Windows 8 has a strong focus on touch-enabled interfaces, and a touch-enabled Windows tablet is easy to use—but there are times when a keyboard and a mouse are really handy.
To fill that gap, Microsoft launched on Friday some new portable accessories, and they’re all great. Aside from some completely new designs such as the Wedge keyboard and mouse, there were also some retreads such as the updated version for the Windows 8 Touch Mouse. We couldn’t take them home for a detailed review, but a short hands-on left us satisfied. Here’s our take on the three completely new designs:
Wedge Mobile Keyboard
Pros: Sleek, comfortable
The Wedge Mobile Keyboard is not as sleek as the Touch or even the Type cover that works with the Surface tablet, but this is a general Bluetooth keyboard which will work with any computer. It’s best used with Windows 8 tablets since it has Windows 8 Hot Keys, along with an ingenious stand.
The keyboard comes with a protective rubber cover, and switches off automatically when the cover is on it. The case folds into a sturdy stand for your tablet too. The keyboard isn’t cramped and the keys are comfortable to use, though at Rs.4,935 it’s a little expensive.
Wedge Touch Mouse
Pros: Ultra-portable, long battery life
Cons: Might be uncomfortable for some users
The Wedge Touch Mouse looks uncomfortable to use. It’s tiny, and slanted at a sharp angle, but amazingly, it could be used without cramping the fingers. The small size makes it easy to carry as well, and the best part is that it was accurate on all surfaces—a piece of paper, the arm of the chair, and the slightly messy tabletop.
The mouse automatically powers down when it is paired with the computer in sleep mode, extending the effective battery life of the mouse. At Rs.3,015, it’s a good buy, as it could become your regular PC mouse as well as a travel companion, but check it out before you buy it to make sure the grip works for you.
Sculpt Touch Mouse
Pros: Value for money
Cons: A little bulky
This mouse looks like a regular mouse, but with a flat panel in place of a scroll wheel—that’s a touch strip, with support for not just vertical scrolling but also horizontal. This is useful when scrolling through the Windows 8 home screen, and also for browsing Web pages if you tend to zoom in beyond the full horizontal scope of your display.
Unlike the Touch Mouse which Microsoft introduced a few years ago, the Sculpt Touch doesn’t have a full touch surface, so it doesn’t support multi-touch gestures. At Rs.2,765, it’s reasonable, but if you’re comfortable using the Wedge Touch Mouse, that’s worth spending the extra Rs.250 on.