Ever since Windows 8 leaped out of anonymous and people became interested of the upcoming version, especially of the new touch features, it was more than certain that product makers, even outside Microsoft’s trusted circle, will begin selling optimized accessories. As we hinted, it took quite a bit for them to break the ice, and just in the middle of July, Microsoft announced its batch of products. Now, with the Windows 8 release date approaching fast, companies like Logitech and soon, others, have developed their own range.
So, today, we start our list of all the accessories optimized for Windows 8, whether they are wired, Bluetooth-compatible or touch-based, and without making any exclusions on the manufacturer side. The list will grow in time, and whenever a new product is showcased, it will certainly be included here (of course, if it’s worth the words). Without further ado…
Windows 8 Accessories – from Microsoft
The very first to have broken the ice was Microsoft, of course. To prepare the market for the Windows 8 launch, on 26th of October, the Redmond-based company introduced two wireless keyboards and three different models of mice, each of them being optimized either for tablets, either for casual desktop computers.
The Wedge Mouse and Keyboard is a classic duo which holds many secrets and which can be purchased separately, as a piece. First of all, the keyboard comes with a slim design, based on black and gray nuances, and a wide range of hotkeys for search, settings and more. It has no right-sided numerical keys and the arrow design is a bit different from what the user has been used to, once more not straying from Microsoft’s habit of messing with them. As a bonus, the keyboard comes with a protective cover which can also be used as a tablet stand, but once placed over the product, it will power down the keyboard.
As for the Wedge Mouse, it keeps the same design of its sibling but in matters of size, it will be a bit smaller than a conventional product, a sign of tablet adoption. Testers claim that it will be small enough to fit inside a pocket and that the surface covering the mouse will include a four-way touch-scrolling, making it perfect for Windows 8. Moreover, a battery saving mode and the ability to be used on most surfaces have been added.
These two components are sold separately (probably there will be a discount for getting them both) and those interested will have to pay $79.95 for the keyboard and $69.95 for the mouse.
Sculpt mobile keyboard and mouse
The Sculpt keyboard is a lightweight curved product that offers a comfortable typing experience and comes packed with Windows 8 shortcut keys. Pretty much like the same component presented above, if not used for a while, it will go into power saving move. On the other side, the Sculpt Mouse aims at the desktop-segment of the market and besides its ambidextrous design, comes with a four-way touch stripped on the middle, which allows gestures for most directions.
Both these components have the same price, $49.95, and are powered by two regular AA batteries. As a bonus to the exiting offer, Microsoft will update the existing Touch Mouse with gestures that will comply with Windows 8. This upcoming version will have the four-directional swap as always, and a bonus two-finger swap to toggle opened apps and three-finger pinch to zoom in and out of the Start Menu.
Logitech’s response to Windows 8
Just two days ago, Logitech has revealed three new products targeted for Windows 8 users – one keyboard and two mice. All three will be launched by the end of this month for a price tag comparable to Microsoft’s own creation. But are they of any good?
Logitech Touchpad T650
The T650 is a casual touchpad which can be used perfectly in the touch interface. It comes with a spacious surface made from a material similar to glass and in matters of functionality, it replaces the casual mouse if the user places a single finger on it. When two fingers are present on the surface swiping gestures can be done, while a tree finger set-up will warp the user back to the Start Screen. All of the gestures made on the surface are very similar to the ones performed on the display itself.
The selling price of the T650 Touchpad is $79.99 and although the devices connects through Bluetooth, it can be charged using the microUSB and has the battery of a months-full use.
Logitech Touch Mouse T620
Shaped almost like a conventional mouse but somehow reminding of a plain pebble, the T620 offers six gestures for Windows 8 users, including scrolling in vertical and horizontal planes, app switching, double-tap with a finger to warp into the home screen and with two for the plain desktop and even more. Also, these gestures can be customized to follow user desires. All for $69.99.
Logitech Zone Touch T400
Much like hybrid tablets, the T400 embeds the best of both worlds, by having the traditional mouse buttons as well as a glass surface aimed for touch. Speaking of touch, a quick tap on the front side will bring the Start Screen up-front, while the same gesture done on the rear edge will cycle through opened apps. On top of all, it runs on two AA batteries which are said to last up to 18 months (my Microsoft mouse can handle about 2 weeks) and it has a intuitive design, worthy of the $49.99 price tag.
Buffalo Japan wired and wireless Windows 8 optimized mice
You might not have heard about Buffalo Japan products, but those from Japan definitely have. The mice have gesture-recognizing touch surfaces on the top. Here are the names of the products that Buffalo Japan has launched:
- BSMBB10N series wireless – Bluetooth and NFC tag
- wired BSMBU12
What does the NFC tag do? Well, if you’re near an NFC-equipped Windows 8 tablet/Ultrabook, you’ll just have to wave the mouse near the device and you’ll be connected. Say goodbye to having to set up Bluetooth or WLAN. Hopefully, we’ll see more NFC-capable mice in the future, since it would be so awesome to get rid not only of wires but also of having to set up settings.