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.
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).
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.
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...
on July 21, 2011
After returning the Rii mini KB when it totally failed on the second day of ownership, I ordered this Iogear KB, attracted by the small size, the illuminated keys and its promised utility with my HTPC and the big screen TV. The price is pretty steep, but I will pay for a good product that does its job, so here it is.
Well, at least it works, so far, after two weeks of steady use. It is a convenient size, very light weight, easy to hold. Has a clever shutoff feature- just close the plastic lid. And it uses 2 AA batteries. That's all just great. But the cool neon blue glow of the keys is all show...impossible to see in the dark. I have to root around for my reading glasses, then squint really hard to see the remarkably cramped, blurry, densely multi-functional keys. Don't even hope to be able to thumb type! You'd think they could have tested this thing with actual users. The KB is twice as wide as a smartphone's, but nowhere as easy to use. My old telephones are far more legible in the dark. White or orange LEDs and larger symbol dimensions are needed here. This is poor engineering work.
Maybe young people with laser vision will find the blue nighttime bling easy to read. But if you need glasses for reading, you'll be putting them on and removing them like I do, and who wants to be doing that when reading/answering email, searching and watching videos, trolling the web etc at night on a TV? Night time use is awful. Keys require definite and rather slow pressing, as there is no click or detent and if hit offcenter, they do not register sometimes. Then you have to look at the TV and go back and hit the key again. This is total aggro...As for the trackball, it is wobbly and hard to use for fine movement, but it does work. Honestly, I use my wireless mouse to move the cursor around the TV screen.
OK, more remarks on the plus side: the KB is more legible in bright daylight, and maybe you can skip the eyeglasses. The scroll wheel, L-R mouse buttons and page-forward and -backward keys are very nice. Standard KB layout is great, though there seems to be no apostrophe key. The general concept is quite good, but sadly the lousy illumination failings spoil the device's appeal. If you don't expect to do much typing, then it is a good navigational device to link a computer with the TV. The tiny USB gizmo works just fine right away, and operates at 20 feet distance. No connectivity problems, so far.
Maybe a really devoted typist can just train their thumbs to memorize the locations of the keys and the various multiple functions, and avoid the backlight entirely. It's too much for me.
Why can't someone build a decent, smallish, lighted KB for HTPC use? I have one more week before the return period is up. Looks like the only option now is the expensive Logitech dinovo mini. If that is also lame, I will give up.
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).
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.
on December 11, 2011
I first purchased a Rii remote and the built in battery charging system failed after 4 months of use, what a waste of money. I did more research and came across the IOGEAR GKM571R. For one it uses replaceable batteries (Oh Yeah), two it has all the right features and buttons in all the right places for easy surfing.
NICE JOB IOGEAR!
on March 2, 2012
Whaddaya know!? I retried my second replacement refurb and THIS TIME IT WORKED! Not like my first, new one, that had a trackball that could not go "up," not like my first refurb, which clicked on items the cursor was not over (and also did not go up). This one works! So, I must give credit where credit is due. I am now happy with my Iogear keyboard. I would limit it to three stars given it has taken two refurbs to get what originally was paid for, but since I slammed them pretty hard after receiving a yukky non-working refurb of my new device, I am bumping them up to four stars. Pretty good device when it works. Let's hope I just had particularly bad luck with my first two, which probably predisposed me to find the third a failure. Anyway, go ahead and spend your fifty or sixty bucks. You will likely have better luck than I did, and when it works, it gets the job done.
Well, I guess this will be my last update. I can't be bothered to keep spending my time and shipping dollars ($24 to date, would be $36 if I were to return the latest lemon) to receive additional defective "refurbs" ("refurbs" that come suspiciously smudgey in somewhat tired packaging). My sad adventure with Iogear is below. Note their insistence that the "refurbs" have been "thoroughly tested."
I know it was a different keyboard. It failed completely to work, unlike the last keyboard, which actually moved the cursor (though the cursor moved in ways other than as directed). I don't see the sense in going for another "refurb," as that would bring my outlay for "refurbs" to over $36. Given that a new keyboard (were I to purchase another Iogear product) would cost me about $50, this now seems pointless. I have had my time wasted for months now with failing and non-functioning devices. The suggestion that I should now spend more of my time and money to replace a third failed keyboard is at best insensitive, and at worst, cynical. Sorry, but at this point I simply cannot believe that anything approaching adequate testing is being performed on these so-called "refurbs." I note you did not address my comment about the "low battery light." Is this meant to suggest that properly working keyboards with multiple sets of fresh, tested (yes, I have a battery tester) batteries are supposed to indicate "low battery?" I trust you can understand my incredulity. Finally, you also have the last refurb you sent me back in your possession. Fire it up. Give it a whirl. Then report to me on how "fully tested" it was.
On 05/21/12, Iogear wrote:
We sent a completely different keyboard. It was tested here before it was shipped back to you. Have you tried a different PC? I can process another RMA for you.
Update 4: Got the second replacement in the mail a week or so ago and got around to testing it today. It is completely non-functional, unless the brief lighting of the blue backlight is a "function" or the red "low battery" indicator. Here is the text of the email I sent to Iogear this morning: "Larry,I just tested the replacement and it is completely non-functional. I reset the device as instructed and the low battery light came on for about 4 seconds. I tested the batteries, they were good. Tried again, same result. Installed fresh batteries, same result. No pairing, no anything except the blue backlight and the red battery low light. This is my third defective device. I feel cheated." This is after I was assured the device would be tested before it was sent to me given the first replacement was defective. I have to conclude that Iogear simply is indifferent to honoring their warranty obligations. I have now spent $60 for the device and $24 for two returns, and still do not have a functioning device. I guess they just keep sending broken "refubs" until the postage makes one give up. I am disgusted.
Update 3: Got the replacement in the mail a few days ago. Opened the box and found a fingerprint covered replacement. I was ok with that if it worked. It did not. Not only did it have the same problem my "new" device did, it had an additional problem! Here is the email I sent to IOGear explaining the problem:
I received the replacement keyboard last weekend and got around to testing it today. It does not work. When the curser is placed over a box and enter is pressed, it clicks on a different box, with unexpected results. For example, when trying to click on task manager after ctl alt del, it will lock the computer. I have rebooted. Same result. I tested the computer with another device and had no problem. I am sorry to say that I suspect I have been sent someone else's defective keyboard rather than a working one. It had a number of fingerprints on it, so it did not appear to receive the most thoughtful care. I would not mind this had it worked. Can you help?
I also mentioned in a follow-up email that the device developed the same problem as the original after about 5 minutes of use.
So I still do not have a working IOGear product and now I feel like I have been jerked around. If they make things right I will be happy to amend my rating appropriately. I do not enjoy giving poor ratings to products. Nonetheless, in addition to the $60+ original price I have now spent $24.50 for two return postages. On top of this, I received an email saying they were "sure" the product had been tested before being sent to me. The testing protocols are unimpressive, to say the least. So now I am out over $85 and have nothing to show for it.
Update 2: Per IOGear's instruction, I emailed a copy of my review and their response at 10:12 a.m. on Mar. 10, 2012. I will update again regarding their follow-up.
Update: raised to two stars because IoGear read and responded to this review. I will contact them and follow up regarding service.
I had been using the Lenovo product, but thought a mini keyboard with a backlight would be worth the investment. Received this item as a present and was delighted by its appearance and functionality except for the lack of four independent cursor keys and the trackball being somewhat erratic. Sometimes it would go "up," sometimes not. the other directions worked well. I thought perhaps it simply needed "breaking in." Over the year I did not get much of a chance to use the device. When not in use it was kept in its original packaging tucked safely in a drawer. No one used it but me. Unfortunately, the trackball performance continued to degrade each time I used it. As of tonight, it no longer goes "up" without seemingly endless fiddling and rolling in various other directions in an attempt to get the device to respond. Of course I checked the batteries. Although they showed a full charge, I replaced the alkalines with rechargeables as another reviewer suggested. Unfortunately, but predictably, it made no difference. So, a fifty dollar device is a useless piece of junk. At least it taught me a lesson: if a device does not function perfectly out of the box, don't give it a chance to resolve its issues. Just send it back.
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.
on June 11, 2012
so i bought this $60 piece of junk (you should really get rid of this item for sale amazon), a month later the trackball does not work porperly at all. i was really excited about this product as it worked well when i first got it (at least it served its purpose).
it is really cheap and flimsy, i didnt expect it to last forever, but one month?
it is apparent that this was cheaply made. pressing buttons needs to be done rather hard to register (not horrible tho), backlighting leaks through and just looks sloppy, right/left click was good, scroll good. then theres the trackball.....sigh. the source of a lot of frustration.
i used this remote for my laptop i have hooked up to my tv as my HTPC. the trackball started going, and now its to the point to where i can move that ball 50 times and it may move half an inch on my tv.
1) no trackballs for me ever again
2) no "iogear" for me ever again
3) if you have a decent smartphone you can buy a decent remote app (some are free, thanks hipporemote) for your HTPC for like maybe $5 insted of a $60 brick