Art. Lebedev Optimus Mini Three
Author: Shawn Knight
Editor: Frank Stroupe
Date: 03-16-2008
Provided by: Art. Lebedev Studio
Discuss: View Comments
Mini Three In Action

I took several photos of the Optimus Mini Three in action that I want to share with you all.

From left to right, we have: Free Memory, CPU Usage, Time and Weather - three website shortcuts - Gmail application, RSS, System Lock. The examples in the second row are from the pre-defined layouts. From left to right: Internet Explorer: Back, Reload and New Window - Outlook Express: New, Reply and Get Mail - Windows Media Player: Previous, Play, Next.

I also took some pictures of the unit in action in the dark...

Usage and Conclusion

I have become heavily dependent on the macro keys on my G15, with my only complaint being that there is no way to label each key. With three sets of 18 keys, I have a tough time remembering what I programmed each key to do (I only use about 10 or so hot keys). With the Mini Three, I can easily see what I have saved so there is no need to try and remember what each key does.

The Optimus Mini Configurator software worked as it should. There were plenty of options to fully customize each plug-in. Speaking of plug-ins, there were only less than 30 that came pre-loaded with the software. You can get new plug-ins from the Art. Lebedev Forums, but when I checked, the forum didn't seem very active at all. If you are a programmer, you can also download developer software and write your own plug-ins, something I couldn't even begin to do. I was only able to crash the software by trying to link to an image on Flickr in the Informer plug-in, but every other site I tried worked perfectly.

I kept a close eye on the system resources that the Mini Three used during normal usage. When simply staying with a single profile, I never noticed it jumping above 3% CPU usage. When changing from one program to another (ie: Outlook Express back to my default layout), the process would spike at 12% for one second then settle back down to 0-3%.

The Mini Three looks really nice sitting on my table. I do wish there was some sort of stand so you could position the unit to sit up. I fashioned something like this out of paper clips and tape, which worked really well.

The feel of each key is not really what you would expect; nothing like a normal keyboard. There is no tactical feel to it, no "response" when you press a button... no click or feeling that the button has been activated. I haven't typed on the Optimus Maximus keyboard yet, but I hope it would feel different.

If there was something I could change about the Mini Three, I would simply add more keys. Sure, you can use the profiler and technically have up to 18 keys, but I would much prefer more physical keys. It seems Art. Lebedev is already working on something like this, called the Optimus Upravlator, which has a bank of 12 keys.

As is, the Mini Three is a neat gadget but probably not for everyone. At a price of just over $150 USD, it is not cheap. But, it is available for purchase now and if nothing else, will give you a chance to see how OLED technology works and also give you a good idea of what you could expect with the Optimus Maximus keyboard.

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