“This thing actually works.” That was my thought a few minutes after unboxing the Logitech Wireless Trackpad last week. I had pushed my Logitech G700 out of the way and placed the new trackpad defiantly on top of my gaming mousepad. The future is here, I thought.
So here we are a week later, and I’m thoroughly satisfied with the accuracy of my earlier statement. The Wireless Trackpad is not perfect. I have an issue that, while totally first world, could be a potential dealbreaker for those with arthritis or a wussy constitution.
There isn’t a better Windows trackpad
Large, well-placed buttons that are easy to click
Multitouch gesture support
Claimed (but untested) 4 month battery life
A slight learning curve
Only works with Windows
The plastic tracking surface doesn’t like finger sweat (yes, the tip of your finger sweats a bit. At least mine does)
The Logitech Wireless Trackpad is to Windows as the Apple Magic Trackpad is to OS X. It attempts to bring multitouch trackpad goodness to a desktop environment. And it does. In fact, this Logitech device offers the best trackpad experience I’ve ever had with Windows.
Trackpads on Windows notebooks are almost universally garbage. I have found a few that are acceptable, mainly on Acer/Gateway machines, but most are horrible (I would rather get a vasectomy than use an HP trackpad). The difference in experience between a Mac and Windows trackpad is akin to the ride in a Rolls Royce vs a Geo Metro. These well-proven notions set my expectations for this particular trackpad rather low. I fully expected it to work — Logitech makes good stuff — but I also expected Windows to hamper the functionality.
However, upon opening the Wireless Trackpad, I was pleasantly shocked to find that the device not only works, but it works well. I love it despite a few quirks.
Much like the majority of Logitech products, the Wireless Trackpad is a plug-and-play sort of device. Plug in the USB receiver and it starts working within about a minute (at least on Windows 7). I did have to download a software pack from Logitech’s website to adjust tracking speed and the multitouch options, though.
The device is physically about the size of the Apple Magic Trackpad. They both rest at the same slight angle, but that’s where the similarities end. For better or worse, the entire glass surface of Apple Magic Trackpad is used for tracking. There’s about a centimeter border around the tracking area on the Logitech version and there are two large, easily-clickable buttons placed at the bottom. I prefer the buttons over the clickable surface of the Magic Trackpad, but the plastic surface isn’t as smooth as glass.
Much to my initial surprise, the trackpad works great even on my dual 24-inch monitor setup. I fully expected to hate using a trackpad with such a wide work area. It’s not bad at first, then your hand starts to cramp from keeping three fingers slightly elevated over the super-sized surface. It physically hurt, but for you, my lovely readers, I manned up and pushed through the pain and thus emerged with a new friend. This trackpad has almost fully replaced my beloved mouse.
My G700, which, for reference, is the best mouse on the market, now sits mostly unused, but still in a ready state. You see, I still default to it when I need to get something done quickly. I’ve used a mouse almost daily for 17 years so the movements are second-nature and the tracking is more precise than this trackpad can provide. But for casual browsing, the Wireless Trackpad is actually a bit more comfortable. The multitouch gestures are wonderful in a browser, and as lazy as this sounds, I don’t have to move my arm as much to traverse my 40-inches of screen real estate.
There are some caveats here. Multitouch is not built into Windows as it is in OS X so don’t expect fancy gestures in Photoshop, although two-finger scroll does seem to fully replicate a scroll wheel. Also, hopefully this is obvious, but gaming is impossible on a trackpad; keep your mouse around for Deus Ex.
The Logitech Wireless Trackpad is the Windows Magic Trackpad. Logitech built a fantastic product and it’s priced right at $50. Give it a chance, push through the pain, and you’ll likely love it. But just in case, it’s probably best to buy it from a retailer without a silly restocking fee. Recommended.