When I connected up a PC to a wall-mounted television in a sunroom that I had built earlier this year, I knew that I needed something to control it with.
Using a configuration that required a separate mouse wasn’t a good option as I didn’t have a hard surface near where I would normally view from. The Lenovo ThinkPad UltraNav keyboard would have been an interesting option but there isn’t a wireless version. Remote control from another computer was and is another possibility but I also wanted something that I could just directly control the computer with. (And I know there are some iPhone applications but I didn’t yet have an iPhone at the time.)
What I settled on was the Logitech diNovo Mini. This 6-inch by 3.5-inch handheld keyboard and pad isn't perfect but it’s a pretty good option for a home theatre PC so long as you don’t intend to do lots of typing. It’s a lot more functional as a keyboard than a typical remote control is but you’re not going to want to compose long emails and the like.
What I like:
- It’s small and stylish with a smoked plastic flip-down lid. It won’t look out of place sitting on a coffee table.
- It has a mode for directly controlling Windows Media Center
- The integrated pointer control works well
- The thumb pad works pretty well for entering URLs and other relatively short strings or blocks of text
What I don’t like:
- It’s relatively pricey with a list price of $150
- As I noted, it’s basically a thumb keyboard, albeit a relatively large one, so you’re not going to be banging away like on a regular keyboard
- Right click and dragging operations are more awkward than they would ideally be
Bottom line: If you can live without having a “real” keyboard and just want something unobtrusive to easily pull up YouTube and Hulu videos and the like, it’s a good, if premium, choice.
Here's another more detailed review of the DiNovo Mini. I concur with most of his comments, especially with respect to mouse operations.