Not long ago i reviewed the iTap Touchpad iPhone app which acted as a multitouch trackpad for any PC or Mac. I discovered the app was feature filled, responsive and overall pretty good. But then i stumbled across the new Logitech equivalent which I must say, threw all of that iTap hype right out of the window, across the street, and straight into the nearest bin. It’s hard to imagine that these apps differ much at all, but the few subtle differences there are, trust me make a big difference.
The setting up of the Logitech Touch Mouse iPhone App is simple. It is available for free from the iPhone app store and you must also download ‘iTouch Server’ from the official Logitech website on your PC or Mac. This is so it can communicate solely to that machine, otherwise you could end up with all sorts of confusion if your home consists of more than one machine. Once you have downloaded both apps, you will notice upon launching the iPhone app, the name of your PC will be listed and connection via Wi-Fi should be simple enough. If not, you can always manually enter the IP address of the desired machine.
Once connected, you will be confronted by a plain black interface with Left, Centre and Right buttons equally spread across the top of the screen. They are extremely discreet, yet they are clear so proper usage is no problem what so ever. The majority of the screen though, is simply a reasonably sized trackpad. It more or less fills the screen of your iPod Touch or iPhone creating a trackpad comparable to most ordinary laptops. Certainly, I found it sufficiently sizable even with my fairly large fingers.
Of course, with this being 2010 this trackpad would not be complete without multitouch capabilities. After all, with the iPod Touch and iPhone having this functionality, it’s pretty much a given that a reputable, innovative company such as Logitech would include it. However, after testing out their so called multitouch, I was left feeling a little hard done by. You see, these days when you talk about multitouch, you seem to imagine pinch zoom and rotation features which is something available on the iTap app. Unfortunately, Logitech’s definition of multitouch seems to stop at 2 finger scrolling and 2 finger right clicking. That seems to be it which however useful, are a little underwhelming.
Another gripe I have with it is the difficulty of dragging and dropping. I guessed the easiest method was holding the left button down and moving the trackpad accordingly. However this was almost impossible and I was left with windows and icons galore all over my desktop and in other annoying places.
Never the less, it is a sufficiently good trackpad alternative. Sensitive enough for everyday use, but primarily useful as a remote for a media PC or something similar.
Another great feature which is extremely useful though is the built-in, pop up on-screen keyboard. One button found at the bottom will bring up a typical iPhone style keyboard which is easy to type on and even features Ctrl, Opt and Cmd buttons when being used with my Mac Mini. I presume the Windows equivalents are located when connected to a Windows PC. The text you are typing is displayed clearly above the keyboard so you do not have to attempt any sort of iPhone touch typing which is nigh on impossible for anyone who has ever tried.
There are also a fair few easily accessible settings such as display of buttons. You can choose to hide the third button allowing more space for the more commonly used left and right buttons. You can change the primary button for those of us who are left handed and you can hide the button labels. In addition you can get rid of the 2 finger scrolling feature if that’s not your thing. But the feature I find most interesting is the ability to use 2 finger scrolling horizontally for those web pages which don’t fit the average browser.
Some other settings include turning on and off dragging, 2 finger right click and altering tracking/scrolling speed. You can also prohibit you iPhone/iPod from sleeping during use. The Logitech Touch Mouse iPhone App is pretty customisable i must say.
So that pretty much wraps it up. An all round useful app for some, but many will be content with their built in pointing device or traditional mouse. It doesn’t drain much battery and does exactly what it says on the tin really. A few improvements could be made, but overall it’s as good as if not better than iTap which costs you more than the free Logitech Touch Mouse iPhone App.