Logitech diNovo Mini Keyboard
Author: Shawn Knight
Editor: Rutledge Feman
Date: 04-29-2008
Provided by: Logitech
Pages:
Usage and Conclusion

I'm currently stuck in a cheapo apartment lease where they only offer proprietary cable and internet services, which means no HD for me. So, I haven't bothered to get a high-def TV yet... nor have I bothered to set up a dedicated HTPC.


What I have done, however, is connect my laptop to my TV. Sure, it's not a true HDTV setup, but it works just fine for me for the time being. During the day, I watch TV on my main computer but at night when I get in bed, I can either watch regular TV or turn on the laptop which opens up a whole new world of movies, online TV shows, SlingBox access to several hundred channels via a friend's cable service, internet surfing, etc.


Since I use my setup while in bed at night, it is not practical to use a full-sized keyboard and mouse, nor am I able to use the laptop to control the computer, as the S-Video cable is only a few feet long.

This scenario is perfect for the diNovo Mini, as it allows me to fully control the computer without the need for bulky input devices.

Findings and Conclusion

I have been using the diNovo Mini for about two weeks with my makeshift HTPC setup, and I must confess, I am in love with this product! Logitech must have put some serious time and thought into the diNovo Mini, and it certainly shows.

Software installation and initial setup was a breeze. I ran into no problems at all during this process. The diNovo Mini instantly found the Bluetooth dongle without any assistance from me (pressing the Connect button on the keyboard / dongle).


The diNovo Mini has two dedicated modes - one for media center control and one for cursor control. This allows you to easily navigate your system regardless of operating system (Media Center Edition vs. XP / Vista). The dual-purpose ClickPad did take a little time to get used to, but once I got the hang of it, I was able to move the mouse cursor around with ease. You can either use the ClickPad as a mouse button or use the "OK" button on the left side of the keyboard to perform the same function. In media center mode, the ClickPad serves as a directional pad with an "OK" button in the center. There are two function buttons which, much like a laptop, give you even more button options in the same small footprint.

The keyboard has an orange backlight that comes to life when you open the cover and also when you press any button. This allows you to easily see all of the keys, even under low light (perfect for my situation).

The diNovo Mini connects to your computer via the included Bluetooth dongle. Bluetooth has a range of about 30 feet, which should be plenty for most every user. I had no problem controlling my PC from the kitchen (about 15 feet away).

A 950 mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery is included that should provide up to a month of usage before needing a recharge. The included battery charger plugs directly into the keyboard, so you aren't required to remove the battery for charging purposes. Also in the battery compartment is a cutout which allows you to carry the Bluetooth dongle, so it won't become misplaced during transit.

The diNovo Mini is also fully compatible with Sony's Playstation 3 gaming console. Unfortunately, I do not have a PS3 so I was not able to test out this feature.

Actually using the diNovo Mini is very pleasing. If you are used to typing on a full QWERTY mobile phone, you will adapt to the Mini quickly. Each key is slightly raised in the center, which gives a nice tactical feel. Once I got the hang of the keyboard, I had no problems using it to fully control my computer. The keyboard felt very nice in my hand; it wasn't too small to use, but also, not large enough to be annoying.

The only issue I found with the diNovo Mini was with the backlight. I noticed one night when shutting down my system that there was a very faint buzzing sound coming from the unit when the backlight would illuminate. I thought maybe this was a defect and asked Logitech to send over another unit, but the replacement did the same thing. I don't think this is a big deal, as the buzz is very faint and most users will never hear it. I only heard it in total silence when the board was close to my face.

As of writing, the Logitech diNovo Mini Palm-sized Keyboard retails for $149.99 USD. This is a very fair price given the quality of the unit, its ease of use and its ability to replace a standard keyboard and mouse.

OCIA.net has awarded the Logitech diNovo Mini Palm-sized Keyboard our Seal of Approval.




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