There's an awful lot of swiping, tapping, and gesturing going on with gadgets this year. The idea of the touch pad is nothing new to laptop users, but it's only recently that many have come to see it as giving a better overall experience than a traditional mouse. Part of that comes from Windows 8 and its emphasis on gesture and touch control, and part comes from Apple's excellent touch-pad implementation in MacBooks, which have outshone their PC competition in this department for years.
To that end, we've seen an increasing number of all-in-one desktops, including new models from Vizio and Hewlett-Packard, include standalone touch pads rather than a mouse, and Logitech has the standalone $79 Touchpad Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad T650 for those who want to make the leap with their existing setup.
A glass-topped matte black square, the 5.25-inch-by-5.1-inch T650 looks and feels a lot like Apple's excellent Magic Trackpad. The Apple version has a barrel-like top edge, which houses a battery and holds the pad at a steeper angle. In contrast, the T650 is nearly flat, and has an internal rechargeable battery.
It connects to your laptop or desktop not via Bluetooth, but instead via Logitech's proprietary USB receiver, like the majority of Logitech mice. The company says that is a more responsive connection than Bluetooth, but I've never felt that my Bluetooth-connected Magic Trackpad suffered because of it.
But, this means that to use the T650, you need the USB receiver, which eats up a port on your PC, as well as an (included) Micro-USB cable for occasional charging. There's an on/off switch on the right side of the pad to save power, though I found the pad remained charged for more than a week of intermittent use without a recharge, even when left on 24-7. Running Logitech's SetPoint software allows additional customization (tap-to-click was off by default for some reason), but the T650 will run fine without it.