When Apple first launched its Magic Trackpad I couldn’t quite understand why anyone would want one instead of a good mouse. After all the only reason you’d use a trackpad is because you’re using a notebook and you don’t have access to a mouse, right?
At that time I hadn’t spent much time using a multi-touch trackpad on a MacBook, so I didn’t really get it. But after I chopped my ageing ThinkPad X300 in for a MacBook Air I started to understand what the fuss was about. With OS X designed to make use of a multi-touch gestures, having a Magic Trackpad on my desk made me considerably more productive when using my iMac.
The problem with the Magic Trackpad is that it burns through batteries when you use it all day, every day. But the Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad for Mac deals with that battery problem and offers a tempting alternative to Apple’s offering.
Logitech has long been producing high-quality peripheral devices, and this latest trackpad lives up to the company’s well-earned reputation. The Rechargeable Trackpad is finished in silver, much like the Magic Trackpad, but it’s slightly glossy as opposed to the brushed matte effect that Apple prefers. The surface area and the device itself is noticeable larger than Apple’s alternative, which will be welcomed by those who prefer a lower sensitivity but still use a large, high-resolution screen.
The Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad isn’t a simple plug-and-play device, although it will be recognised and work in a basic fashion as soon as you pair it over Bluetooth. But to get all the multi-touch gestures setup you need to download Logitech’s Preference Pro Manager software.
Once you’ve installed the Logitech software you can configure the Rechargeable Trackpad to work with all the gestures supported by OS X including two finger scroll, three finger vertical swipes for Mission Control, three finger horizontal swipes for switching desktops, pinching, rotating etc.
Logitech’s Rechargeable Trackpad feels subtly different to Apple’s, the surface lacks that slight texture, but it’s just as slick to interact with. I did notice that the Logitech devices is more fussy about wet hands – my fingers dragged a bit more – but unless you have particularly sweaty fingers, that probably won’t be a problem with either trackpad.
The Rechargeable Trackpad is juiced via a micro-USB port mounted in the centre of its rear edge. This makes it easy to charge the device from one of the USB ports on your iMac, if that’s what you’re using. I managed a couple of weeks between charges, but that can be drastically improved by simply switching the Trackpad off when you’re not using it – there’s a sliding switch on the right edge.
There’s also a discreet light in the top-right corner of the Trackpad surface, which will glow red when the device needs charging. And unlike the Apple Trackpad, the battery in the Logitech Trackpad can be recharged while you’re using it, so you’ll never suffer any downtime even if you run out of power.
The one issue I did find with the Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad was that it struggled to register right clicks when clicking the bottom right corner. It’s easy enough to get around this by configuring a two-finger tap instead, but if you’re old school and prefer a physical click, you might find it a little frustrating.
With a price of £59.99, there’s nothing between the Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad and the Apple Magic Trackpad, but of course the Logitech will never require the purchase of batteries, which brings down the total cost of ownership.
The Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad is a great alternative to the Apple Magic Trackpad. It looks great, performs well and offers a larger surface area, which many will find appealing.
The slight issue I had with right clicking was slightly frustrating, but I have now been converted to a two-finger-tapper whether I’m using a Logitech or Apple Trackpad.
But it’s the rechargeable nature of the Logitech that really sets it apart. If you’ve ever run out of juice on your Apple Trackpad or wireless keyboard you’ll know just how annoying it can be. You end up going through every drawer and cupboard looking for batteries, and can even find yourself stealing them from your children’s toys!
The ability to charge the Logitech Trackpad from a USB port and continue to use it while you’re charging it makes it well worth considering over the de facto Apple option.