Logitech is well known for making computer peripherals, such as keyboards and mice. Their diNovo line of wireless keyboards are great for everyday use. However, if you ever needed something smaller and more portable you would have been out of luck, until recently. The diNovo Mini is not only small enough to fit in your pocket, but it also functions as a keyboard, mouse, and remote control.
- Integrated, dual-purpose ClickPad
- Rechargeable Li-ion batteries
- Bluetooth 2.0
The compact design of the diNovo Mini is one of its key features. Because of its small size it can be taken anywhere and used with any computer that has a USB port.
The dual-purpose ClickPad can be used to navigate Windows Media Center like a remote, or it can be switched over to function like a TouchPad.
The backlighting makes it easy to use even in the dark. There are two colors, and they represent the two modes that the ClickPad and keyboard can take. The backlighting makes use of a light sensor that is built-in to the device. If there is sufficient light to see the keys, the backlight will not turn on to conserve power.
The battery that comes with and powers the diNovo Mini is a rechargeable Li-Ion battery. This battery provides a lot of juice so that you don’t have to constantly keep charging it. This is important because charging it is not the easiest thing to do.
The Bluetooth wireless connectivity allows the keyboard to be used from almost any location, even if you don’t have a direct line of site to the computer.
First and foremost this is a small keyboard, the entire layout is built around that fact.
The front of the diNovo is dominated by the keyboard and cover. For the most part the layout of the keys stay true to a QUERTY design. However, there are some keys that have been moved or removed. For example, there are no function keys, square or curly braces, or many of the other extra keys. However, to make up for how compact it is, some of the keys have more than one function. There are also a few multimedia controls which help when using it as a remote. The multimedia controls consist of volume, play, fast forward, rewind, stop, record, play, and pause. There are also buttons for launching a web browser, media player, and turning off your computer.
The back has a large cover and under it is where the battery and USB dongle go. There is also a red button that is used for activating the Bluetooth discovery mode. Under the USB dongle is a small switch. This switch allows you to use the diNovo Mini with a Playstation 3 (PS3). I do not have a PS3 so I was unable to test it, but Logitech claims that the keyboard will work directly with the PS3 without the need of the dongle.
The rear of the diNovo Mini has only one port and it is for plugging it in, to charge the battery. I was disappointed when I saw that it did not come with a charging cradle like the Harmony remotes do. It would make it so much nicer not to have to hunt for the cable every time it needs to charge. In addition, because this is being used for media center PCs it will most likely be placed in an entertainment center. In this kind of setup you could easily lose the power cable by having it fall behind where you can’t reach it or get tangled up with all the other cords. Having a cradle means it is always in the same place and you don’t have to hunt for it.
I recently put together a Home Theater PC (HTPC) and while I can perform most functions with a remote like the Harmony One or Harmony 800, there are other functions, like installing software, that I need to use a keyboard or mouse. In the past I have always kept a keyboard and mouse handy so that I could plug them in and complete the tasks. This was a hassle because they take up space to store and they are not convenient to use with an HTPC that is in an entertainment center. I could use a wireless keyboard and mouse, but they still take up storage space. That is why the diNovo Mini is so perfect.
I was able to connect the keyboard to any of the computers I have using the Bluetooth dongle. Using the Bluetooth dongle, the diNovo Mini worked perfectly every time. However, when attempting to use a device with Bluetooth built-in, it did not work quite as well. I was able to get my Treo 650 and my Axim X50v to recognize the diNovo Mini. However, neither device would accept input from the keyboard.
The two modes that are available are cursor and media remote mode. Switching between the two is as easy and sliding a switch. When you change between modes some of the keys are remapped to perform different functions. For example, on the left of the keyboard are two large buttons, the top one is labeled “PAGE + CH” and the bottom one is labeled “PAGE – CH”. When in cursor mode these buttons function like the page up and down buttons that are normally found on a keyboard. When in media remote mode these buttons function like channel up and down buttons that are found on a remote. Other keys do not change between the modes. For example, the letter and blue function keys stay the same.
I also have to mention that the diNovo Mini only has limited use as a remote for regular TV viewing. Because you cannot control things like the power and volume on your TV or Stereo, you are still going to need another remote for those things. If Logitech would combine a Harmony remote and a diNovo Mini they would have a truly universal remote that would work for entertainment centers and computers.
As far as battery life is concerned I have not charged mine in several weeks, and it still works great. Granted I only use it once or twice a week, it is still nice to not have to worry about it running out of juice quickly. Logitech claims that with a full 4 hour charge the diNovo mini will last for 30 days. Obviously, this will vary based on your usage.
The software that comes with the diNovo Mini is fairly basic. It allows you to do things like set the speed and sensitivity of the mouse and change the hot keys. The problem with the software is that the settings are computer dependent. This means that you must install it and make the changes on each computer. The software is not required, and for the most part I have not found a lot of use for it.
Warranty and Support
The warranty on the diNovo Mini is for three years. This is fairly good considering most companies only offer a one year warranty. In case you need it, you can get support for the diNovo Mini either by visiting the Logitech website or calling them on the phone.
I really enjoyed using the diNovo Mini while I had it. Everything worked great and it made using an HTPC really easy. I was even able to type with a fairly good speed when using a word processor or email program. If Logitech can address some of the concerns I mentioned above they will have a really useful device that almost anyone can use. With a list price of $149.99 it is not too far out of reach of most people that are putting together an HTPC. As always compare prices before purchasing.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|