We tried out the Windows 7 touch features on a Dell Latitude XT2 tablet, which currently comes with Vista.

drag

DRAG: Drag up from an icon on the taskbar to see the jump list for it

Vista gives you single-finger touch for making selections and clicking buttons, with an on-screen 'mouse' that you can drag around to click the left, right and middle buttons, plus touch versions of the eight pen flicks – up, down, left, right and into the corners to scroll, copy, paste and so on.

PAINT

PAINT: Back to school; paint with multiple fingers at once in Paint

Installing Windows 7 gives you the same level of touch control; you can drag and drop, single, double and right-click without doing any setup and it feels a little smoother and more fluid than Vista as you do it.

The on-screen 'mouse' touch pointer is off by default because Windows 7 is really designed for multi-touch.

PAN

PAN: Here we're dragging the page up and down; it will bounce at the top and bottom of the page

Obviously on a new touch PC everything will be set up for you, but because we'd upgraded the XT2 we had to install the N-Trig drivers by hand (which was straightforward).

pointer

POINTER: If you want, you can turn on the on-screen mouse to help you touch accurately

This adds a new tab to the control panel, for controlling 'panning' – swiping your finger up and down on screen to scroll through long documents and web pages without using the scroll bar.

You can also flick backwards and forwards; very handy in Internet Explorer. If you're used to Windows Mobile, press and hold gives you a right-mouse click – but you can also press with one finger and tap with another to get right-click.

keyboard

KEYBOARD: The on-screen touch keyboard is easy to use

Apps need to be written specially to understand two-finger rotate; we tried rotate in Windows Live Photo Gallery and it worked well.

Windows will try to zoom any app if you use the pinch and drag gesture; this works very smoothly in Internet Explorer and Excel, a little more jumpily in WordPad and other applications that support mouse-wheel zoom.

touch

TOUCH: IE8 has zoom and scroll touch features; drag on the address bar to get this easy-to-touch list and the on-screen keyboard

Tap with two fingers at once and you zoom in to where you tapped. And until software developers like Corel launch the multi-touch graphics tools they've been working on, you can always open up Paint and paint with as many fingers as you want.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Contributor

Mary (Twitter, Google+, website) started her career at Future Publishing, saw the AOL meltdown first hand the first time around when she ran the AOL UK computing channel, and she's been a freelance tech writer for over a decade. She's used every version of Windows and Office released, and every smartphone too, but she's still looking for the perfect tablet. Yes, she really does have USB earrings.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré (Twitter, Google+) has been musing and writing about technology since 1997. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global techfests, developing an uncanny attraction for anything silicon, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro.

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