Logitech diNovo Mini Keyboard
Price Range: $143.60 - $149.99
CNET Editors' Rating: 4.0 / 5
The good: The Logitech diNovo Mini's elegant design won't besmirch your living room; it gives the HTPC owner full cursor control; keyboard is well-suited to situational typing; easy setup; it works with your PS3.
The bad: Pricey; touch pad occasionally inaccurate; no Xbox 360 or Apple support.
The bottom line: If you're a home theater PC owner looking for the perfect input device, look no further. Logitech has melded the keyboard of a BlackBerry with a flexible cursor control pad into an attractive, coffee-table-ready package that will let you master your HTPC without cluttering up your living room with clunky hardware.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
Logitech's diNovo Mini does for home theater PC keyboards what Apple's iPod did to the MP3 player. Granted, there are many more digital music listeners than HTPC owners out there, but if you are a member of the latter category, you'll love the diNovo Mini because it solves one of the main dilemmas of HTPC ownership: how to take full control of your PC and its media functions without relying on multiple or clunky input devices. The price of the diNovo Mini is $150, which admittedly is steep for what's essentially a BlackBerry keyboard with a control pad and a Bluetooth connection. We'd pay it, though, when the diNovo Mini comes out at the end of February, because the tiny keyboard so effectively addresses what's been a nagging issue for an entire product category.
Like the iPod, the Logitech diNovo Mini boasts a pleasing visual aesthetic that seems inseparable from its functionality. The clamshell design feels right in your hand, and it would look as at home on your coffee table as any remote control. It weighs only 0.4 pound and is roughly three-quarters of an inch high and six inches long. Open it up and you're treated to a small-scale, 61-key keyboard, backlit in either orange or green, depending on the mode of the control pad.
The control pad itself lets you change from analog, touch-pad-style control, to directional up-down-left-right controls by sliding a small switch. The idea is that you'd want it in touch pad mode for navigating a Web page or the Windows desktop, but that the directional controls are better for working your way through a set of linear menus, such as those in Windows Media Center. The middle of the pad acts like your main mouse button, and you hold down one of the function buttons and a menu button on the keyboard for right-clicking. It's more intuitive than it sounds, and our only complaint is that the d-pad mode was sometimes not as responsive as we'd like. The analog mode is fine though, and consistent with the quality of Logitech's MX Air mouse, itself a major improvement over the touch pad on the old diNovo Edge keyboard.
Typing on the diNovo Mini is fully in the BlackBerry school. Especially since the width is about that of your average game controller, you're encouraged to use your thumbs for typing. The keys are large enough so that thumb-typing isn't a problem, and you might be surprised at how well basic touch typing familiarity translates from your 10 fingers to only your thumbs. We wouldn't use the diNovo Mini to type a dissertation, but for password entry, instant messaging, keyword searches, and typing in the occasional Web address, it's perfect. In other words, it's designed to serve the most common needs of a home theater PC owner.
That brings us to the comparisons. We've seen several products over the years purporting to be ideal for controlling your Media Center PC. Your typical wireless keyboard often claims some kind of multimedia functionality, but most of them, such as the diNovo Edge and Microsoft's Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000 and 8000, are full size and geared toward a traditional desktop. We can't ever see putting one of them in your living room with a true home theater PC such as the Alienware Hangar18. The alternative has been the small-scale keyboard, such as the Gyration model or the Vidabox trackball keyboard. And as much as we liked the trackball on the Vidabox keyboard, neither of those scaled-down keyboards can compete with the versatility or the visual elegance of the diNovo Mini.
Setting up the diNovo Mini is a breeze. It uses a Bluetooth connection and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and it went from the box to up and running on a Vista-equipped PC in less than two minutes. You can install the Logitech SetPoint software if you want to customize the hot key assignments and tweak the mouse cursor speed. It can also work with a PlayStation 3. We can certainly think of tweaks we'd like to see to the design, such as Apple and Xbox 360 support. The diNovo Mini also has dedicated play, volume, and channel hot keys, which work fine for driving Windows-based media, but we'd also like to see some options for controlling your other home theater hardware. We realize that Logitech has its Harmony universal remote controls to sell as well, but we don't think it's too much to ask to let you use the diNovo Mini to at least let you turn off your television.
|Product Description||Logitech diNovo Mini - Keyboard , Dual-purpose ClickPad|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||6 in x 3.5 in x 1.1 in|
|Localization||English - US|
|Connectivity Technology||Wireless - Bluetooth|
|Wireless Receiver||USB wireless receiver|
|Features||Backlit, Dual-purpose ClickPad|
|Manufacturer Warranty||3 years warranty|
Average User Rating: 4.0 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 15
4 Star: 5
3 Star: 11
2 Star: 3
1 Star: 7
Nice size BUT some flaws cause more pain than goodtimes
Rating: 3 / 5
on May 3, 2009
3 out of 3 users found this review helpful
Pros: Small and Stylish size reduces living room clutter.
Simple to use for simple applications.
Cons: Battery life nowhere near as advertised.
Mouse pad finicky/innaccurate.
Summary: I purchased this keyboard for use with my new media centre PC running Vista 32. Now whilst I do agree with most of what is mentioned in the diNovo Mini review above, it doesn't really tell us more than what can be gained from looking at the picture on the box and reading the Logitech marketing hype. Yes - it is small, looks cool and, well, yes has a mouse pad stuck to the side of it - but they have missed many of the inadequacies that show up only when you start using the thing.
First, Logitech claim that the battery life on the diNovo Mini lasts 'up to 30 days'. What a load of bollocks! Maybe if you leave it sitting on your coffee table and don't touch it, it might last that long! I have found that with what I would call 'average' use you will get 1-3 days out of it. I returned my first two units thinking they were faulty, when their batteries were only lasting two days. Even if I were being generous and said I was an above average user and doubled or quadrupled those times it would not come close to 30 days.
Now this might be fine except it leads me onto my second issue. The first indication that your battery is low is that it will 'key repeat' whatever the last key you pressed when it decided the battery was low, filling up your screen (or URL, or login, or whatever it was you were doing, with hundreds of that character - as if you had just held down that key on the keyboard for the last 20secs) or as I have just had the pleasure of experiencing (and by PLEASURE I mean DISPLEASURE) when I just hit the delete key to delete a single email from my MS Outlook, the DEL key stayed ON, and as if holding my DEL down, it one by one deleted all 300 of the msgs in my Inbox and dumped them into (and amongst) the 2000 or so msgs in my Deleted Items. It took hours to go through each mail and pick them back out.
Now, similar to the above issues I have found that the bluetooth connection (I can only assume that is the cause) can get a bit flaky at times, leading to a lagging keyboard. I'm not sure if this is also low battery related, but I am only sitting 2 metres away from the receiver, which is well within the advertised 10 metre range. And if you find a laggy keyboard to be annoying, you wait till you try the mouse touchpad. What I thought was awesome at the start will become an instrument of frustration. The touchpad can at best be described as finicky and inaccurate, as you find your mouse pointer skipping all over your screen. At times I will find no response from the touchpad, to then see the pointer jump off screen somewhere (I suspect this is the Bluetooth again). I have spent ages trying to refine my settings in attempt to find the right combination, yet I still find myself playing ?find the mouse pointer? as my pointer disappears of screen right with one light touch of the touchpad. The touchpad is designed to be used with your thumb, yet is nearly as small as my thumb (& I have avg thumbs!) so there is not that much room to move around on it. This means that there is no one good setting that is good for getting your mouse pointer around the screen conveniently, and also good for making small movements accurately. It?s just not big enough.
Another nice touch might have been ?trigger finger? style buttons on the top corners of the unit (similar to a PSP) to use as your left and right mouse buttons rather than using a two-keypress combination to get to your right mouse button, which is a major pain for what I would consider to be a very regularly used function.
I?m not going to go into the other obvious stuff covered in the review. Yes its small so you have to type with your thumbs, but you already accepted that when you bought it ? that?s the way it was designed. It?s the other flaws in the background technology that I wanted to highlight here. These aren?t because it was designed to be small (like issues with having a small keypad) ? but issues with the fact that Logitech just can?t get it to work right.
To summarise, the diNovo Mini is designed to be a tiny keyboard and mouse, and I guess, being tiny and having a keyboard and mouse means it is 90% of the way there. You would think that there is not that much you could get wrong? and you would be right. It works as you would expect ?most of the time?, but not always or reliably. I don?t want it to do anything extra, just the things it was meant to do properly. I would still recommend it to anyone wanting to rid themselves of a large keyboard in the living room working with a media center PC. It is a GREAT remote control for Windows Media Center ? IT REALLY IS ? but anything other than the most basic PC functions soon become an ordeal and you will find yourself reverting to your old keyboard even for the most basic email. BUT, whilst some of the design concepts of the diNovo Mini are cool, again it?s the glitchiness and final implementation of the technology that means that once again, Logitech have not failed to disappoint me.
Updated on May 3, 2009
Great Multimedia Mini Keyboard!
Rating: 4 / 5
on October 26, 2008
1 out of 1 users found this review helpful
Pros: Small, easy to setup/use long battery life, have had no problems, very reliable and nice to use :). Will work with PC, PS3, laptop.
Cons: Price!, besides from that, very good!
Summary: 10 mintues charge for a full day of using, 4 hours for about a month worth of battery life!, small and protected, everything works well.
the price is the only downfall, and sometimes, the keys can get a bit, too small? lol, espically is you have big hands, either from that i recconmend!
One thing tho, if you do happen to have a unuses bluetooth full size keyboard lying around...mmm lol, bigger buttons = faster typing
But great little thing, if your looking at buying it, you wont be dissapointed!
Great Product Over All!
Rating: 4.5 / 5
on October 16, 2008
1 out of 1 users found this review helpful
Pros: great form, great feel,the backlighting is a major plus,and i love the efficiency of the media remote keys.
Cons: only 3, you cant turn the backlighting off while using it, no caps lock key, and the touch pad is a little too sensitive and "jumpy" for me. but thats all.
Summary: Great product. the benefits outweigh the cons and so far so good about product quality.i love it so much that i actually used it to write this review!
Great small form factor. Works very well.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
on June 3, 2008
1 out of 1 users found this review helpful
Pros: Great small form factor. Good looks.
Cons: Right mouse button control not easy to initially figure out. No button to automatically "pop open" or release cover.
Another of my inventions stolen!!
Rating: 4.5 / 5
on January 6, 2008
2 out of 4 users found this review helpful
Pros: Surf computer and recline your chair wayyyy back
Cons: I don't get credit for it
Summary: Oh well, yet another invention I've been talking about for the past year! I submited this idea to Logitech through their online suggestion forum. They don't guarantee you any compensation, and I didn't think I'd get any, but still. This is what I've been wanting for quite a while now.
I keep my PC and TV seperate so the family can watch SpongeBob while I work on my...um well computer stuff. What I can't stand though is having to constantly sit up and turn to face the keyboard to type in a search query. It was literally killing me to have to do this over and over and over and over....
Thanks Logitech for what looks like a nice package and a product that I will definitely buy. Now send me my check!