The Best Windows 8 Accessories
In the run up to Windows 8’s 26 October release we look at the best to date…
You might have read: Windows 8 is different. Version eight of Microsoft’s dominant computer platform is the most radical advance of the operating system to date. The big news is the addition of a finger friendly touchscreen interface Microsoft is calling the ‘modern UI’. Computers will still have access to the familiar Windows desktop, but the modern UI will remain prominent and it will be the dominant interface for Intel tablets and the only interface available to ARM-based tablets.
As such it pays to make the most of the modern UI and since Windows 8 will run as fast, if not faster, than Windows 7 on the same hardware adding peripherals that make the most of it is a relatively modest investment compared to changing PC. In the run up to Windows 8’s 26 October release we looks at the best to date…
Logitech Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad T650 – £69.99
It may be the first, but Logitech’s multi-touch capable trackpad certainly won’t be the last in what is expected to become an extremely popular peripheral with Windows 8. The T650 sets a high bar. Build quality is excellent with an ultra-smooth glass touch surface that is both fingerprint and scratch-resistant.
Gesture support is extensive with one, two, three and even four finger gestures supported which include a three finger vertical swipe to access the Windows 8 start screen and one finger swipes from the left and right edges to switch applications or access the Charms bar respectively. Meanwhile four finger gestures maximise/minimise windows and snap them left and right. In a carryover from smartphones, pinch zooming is supported as well.
We like how responsive the T650 is and that gestures can also be customised. Battery life is limited lasting just month between charges, but the battery is integrated and can be charged via micro USB. The bundled Logitech dongle is also tiny allowing it to remain connected at all times and it supports up to five Logitech wireless devices. At £70 the T650 is not an impulse buy, but we doubt you’ll regret the outlay.
SCORE: 4 STARS
Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard – £80
A companion product to the Wedge Touch Mouse, the Wedge Mobile Keyboard follows in the footsteps of its namesake with Bluetooth-only connectivity and an ultra portable form factor. Like the Wedge Touch Mouse it is also beautifully made and deceptively enjoyable to use, despite these shrunken dimensions.
Primarily designed for use with Windows 8 tablets, the Wedge Touch Keyboard is full of Windows 8 shortcuts including search, programming switching, access to the Charms bar and settings. It also comes with a smart cover which doubles up as a stand for your tablet – clever. As a Wedge Touch Mouse counterpart it also maintains the same premium build quality and materials.
The trouble is the price. At £80 it is substantially more than most high end, full-size desktop keyboards. If you want the best mobile keyboard this is it, but a mice and keyboard combo that potentially costs as much as a cheap tablet is something that may make you think twice.
SCORE: 3 ½ STARS
Logitech Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard K810 – £89.99
Predictably Logitech does battle with Microsoft here as well as both companies dominate early Windows 8 accessories, but its K810 keyboard has a completely different approach to Microsoft’s Wedge. Like the Wedge it has a premium metallic finish, connects via Bluetooth and reduces its size by eliminating the number pad. That said the K810 is significantly larger and designed to work with multiple products simultaneously.
The K810 will pair with up to three devices, for example, a Windows PC, Windows 8 tablet and Windows Phone and toggles between them at the flip of a switch. It is also compatible with Android. Furthermore the K810 illuminates in low light and the isolation keyboard is suited to touch typing. Against this are a one week battery life and the fact the K810 is primarily designed to be at home rather than thrown in a bag.
The £90 asking price is steep too, but its multifunctional role does mean you can replace all your keyboards with one top notch model.
SCORE: 4 STARS
This is a sample, to read further reviews of the Logitech Touch Mouse T620, Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse and Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse in my feature for MSN Social Voices click here.
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