The launch of Windows 8 also brings an opportunity for PC makers to release third-party peripherals that complement the push for touch sensitivity. If you're planning to purchase tablet, laptop, desktop, or some combination of the three, these accessories let you get hands-on with your new computer, because let's face it -- a touch-based device is only as good as the accessories available for it.
Many of the devices in this list already have reviews, but we'll continue to add products as they emerge. Head here for a comprehensive list of every major computer launching with Windows 8 or RT.
Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Keyboard
The Sculpt Comfort Keyboard like the Lenovo Thinkpad T420i Keyboard has some useful touches in its removable wrist rest, the front-side support feet, and its Windows 8-specific hot keys, but overall the keyboard has an overstuffed quality to it. From the too-soft key response, to the thick wrist rest and giant space bar, the Sculpt comes across as cumbersome. And although it might be interesting to reexamine your relationship with the space bar, the keyboard itself gets in the way of any fun you might have experimenting with it. Input device preferences are highly personal, of course, so you may find what Microsoft has done here is just right. Just be sure to get some hands-on time with the Sculpt Comfort Keyboard before you make a purchase. Those used to crisp-feeling typing hardware will likely want to keep looking.
Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse
If you don't want to wait for the Wedge Touch Mouse to become more affordable, you can always look into the $49.95 Sculpt Touch Mouse. The Sculpt has a BlueTrack sensor like the Wedge Touch Mouse, but it has only a four-way scroll strip, rather than the Wedge's surface-spanning touch input. While the Sculpt is most definitely a travel mouse, it also seemed a touch larger than the Wedge. That and its familiar shape might make the Sculpt a better fit if you want a mobile mouse for more serious work.
Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse
The smallest of Microsoft mousing army, the Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse doesn't aim to reinvent the PC's long-standing companion so much as to make it a lot smaller. You may be using a full-size touch pad with your Windows 8 desktop, but for tablets you might crave the opposite: a mouse to make that touch-controlled computer feel more like an old-fashioned desktop. The Wedge Touch Mouse is an elegant, well-designed ultraportable mouse, but it's not revolutionary. It's meant to add traditional input to a hybrid device like a Windows 8 tablet, not offer any advanced touch-pad functions. I've often wished that the iPad had mouse connectivity to go with a keyboard; add a keyboard like Microsoft's Wedge Mobile Keyboard and Laptop Keyboard Cover , and you'll have a pretty (and pricey) portable desk set.
Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard
Though it's meant to be paired with Windows 8 hardware, the Wedge Mobile Keyboard's Bluetooth connectivity makes it compatible with nearly any modern computer or mobile device. The keyboard itself is sturdy and responsive, but just as useful is the rubber cover that doubles as a tablet stand. Though an expensive addition to your Windows 8 arsenal at $79, its simple, versatile design for the stand, the strong keyboard, and an assortment of thoughtful touches make this keyboard one of the best tablet accessories to date, and an easy recommendation.
Logitech Zone Touch Mouse T400
The Logitech Zone Touch Mouse localizes its touch sensitivity to the top of the mouse, where the scroll wheel would normally sit. In its place, you'll find a glass touch zone that responds to the motion of your fingers for vertical and horizontal scrolling. Better still, the T400 uses Logitech's Unifying receiver technology that lets you use a single USB plug that can connect up to six compatible mice and keyboards. Just keep in mind that buying into the Unifying connection means also marrying into the Logitech family of peripherals as well.
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