Customer Reviews: IOGEAR 2.4G Hz Multimedia Mini Keyboard with Trackball, Scroll Wheel and Backlight LED, GKM571R (Black)
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on April 12, 2011
I really like this keyboard for HTPC use. I also have the Lenovo N5901 multimedia remote/keyboard, and while the IOGear GKM571 is quite a bit more expensive, it's also much better.

Things that I like:
* It's backlit. This is the single biggest flaw in the Lenovo N5901.
* It has a scroll wheel. Scrolling without one is a chore because it's not easy to accurately grab and move a scrollbar thumb with a mini-trackball, and it's not easy to press arrow keys on a small keyboard by touch alone.
* It uses standard batteries. Li-ion batteries have a higher charge density, but like all batteries, they eventually wear out, and replacing them is usually a pain. I much prefer replaceable, standard batteries (especially low-self-discharge NiMH ones).
* It's the right size. It's larger than the Lenovo N5901, but it's still compact. The larger size allows it to have more spacing between the keys, so it's easier to type without accidentally pressing adjacent keys.
* It has a full set of keys, including F1-F12.
* Its power switch is intuitive. It turns on when you open the lid and off when you close it.
* It's easy to set up (at least on Windows). It was instantly recognized when I plugged it in, and no configuration was necessary.

Things that I don't like:
* It occasionally drops out. This might be because I plugged the RF dongle into a rear USB port, but I didn't encounter any such issues with the Lenovo one.
* The keys are mushy. Unlike with the Lenovo one, there is no distinctive click when the key registers.
* There are no dedicated arrow keys or escape key. They require using the Fn modifier key.
* I'm not sure how I'll clean the trackball if it gets gummed up.
* The scroll wheel can't be pressed, so there's no native middle-click.
* I wish it used Bluetooth instead of requiring its own RF dongle. Oh well. The RF dongle is unobtrusive, at least, and RF contributes to the ease of setup.
* I've occasionally had a little bit of trouble reading some of the keys when lit. Maybe it'd be better if IOGear used a green or red backlight instead of blue; humans have poor visual acuity for blue.

Things that I'm (mostly) neutral about:
* The Lenovo N5901 trackball can be used with one hand (although dragging requires two hands and then becomes awkward) whereas the IOGear one is designed for two-handed use. I prefer the two-handed design though; if I'm going to type anything, I need two hands anyway.
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on October 11, 2011
I've been using the diNovo Mini on my living room HTPC for several years now and was not happy with it. My wife absolutely hated it and refused to use it. So, I've been researching its replacement for quite a while. Unfortunately, it seems there are only a few wireless keyboards out there that are truly suited to HTPC use, none of them perfect. The ioGear GKM571R comes close, though.

The trackball is so much better than the diNovo's touchpad that they're not even in the same league! The scroll wheel makes navigating "tall" web pages a breeze and having a dedicated right-click mouse button is great. The only faults I can find were previously addressed in earlier reviews.

In a nutshell, then...

Things I like:
Easy navigation with smooth trackball.
Left- and right-click mouse buttons on upper left of keyboard.
Scroll wheel extremely handy.
Big-keyboard auxiliary keys (Ctrl, Alt, Tab, Esc, Caps Lock, Ins, Delete, F1-F12).
Form factor.
Price is less than half of diNovo Mini.
Robust dust cover hinge. I was always afraid the diNovo's cover would break off.

Things that could use improvement:
Flip-open dust cover would be better if outside surface was matte, not fingerprint-grabbing glossy.
Key presses are mushy, lack positive feel.
Blue backlighting is horrible. White would be much more legible in the dark.
2.4 gHz is ok but a bluetooth model would be nice.
Bayonet-style removable ring around trackball would aid in cleaning ball and rollers. This was standard on pre-optical era mice.
Larger ball with textured or rubberized surface.

I've only had my keyboard for a few weeks but, so far, I'm very pleased with it. I just wish I'd ditched the diNovo sooner.
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on April 23, 2012
After reading numerous reveiws here and elsewhere on the web praising this keyboard of HTPC use... I decided to give it a go. Here are my opinions on what's good and bad about it:

1) Has all F1-F12 keys unlike most of the compact keyboards I've seen (*see 2nd Con before you get too excited).

2) Has backlighting (*see 3rd Con before you get too excited).

3) Has the Ctrl key in the right spot.... I know this is something minor but I find it extremely annoying when keyboard makers don't position the Ctrl key as the lowest-leftmost key on the board... some will put a function key there and actually move the Ctrl key... and force me to shop elsewhere.

4) Not too big; easy to set around as you would a remote.

5) Slick looking, fold-down top that covers the keys when not in use. Not really anything major, still a nice aesthetic touch IMO.

6) While it worked fine on Windows 7, it also worked just as well under Ubuntu 10 and Linux Mint 12. Normally, I would expect a k/b to work the same under all three anyway but still, credit where it's due.

1) The god-awful, forsaken trackball... sometimes it wasn't too terrible, more or less the same as a mouse. Other times, it would get caught in a bad spot and would stick repeatedly and navigating around on the screen would become an utterly complete pain in the a**! I will NEVER buy another keyboard with a track-BALL based on my experiences with this one...

2) While small, it would have been better to make it slightly larger... Many of the keys I frequently use need to accessed with the function key. This isn't a big deal for F1-F12, but it gets very annoying when you have to Shift+Function+End to select a range, Function+(Left/Right/Up/Down) Arrow to move around, or even Function+Esc to use the Escape key. This keyboard is only 5.5 x 6.5 and it still has room for another row of keys on the bottom... Even if they made if 6.0 x 7.0, it would still be much more compact than most keyboards and they could have made things much easier to use *without* resorting to the function key for every other operation.

3) The backlighting, while nice is still fairly dim... I didn't notice a whole lot of difference when trying to adjust the brightness. To be fair, I might be biased... I have a backlit gaming keyboard (Logitech G15) that IMO seems to have brighter LEDs which give better contrast on the lettering for individual keys. This wasn't a deciding factor for me either way, but it was just slightly more difficult to make out the keys in a dark room (as compared with the G15).

4) Spotty signal. There were times when it would frequently miss keystrokes while typing from my couch, with the HTPC mounted high (~5 ft off the ground), k/b receiver in the front USB with an unobstructed viwq, and HTPC being ~10-15ft. from the couch depending on where you were sitting.

I will probably keep this one around as a backup, but I decided to go for a larger model with a track-PAD instead of a track-BALL (Logitech K400). The first two Cons are what I couldn't stand, and while I will miss having backlighting (even if it was dim) and a smaller k/b, I won't miss the trackball or the cramped key layout...
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on April 5, 2013
You can get pretty much the same thing from a regular wireless keyboard, and more function too. The concept and functionality are exactly the same, and the USB receiver is identical to Logitech wireless keyboards.

But this is backlit, very compact, and fairly functional. Read the other reviews about its quirks, like the Fn-Escape key-combination that requires two hands. I've only deducted one star because everything else is making up for it.

The backlight is great for me, in spite of other negative reviews. I really like the size - this will almost fit in a back pocket (not quite), and the scroll, right/left clicks and thumb-trackball are well placed. They keyboard is at least good enough to write a product review, so the "mushiness" reported by others does not bother me (I'm a heavy keyboard user at work, so mushy keys would really bug me if I had to use them a lot). I haven't gotten deep in to the specifics, but we were able to surf the Disney site immediately without issues.

It doesn't lose a star for this, but I think somebody brought up the inability to remove the trackball for cleaning. This immediately worried me when my 4.5 year old climbed up in my lap with a wet, sticky hand to see daddy's new toy. Ugh... this won't last if I leave it out unless I can clean that trackball somehow... I hope there is a way but it worries me.

If you have never connected your laptop or PC to a TV then you may be a little frustrated - I didn't see anything that really helped the newby bridge the gap. It's not too difficult, however, and fairly intuitive once you've run through it once. As long as your PC/laptop have an internet connection, the only hardware you'll need is a cable between your PC and the TV (HDMI preferred, but VGA plus audio if desired works too). On mine, I need to select the HDMI2 (HDMI1 is my blu ray) input using the TV, and that's all it takes the SECOND time. However, the FIRST time, you may (or may not) need to change the screen resolution on your PC. This may require a learning curve because there are a number of options - extending/duplicating your PC/TV screens, and adjusting the resolution for the TV so you see the whole screen-image. THEN, consider changing your mouse settings (especially the scroll, which by default usually jumps pretty far down a web page with only a little movement.

This will all take you about 5 minutes if you are fairly clever, or you may need to call a geek if not, but it's going to work and after the initial setup you'll be surfing or even working on the TV in no time. Your PC should remember the options, so you won't have any trouble from then on - turn on the TV and PC, select HDMI2 on the TV, and start using your computer just like you would at a desk but with this compact, backlit keyboard. Good luck, I recommend this product (until the next version).
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on September 17, 2011
I was a little apprehensive about getting this since a few people had connectivity problems and I was already experiencing similar issues with a wireless mouse on my HTPC. However, I'm using this on my bedroom HTPC at 15' and no connectivity issues whatsoever. I actually looked at this and several of the other IOGear all in one keyboards at CES2011 so I've had my eye on them for awhile but I hadn't been using my HTPC enough to justify the cost until recently.

>Works as expected, everything seems to work correctly
>It's nice that you get to adjust the sensitivity of the trackball (3 dpi settings)
>Small, light, and with the cover you can toss it in a bedside drawer without fear the buttons will get pushed and prematurely wear the batteries

>The trackball is a little too light and therefore it can be touchy due to unwanted shifting. It isn't horrible but it's noticeable.
>As many have mentioned, the blue back-lighting looks pretty but not as functional as I'd like. I have a Blackberry Pearl with the same blue backlight and just as hard to read the keys
>It's a little on the pricey side but I guess if I was to buy a KB and mouse separately, it would cost about the same.

>Battery life - not sure how long battery life is.
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on December 5, 2013
I use this with the laptop while leaning back in the couch with the LT on a TV tray or I wire the LT to my TV. I sit about 17' away from the dongle with no lag or disconnect. The back light is good for night but the buttons feel a little mashie. I often miss type things on it as they are raised buttons. I think it could be better if they were flush though. The track ball works well and is one of the key reasons I went with this style. I did not want to use a typical LT type pad to move the mouse.

Some are talking about disconnect. I have yet to experience it but a majority of the time I am pretty close to the Lap Top. But as I said I do use it at a distance occasionally and still have not dropped out.

All & all a solid device. I gave it 4 stars for the typing experience. This may not be a problem with someone that has nimble fingers though.

Someone asked about plugging the dongle straight into the TV USB port. I tried this and I did not get any response from the TV or keyboard. I did not try to troubleshoot as I was not interested in using it for that purpose. I tried this on a 60" Sharp Aquos LED 3D smart TV.
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on December 28, 2013
This works great and spares me from using the slow on board screen on my smart TV. I don't plan to use my smart TV for real computer work; I have plenty of other devices for that. This is just to help me to use the Apps for movies, browsing the internet, and just relaxing kind of stuff. Smaller than I expected and bigger than a smart phone keyboard. Like the auto-on that makes it work as soon as I open the cover. Very very handy device. Easiest device I have ever installed as it was operational in less than 5 minutes.If all you want to do is relax without the hassle of the on screen keyboard, this is a great option.
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on March 29, 2013
I overall like this device and would probably purchase again, save for the following:

The track ball is a little spotty. Sometimes it will not read or something. It may be better if it was a little larger or if the sensor was better. Don't expect precision response like a real mouse.

Not having a dedicated arrow keypad (up, down, left, right) is annoying. Instead, it is a secondary menu using the function key. I know they had limited space due size/layout, but sometimes that pad comes in handy.

Decent for a media PC, don't expect much heavy lifting from it though,
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on January 11, 2015
This is a very nice mini. This is the third mini keyboard I've owned, and is far and away the best one so far. It's very small, lightweight and easy to handle. The keyboard functions exceptionally well for a product of this nature. The range exceeds the advertised 30+ feet. The keys have a good feel and the layout is intuitive and easy to use and master. the trackball is great at 800 DPI or higher (the 400 DPI setting is worthless), but that is the only downside I've found to this great little device. The scroll wheel functions as it should, the back-lighting is helpful in low light, and only activates as needed, preserving battery longevity. A very well thought-out piece of equipment.
As I've only had this in service for a short period of time, I'll ad to this review as necessary as time goes by, but for now, it's highly recommended.
Easily five stars if not for the poor performance of the trackball at low dpi.
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on August 6, 2014
(April'14): Me and the wife find this to be a great device for our projector's laptop/HTPC; the illumination, track-ball/mouse-click/scrollwheel, and full keyboard are great.

2 Cons though: it feels like it's a few drops away from falling apart, the plastic just seems too thin; and it is a little bigger-than-practical for normal use. What I mean is that typing isn't like typing on an old phone (i.e.: before swype), you actually have to hold it with one hand and reach with the other thumb; forget using it like a normal keyboard because it is much too small to sit down and pluck on... it's in a weird "grey-zone" of keyboard size between cellphone-like thumb-plucking and rest-on-lap to type.

Either way, I still recommend it; the trackball and mouse-click on opposite sides is what we need it for 90% of the time.

AN UPDATE (May'15): we still use this regularly (See: the trackball/mouse-click is still spot-on, mechanical scrollwheel and backlit FTW), but the cheap feel, deep key-presses, and slightly-too-big-to-thumb-type design have left me wanting to find a better item. It has served us well for the past year, but I think we're going to try out a Lenovo N5902.
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