An overview showing the layout of the remote

Logitech DiNovo Mini HTPC Keyboard

Add Your Comments

Today I’m taking a look at what many consider to be the marquee keyboard/remote for HTPC use, the Logitech DiNovo Mini.  This device is probably the most premium device of it’s type.


Features:

This keyboard is a Bluetooth wireless device, it includes a “stick of gum” sized dongle for computers not already equipped with Bluetooth.  This dongle fits in a slot next to the battery when not in use.  The remote also has a switch to toggle between PC usage and PS3 usage.

The remote operates on an included rechargeable battery and includes a charger that plugs into the remote to charge the battery inside the remote. It comes in an extremely nice box, but I would have been disappointed with anything less in this price range.

The keyboard comes well packaged

The keyboard comes well packaged

Layout:

A brief overview starting at the top left corner:
An OK button which doubles as right mouse click, volume up, down and mute keys that double as a music hotkey, an internet hotkey and a power/sleep button.  Next to this is a full set of playback controls, record, rewind, stop, play/pause and fast forward.  Last is a back key which sits under the toggle switch to change the track pad to directional pad mode.

Below the multimedia keys is a compact QWERTY keyboard including Fn keys as well as shift, Ctrl, Alt, the Windows key, Enter, Tab.  There is a large PGUP and PGDN on the left side that are also zoom in and out when Fn is used. Another well thought out extra is a CTRL-ALT-DEL when Fn and Enter are pushed together.  Somewhat surprising is the lack of home and end keys and that ESC and DEL are only available as FN combos.

This keyboard’s build quality is exceptional, and key presses are solid and rarely fail to register correctly.  It does have a slightly odd sound like there is a layer of plastic under the keys but it doesn’t affect functionality.  Probably the biggest selling point for this keyboard is the backlit keys, which are by far it’s greatest feature for use in a HTPC environment.

A frequent complaint with this device is the trackpad, and I have to agree.  While it’s a workable solution, it is not the most elegant.  Particularly annoying is having to hold FN and the OK key to get a right mouse click.  I also found the sensitivity of the pad to be lacking, taking longer than most devices to scroll around the screen on my HTPC.

An overview showing the layout of the remote

An overview showing the layout of the remote

An overview showing the alternate lighting when the directional pad mode is on

An overview showing the alternate lighting when the directional pad mode is on

Final Thoughts:

Range is excellent, 30′ is about as far as I could get from the PC and it worked great all the way out to that range.  This is consistent with Logiotech’s claim of 10 meters for range, more devices these days seem to finally be living up to range claims.  My HTPC is sitting in the open so your performance may vary particularly if your PC is in an enclosed space.

Previously I reviewed the Lenovo Wireless Multimedia Remote, so that is my benchmark for comparing this device.  This device is excellent, but it’s MSRP of 149.99 VS the Lenovo’s MSRP of 59.99  makes things a little less cut and dry.  Additionally the mouse performance wasn’t stellar which took away from the device.  The back lighting is a feature I really valued though which swings back in favor of this device strongly.

Ultimately if your main use is a wireless mouse/trackball the Lenovo remote which can regularly be had at 30 dollars or so is probably the way to go.  If you use the keyboarding features frequently and can afford it, this is probably the better choice.  The quality of the keyboard itself and the excellent back lighting makes this device nice to use.  Additionally the aesthetic and build quality of this device is definitely in a different league from most of the less expensive devices suited to these types of tasks.

Size comparison to Lenovo's Wireless Multimedia Remote

Size comparison to Lenovo's Wireless Multimedia Remote

Size comparison to the AT&T Tilt2

Size comparison to the AT&T Tilt2

-Big Mike

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discussion
  1. ^^ i dunno if this could work for you but i'm considering to buy the Logitech Mini which appears to be the almost same as the DiNovo Mini(regular receiver vs bluetooth) and i was also concerned with the battery degrading eventually and would have to be replaced.

    This led me to find a replacement on amazon amazon battery the only thing is that its appears to be a 3rd party seller on amazon and not actually through amazon.
    ratbuddy
    I really don't get it. My Logitech Cordless Internet Pro keyboard has been going strong on a pair of regular alkaline AA batteries for something like 6 months, and I use it pretty heavily.


    Just got a critical battery warning on the Cordless Internet Pro, been using the same pair of AA batteries for over a year, with several hours of use per day. I only wish the Dinovo Mini held up that well. Also still wish they would sell me a replacement battery.
    Sorry to hear about all your problems ratbuddy, I can honestly say I've never had any of them. Maybe I'm one of the lucky ones, or maybe you just use your remote a hell of a lot more than me???? Now, if I could just stop spilling my glass of port all over the damn thing and making all the keys sticky I'd be set... (
    They're doing an RMA yet again. This'll be my 4th Dinovo Mini, all because they can't make a decent battery. I wouldn't even mind the shoddy battery lifespan if they would sell me a replacement, but they still refuse to offer spare batteries seperately from the keyboard. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
    I have also had good experiences with AA batteries ratbuddy, for htpc keyboards. It seems any decent keyboard goes into sleep mode when not in use, and the batteries really last a long time.

    Thanks for the update as well. Really nice to see followup. :)
    Update:

    That last RMA replacement had a crappy battery and I ended up sending it back, along with the original one, some time around May 2011. They sent another replacement, and it worked OK for a few months, but now I pretty much have to leave it plugged in all the time or it loses connection due to weak battery.

    I really can't recommend this keyboard anymore due to the seemingly pervasive battery issues. It'd be fine for very light HTPC use such as starting and stopping movies but for real forum browsing and other such uses, you'll want a keyboard with a battery that actually works.

    I really don't get it. My Logitech Cordless Internet Pro keyboard has been going strong on a pair of regular alkaline AA batteries for something like 6 months, and I use it pretty heavily.
    Yeesh, UPS just dropped off a brand new Mini. Logitech really rules.

    My stable now includes an MX310, G9, G15, MX Revolution, and a pair of Minis, one with short battery life ;)
    jimmsch
    I have no complaints about mine. I've been using it for close to three years now. The battery lasts me a month at least. I think it is primarily meant for HTPC usage, and that is all I use it for. We do a small bit of web surfing with it, but so little that the small keypad is not too much of a problem. I would never suggest it for anything like playing games.


    I'm sure that's why my batteries lasted so long. I did very little actual typing with it, mostly just navigating XBMC.
    I have no complaints about mine. I've been using it for close to three years now. The battery lasts me a month at least. I think it is primarily meant for HTPC usage, and that is all I use it for. We do a small bit of web surfing with it, but so little that the small keypad is not too much of a problem. I would never suggest it for anything like playing games.
    ratbuddy
    Just got a surprise UPS from Logitech. I was thinking they were being really cool and sent me a new battery without receiving my RMA since I haven't sent it in, but no.

    They sent me a spare USB receiver dongle.

    Points for trying, but it's a swing and a miss :p

    edit: Just called and explained what they did and the guy said "sorry, we're sending you a new Dinovo mini, should be there in a couple days, and you don't need to send back the extra receiver." No mention of sending back the one with the weak battery either. Say whaaaa?


    Logitech does that all the time. I have 2 spare G7's (both double click when you click once) and my friend gave me his broken harmony when he got his replaced (the channel up/down buttons don't work). Logitech is awesome when it comes to RMAs :)

    Any word on if these play nice with Linux?
    I.M.O.G.
    How often is once in a while? The current unit I'm testing looses connection with the keyboard every week approximately. It also has a remote control similar to a TV style, and it never looses connection - only the keyboard has the issue. Same deal, pop the batteries, the firmware straightens itself out, power back on and we're good to go.


    I would say it happened about once a week, maybe two. Other than that, rock solid strong signal and few missed keystrokes.

    ratbuddy
    Just got a surprise UPS from Logitech. I was thinking they were being really cool and sent me a new battery without receiving my RMA since I haven't sent it in, but no.

    They sent me a spare USB receiver dongle.

    Points for trying, but it's a swing and a miss :p

    edit: Just called and explained what they did and the guy said "sorry, we're sending you a new Dinovo mini, should be there in a couple days, and you don't need to send back the extra receiver." No mention of sending back the one with the weak battery either. Say whaaaa?


    Lol, what the hell?
    Just got a surprise UPS from Logitech. I was thinking they were being really cool and sent me a new battery without receiving my RMA since I haven't sent it in, but no.

    They sent me a spare USB receiver dongle.

    Points for trying, but it's a swing and a miss :p

    edit: Just called and explained what they did and the guy said "sorry, we're sending you a new Dinovo mini, should be there in a couple days, and you don't need to send back the extra receiver." No mention of sending back the one with the weak battery either. Say whaaaa?
    How often is once in a while? The current unit I'm testing looses connection with the keyboard every week approximately. It also has a remote control similar to a TV style, and it never looses connection - only the keyboard has the issue. Same deal, pop the batteries, the firmware straightens itself out, power back on and we're good to go.
    Big Mike
    It sure is, works great except it was a bear to get it to pair with a fresh build of Win7, apparently the unit got a little scrambled in the brain, removing the battery for a couple minutes got it going again. I haven't used it a ton since I'm waiting on my CETON cablecard tuner and using a HD cablebox at the moment (switched from SD to HD set recently) but as soon as I get the Ceton I'll be using it all the time. The backlighting and sleek look of the unit really sets it off from the competition, it looks good on the coffee table as it were.


    Ahh, yes. I should have mentioned that too. Once in a while it will loose connection, pop the battery and wait for the green bluetooth light and back in business. Happened to me a few times as well.
    I.M.O.G.
    What about the Dinovo? Have you watched the sales on it? If you pay $90 are you doing well, or are there regularly sales bringing the price down below that?


    I do pay attention, and have never seen one cheaper than $90 new.

    A quick slickdeals search shows that once Fry's had it for $100-$20=$80 AMIR, and Dell once had it for $120, $84 after a 30% coupon, but those are the only times I can find it went that low.

    $90 is about as good as you can hope to do on it, and worth every penny IMHO.

    The Logitech Mini Controller, btw, appears to be the same thing, only with different markings on some of the buttoms. Goes for $130 or more everywhere. http://www.logitech.com/en-us/smartTV/accessories/devices/mini-controller for some infos.

    I thought at first that my Dinovo Mini couldn't make the , Fn-J and K for {}, Q and W for ` and ~, and Fn-X for |.
    It sure is, works great except it was a bear to get it to pair with a fresh build of Win7, apparently the unit got a little scrambled in the brain, removing the battery for a couple minutes got it going again. I haven't used it a ton since I'm waiting on my CETON cablecard tuner and using a HD cablebox at the moment (switched from SD to HD set recently) but as soon as I get the Ceton I'll be using it all the time. The backlighting and sleek look of the unit really sets it off from the competition, it looks good on the coffee table as it were.