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Old 04-07-2008, 12:13 AM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default Logitech diNovo Mini

Logitech surprised us at CES with the launch of their diNovo Mini media keyboard, which is not much larger than a cell phone. But despite its size, it packs in the functionality, and is even supported by the Playstation 3. Are we impressed? Let's just say that once again, Logitech has pulled it off.

You can read Kiersten's full article here and discuss it here!
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:38 AM   #2
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Thumbs down My review of the diNovo Mini

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! (and even that is a MIGHT!) 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. On my 3rd one now so surely they can’t all be faulty. I think that’s just the way it is. 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 Logitech, rather than going with a standard battery (say AAA), have chosen to make their own proprietary battery to install in it, similar to a cell phone battery. My concern is that with the constant charging I’ll be forking out for a new battery in 12 months. I have gone through the Logitech website and have not found anywhere where a new battery can be purchased so I can only guess it will be expensive… or worse still… I’ll be throwing the diNovo Mini in the trash in 12 months because the battery is dead and I can’t get a new one.
Now all 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 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.
Design wise – it looks great – BUT, to make it look good they have given up a lot of functionality. I have an old Sharp Personal Organiser that is exactly the same size… yet Sharp managed to still get all the essential keys (including a Caps Lock – which this doesn’t have) onto a keyboard with the same size buttons, without resorting to a cumbersome function key. They could have easily got another row of keys on it. 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.
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