about 18 months on one charge, which of course I didn’t have time to test. After a few weeks of use they’re still full, so I guess Logitech made the right calculations here. T400 also supports the Unifying receiver, so you’ll be able to connect it together with up to 5 other devices using only a nano USB receiver, so small you can forget it’s plugged in.
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The sides of the mouse are covered in a rubber texture, which provides excellent grip. My only problems with the Zone Touch Mouse T400 are the stiff buttons that make quite a noise when clicked (but it’s not a feeling of cheap) and the cursor precision, which lags behind from the best mouse I’ve ever owned, the Logitech Performance MX, which uses a Darkfield sensor. Battery only lasts 1 week of really heavy use, but the precision difference is there. Other than that, the Logitech T400 mouse is a great product, and is compatible with both Windows 8 and 7.
All Logitech mices and keyboards are supported by the SetPoint software, which allows fine tuning of all device parameters. You don’t need SetPoint installed in order to use Logitech’s products, but it would be your loss not to install the software. Here are a few screenshots from the interface:
I know I might be biased since I’m a Logitech fan, but the T650 Touchpad is a great touchpad companion, and the T400 is a quality laptop mouse, despite having the two small problems I’ve mentioned. I can only hope that in future we’ll see some kind of touchpad influence from Logitech in the Windows laptops we want to buy, as right now most notebook touchpads are at least one step behind what Apple can do. On the mouse front there’s really not much Logitech can do to increase performance other than including the Darkfield sensor on all their devices and innovate more, as the touch technology I’ve see on the T400 is really a step up from the classic scroll wheel, which at its time was a great advance for pointing devices.