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Customer Review

164 of 171 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect HTPC Keyboard, October 15, 2009
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This review is from: IOGEAR Multimedia Keyboard with Laser Trackball and Scroll Wheel, 2.4GHz Wireless GKM561R (Black) (Personal Computers)
I have an old laptop permanently hooked up to my TV. Its my DVD player, Netflix/Hulu player and multi-format Media player. It's worked out great so far, except the part where I need to keep scooting up to the laptop to choose/play the next video, reluctantly giving up the comfort spot on my couch. I've tried hooking up my other wireless k/b and mouse to it, but that didn't work too well; miserable range, k/b too big to leave lying on the coffee table, no convenient surface to use the mouse, etc. but mainly the miserable range was what killed it.

I've been eying the dinovo mini for a while now, but could never get myself to spill a 3-digit figure for a k/b. But all the other HTPC keyboards had mixed reviews, so I had resigned myself to waiting till the dinovo got old and cheap. That's till I spotted the iogear last week. Pretty decent reviews on Newegg and Amazon, good looking design, encouraging feedback on the range and a trackball and scroll wheel to boot. I was sold.

I've been totally enjoying this keyboard the last one week. Excellent range, great size, the trackball works great, and the scroll wheel is a blessing. This is almost exactly what I was looking for, and at a great price-point. Well, definitely more expensive than I would spend on a typical wireless keyboard, but given the selection of alternatives out there, this is probably the best feature-price ratio for a htpc keyboard one can get. Both XP pro and home had no issues recognizing it without needing anything to be installed.

If I were to change some things on this keyboard, they would be:
1. Make it a little lighter; it currently weighs around 2 pounds or so. My full-size wireless keyboard is nearly twice its size but feels way lighter.
2. The track ball has some play to it, i.e. isn't snug in its socket. It doesn't really affect functionality though, just a little annoying at times.
3. The track ball is entirely light-weight smooth plastic. Rolls very smoothly and no problems so far, but I imagine that adding some rubberized coating (such as that on the scroll wheel) and weight would have been great for friction, good tactile feel and more precise pointer movement. The higher DPI settings are currently unusable because there isn't sufficient friction between fingers and trackball to be able to make precise tiny movements, and it rolls way too easily.
4. The design with a trackball in the upper right corner and the mouse buttons in the upper left corner is excellent when you're using both hands, but makes it very difficult for single-handed operation. The mouse buttons (at least the left click) could have been provided on both sides to ease this.
5. Has a lot of keyboard functions that would probably work only on the media center versions of windows. They're useless for me; I might have swapped the extra keys for clipboard operations, zoom, navigation, etc. that could be used in any version of windows.
6. Some keys are disproportionately sized - like the return key and the arrow keys - almost like the key layout was designed in a hurry. Don't care much for the fonts either. But overall the keyboard has a real neat, sleek look with an obsession for straight lines and angles. Very good-looking.
7. Not very pick-up-able. You cannot pick it up from a flat surface (table) with just one hand in a reasonably quick manner without the risk of knocking your shiny new keyboard right off the table. The bar running under the top edge of the keyboard would be a prime location for adding a gap where your fingers can slip underneath to grab it. Not cool to always need to reach for it with both hands.

These are all just minor nitpicks though - I really, really like this keyboard. If you have a HTPC, you should get it; you won't regret it. I might still get the dinovo mini when its price drops to this range (half the size and has a touchpad; touchpads are much more versatile pointer controllers for me), but until then, this iogear is the perfect fit for my needs.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 12, 2010 9:46:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 29, 2013 4:18:17 PM PDT
D. Johnson says:
A suggestion for the loose trackball problem.
I have a Logitech trackball and it has the same looseness problem. The way I solved it was to tighten up the ball by putting a couple of pieces of electrical tape over the lip of the trackball opening. The amount of tape can vary until you find the best feel for the resistance of the trackball. It doesn't look very pretty on my Logitech because of the silver gray finish but on a black keyboard like yours it won't even be noticed. You don't need a lot, just small enough pieces to thicken the entrance hole itself enough.
Give it a try. It can't hurt and might help.

Posted on Jul 14, 2010 5:43:06 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Apr 12, 2011 10:50:54 AM PDT
SuckaMC says:
The dinovo mini is really worth the money, but my complaint is the trackpad is wonky in itself. It would take you probably several swipes across the trackpad to get the cursor from one side of the screen to the other.
the lenovo w/ trackball is so much better (yes, I own both... I have an HTPC in living room and a media laptop in the bedroom), but then the Lenovo is not backlit and some of the choices of keys that they combined to save space is questionable.
I wish the denovo had a trackball, then it would be perfect.
Thanks for your review here... you touched on the one thing that I wouldn't like which is size.

Posted on Jul 16, 2011 8:40:30 PM PDT
whats the range your getting on it ? I have bought several and I would hate to wast my money again.
I need to get 15' clearly with no problems at all would you recommend this for that range ?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2011 4:57:27 AM PDT
Operating in the 2.4Ghz means this has a theoretical range of 33ft. I've had interference issues occasionally, but re-pairing the device to its USB dongle would resolve the issue immediately. The maximum distance I've used this regularly at is 10ft, and it worked quite well from that distance. I don't use it anymore though, so I cannot test out a longer distance. I've since gotten a Roku, and I also run a TVersity media server on my PC that I access from my PS3, so I don't have a need for a HTPC keyboard anymore.

Posted on Nov 26, 2011 12:10:43 AM PST
Hybridpete says:
thanks, the inability to perform single handed operations is definitely a deal-breaker for me. and I even need two hands to move the keyboard? preposterous!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012 12:50:55 PM PDT
M. Patton says:
Advertise it for sale, HERE! By the way your discription and opinions are both detailed and well written. Thanks for a great comment. I'll pass on this one because of your comment on button ergonomics and trackball issue. I need backlighting as well, and I don't see that as a feature. HTPC demands a lit k/b. Who watches movies in a well lit room? Not me. Thanks again.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2013 9:55:06 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 15, 2013 10:06:31 AM PST
Jonny says:
This isn't a remote control, it is a full-size, yet compact keyboard. It takes two hands to operate it, so it's no big deal that it takes two hands to lift it from a flat surface (although I can with no problem). I use mine in my bedroom and it's easy lifting it from the bed with one hand and it is convenient that I can type emails just like a full-size.

I have no problem with the track ball. It is a bit loose, but if you apply pressure it is very accurate. There aren't mouse clicks on the right because you need to control the track ball with the right thumb, so they are positioned on the left like they should be. When you get used to it, it is easy and fast to use. There is no back light, nor is it priced like one either or drain energy like one. I am so used to mine I don't need light to operate it. Mine does not weigh 2 pounds.

Posted on Jul 29, 2013 10:40:13 AM PDT
Skirge says:
I bought this keyboard a little over a month ago and I was absolutely loving it (except for some of the things this review already pointed out). HOWEVER, the trackball is no longer very responsive and I find myself needing to use extra pressure to get it to move. Additionally, and even worse, the scroll wheel is nearly unusable. While attempting to scroll up or down, the pages will "stutter" and start scrolling in the opposite direction you're actually moving the wheel. It's the same visual effect you'd get if you scrolled the wheel one click up and then one click down and repeated the action over and over; it's extremely frustrating. Of course, I threw out the box at this point, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to return it.

What makes this even worse is that the page up/down keys require pressing the Fn buttons, as well, so I can't even make that a workable solution. I'm extremely disappointed.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2013 4:16:09 PM PDT
D. Johnson says:
Have you tried cleaning it? I know these have a tendency to gather lint and dust which will cause them to become erratic in performance. Any trackball system needs to be cleaned regularly. I pull mine apart at least once a month since I use it 10-12 hours a day. Same for touch pads. My touch pad becomes so sensitive that merely brushing a key lightly will be like pressing it because of lint and dust building up under the pad. Same for the keys on it. Either take it apart if a trackball or purhase a cleaning compressed air can if cleaning keys on a touch pad mouse since these are not able to be taken apart.
That should bring performance close to new if done properly and regularly.
Hope these hints help you.
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