Logitech diNovo Mini Wireless

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
April 9, 2008
Views
34873
Logitech diNovo Mini Wireless
Logitech just released a new media center style wireless keyboard and mouse combination. The diNovo Mini is perfect for use with a media center PC.

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Intro:

It has been a long time since I last reviewed a Logitech product. CES has come and gone and with the show brought some interesting items. One such item that Logitech was showing was the diNovo Mini which is targeted to media center PCs like those provided by MythTV. The diNovo Mini was released a few weeks ago and it is the spotlight in this review.

Packaging:

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Logitech's product packaging is no stranger to anyone that reads reviews written by ASE Labs. Logitech went with the darker style green and black box since the product is black as well.

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Remember that this product is "Designed to move you" and that's a trademarked term!

Specs:

  • 25 mm (.98-inch) dual-purpose ClickPad. Works as a touch pad and a 4-way directional pad
  • Thumb-operated keypad design
  • 63 backlighted keys
  • Backlighting for two modes: orange for touch-pad mode, green for media-center remote mode
  • Ambient light sensor measures current available light and turns off backlight, if necessary, to conserve power
  • Troy gloss silver with midnight black design
  • Range: up to 10 m (33 feet)
  • Bluetooth® 2.0 wireless technology
  • Point-to-point technology pre-paired with DiNovo Mini keyboard. (Does not act as a hub.)
  • 30 days (battery life)
  • Full-charge: Takes about 4 hours.
  • Fast-charge: Takes about 10 minutes for 1 day of use
  • 950 mAH lithium-ion battery
  • 3-year limited hardware warranty
  • 152 mm by 90 mm by 27.5 mm (cover closed) (5.98-inch by 3.5-inch by 1.08-inch)
  • 152 mm by 152.8 mm by 65 mm (cover opened) (5.98-inch by 6-inch by 2.55-inch)
  • 170-175 g (with battery and receiver) (5.99 - 6.17 oz)
  • 59.5 mm by 18.5 mm by 9.1 mm (receiver size) (2.34-inch by 0.73-inch by 0.36-inch)
  • 7 g (receiver weight) (0.25 oz)


A few highlights include the 30 day battery life between charges and the range of the unit. It uses Bluetooth, but only for this device and not as a general hub. You can attach this to a computer that has Bluetooth built-in as well.

Parts:

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The diNovo Mini comes with all you see pictured. Included: A cleaning cloth, battery, AC adapter, Bluetooth adapter (USB), the manual, the Mini itself, and Logitech's SetPoint software for Windows. Notice how small the keyboard is compared to the CD.

bt1.jpg bt2.jpg


The USB Bluetooth dongle is given only for use with the DiNovo Mini and as such it doesn't act like a hub. It is a mini sized receiver that is about as big a standard USB flash drive. The bottom of the dongle has a connect button for pairing the device.

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The AC adapter plugs directly into the keyboard itself and the keyboard takes care of the charging. You'll only have to charge this once a month but at least you can still use the keyboard while it is charging.

diNovo Mini:

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The Mini is a clamshell design. I believe it is made this way to protect the keyboard from stuff spilling on it or being dropped. The target market for the Mini is a media center PC so it makes sense to build a nice and sturdy product that will hold up to daily use. The top is translucent plastic colored black and has silver accents.

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The bottom is rubberized to stop the device from sliding all over the place. Opening the cover allows entry to the unit to place the battery and other things.

keybotopen.jpg


Here is the unit with its skin off. The battery compartment and Bluetooth dongle holder are both waiting to be used. There is a red connect button to pair the device with the dongle. The other thing you should notice is a PC/PS3 switch. This device can be used with a Playstation 3.

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The battery and the dongle are both in place. The dongle is interesting in that you can take it along with you to other places and use it just like a normal keyboard and mouse.

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This is the keyboard in all its glory. I will remind you again that this is targeted to the media center crowd. Now what makes this tiny keyboard special? It isn't just a keyboard... it is a full blown input array! The device actually includes mouse support in the circular pad in the upper right of the device. That should be thought of as an extra feature and not the major one considering that most media centers use keyboard input mainly.

keyst.jpg


We have a vastly different keyboard setup, but the normal QWERTY keys are all the same. What takes getting used to if you are using this keyboard are the location of the shift keys. Control-alternate-delete is actually a function key button now. Esc is a function key button and there are no F keys (like F1 for help!). Hey, this is a media keyboard.

kbfl.jpg


The keys themselves are all in-line with each other and they are raised slightly. The keys have a rubbery feel and are very small. There is no touch typing with this keyboard unless you are 5 years old. Maybe younger. It it fine for thumb typing which this generation seems to be adept at.
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Lights:

One of the cool features of the diNovo Mini is the fact that it lights up in the dark. This is a must have feature to be used in a media center style placement since you'll be watching TV in the dark. The worst thing is having to disrupt everything by turning a light on to see the controls.

light1.jpg light2.jpg


The keyboard has two modes of operation which are governed by the use of the switch near the back button (above it). The mode shown above is full on controller mode. This means that the mouse portion changes into a keyboard directional pad which is very useful for MythTV. Pressing the circle creates an enter for navigation through menus. The control buttons are lit in green while the normal keys are in orange to differentiate. The keyboard portion will only light if in use.

light3.jpg light4.jpg


The second mode is the cursor mode. In this mode, the circular pad acts like a touchpad. It sort of acts like a touchpad, actually. The left click of the mouse can be invoked by clicking the pad or pressing the OK button on the left. The right click is buried by a function + OK click. Given the fact that you'll hardly use a mouse in a media center scenario, this is a minor thing.

Testing:

Testing an input device is not easy, especially when it is something as unique as this. Thankfully, I have just the setup that this device is targeting. I use MythTV to provide a media center on Linux with ease. Testing was done with MythTV and using the device as a regular input device.

The diNovo has a problem under Linux with regards to the cursor portion. The mouse input just does not work at all. I've been reading around that this is due to the Logitech Bluetooth adapter not being totally supported and the use of a standard Bluetooth device paired with the diNovo works fine. That being said, the keyboard functionality of the Mini works right out of the box in Linux (Ubuntu Gutsy). Ubuntu Hardy should be able to have full support for the Mini since a patch was released into the Kernel.

I also tested the Mini under Windows under XP SP2 and it is detected and installs without issue and without the need for extra software. Both the keyboard and mouse function correctly without problems.

The keyboard was made for a media center. It is a blast to use this over other bulky wireless keyboards. I think Logitech made a winner with this device. The mouse control is a bit clunky. The touchpad isn't as sensitive as a normal touchpad and you actually need to click the pad to mouse click instead of just tap which tags some getting used to. MythTV uses an all keyboard input scheme so the mouse rarely was used. The fact the keyboard is backlight also is a great feature for the media center room. There is absolutely no problem using this in low light situations.

Conclusion:

The diNovo Mini is pretty expensive at around $150. The thing to remember is that this is a special input device that matches with a media center. Media centers cost a pretty penny themselves and adding this may not be a drop in the bucket, but it is worth the cost for the ease of use and I recommend the purchase if you have one. I haven't seen a device like this from any company so Logitech gets the unique and forward thinking award and I'm glad that devices such as this are being released. We need to push the envelope to really see where we can go. Computing is still in its infancy in some regards and pushing it helps use makes strides.





I'd like to thank Kate and Sarah from Logitech for making this review possible.
members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2524m.jpg box.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2525m.jpg designmove.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2526m.jpg parts.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2527m.jpg bt1.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2528m.jpg bt2.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2529m.jpg power.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2530m.jpg key1.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2531m.jpg keybottom.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2532.jpg keybotopen.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2533.jpg keybotfull.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2534m.jpg keybt.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2535m.jpg keyst.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2536m.jpg kbfl.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2537m.jpg light1.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2538m.jpg light2.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2539m.jpg light3.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/04/10/2540m.jpg light4.jpg

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