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Today I’m taking a look at my newest HTPC addition, the Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard. This device is gaining popularity very quickly due to it’s usefulness and it’s competitive price.
The keyboard is a 2.4ghz wireless device, using it’s own proprietary “nano” sized dongle. This dongle fits in a slot under the battery cover so you can take it with you for presentations or on the go and not worry about losing it. Other users have reported that each remote is coded to it’s own dongle, so multiple devices can be used in one household as well.
The remote runs on 2 AAA batteries and a set is included. It comes very well packaged in a nice box.
A brief overview starting at the top left corner:
The large orange button – My computer, volume down, volume up, mute, reverse, stop, play/pause, fast forward
Below the multimedia keys is a compact QWERTY keyboard including Fn keys as well as shift, Ctrl, Alt, the Windows key, the “menu” key, a full set of arrows, backspace, Del, Enter, Caps Lock, Tab and Escape. There is a large PGUP and PGDN on the left side that are also HOME and END when Fn is used. Another well thought out extra is a CTRL-ALT-DEL when Fn and Enter are pushed together.
Operating the keyboard is not difficult, but may be an adjustment for some users. I found it took some getting used to because the layout is slightly different than my Tilt2 smartphone’s keyboard. I suspect that if you don’t have a QWERTY device you wouldn’t notice as you’d learn this layout from the start. I find it misses keypresses occasionally, but not much more than the wireless keyboard it replaces.
Below the keyboard is an optical trackball with two butons. I found the trackball to be decent, but not stellar. The mouse buttons also take a little getting used to and I had to use the same finger to run the trackball and push the mouse buttons. Despite the page up and down buttons and arrows I do kind of wish they had incorporated a “scroll wheel” of some sort into the remote.
Range is excellent, my Microsoft Wireless Comfort Keyboard can work intermittently even from my couch. The Lenovo remote worked well at the furthest distance I could get from the TV and still see it, 30′. This is consistent with Lenovo’s claim of 10 meters for the range, it’s refreshing to see a device that lives up to it’s range claims as this is a frequently exaggerated number. My HTPC is sitting in the open so your performance may vary particularly if your PC is in an enclosed space.
I haven’t compared this to what is probably the most popular device in the segment, the DiNovo Mini from Logitech. I can tell you though that the MSRP of 59.99 is less than half the MSRP of 149.99 of the DiNovo. The DiNovo also rarely sells for less than 120 dollars, where the Lenovo has already been on sale several times in the 30-40 dollar range. I find it hard to believe that the DiNovo offers 3x the value of this device. However that does bring me to the one disadvantage this device has versus the Mini; no backlit keys. That may be the DiNovo Mini’s biggest advantage over this device.
If you’re interested in checking this device out you can see it on Lenovo’s Website. You may want to keep an eye on deal websites like Slickdeals.net as this item frequently goes on sale with a coupon code that is posted on those sites.