Ambient Gadgets
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Quck Review - Keyspan Presentation Remote

A few months ago I decided to buy a remote control that I could use while giving presentations, to drive Keynote or PowerPoint. I diligently searched the web for product reviews, but couldn't find many that were useful. Eventually, based on faith and past experience, I decided to just take the plunge and buy the Keyspan Presentation Remote.


Having since used it for several presentations, here's what I've discovered:

  • The battery lasts a long time, which is good. But there's no battery-strength indicator so you'll be caught by surprise when it dies, which is bad. It uses uncommon batteries so you'll want to have a spare handy -- it's unlikely you'll be unable to scrounge on up when you need one at the last minute.
  • It's true you don't need software drivers for basic functionality. This is great for using it with whatever computer happens to be handy at the venue. But you do need drivers to use the fancy-dancy media controls it offers. Unless you're on a Mac, then you're just out-of-luck because the fancy-dancy stuff is for Windows only. That sucks, but I don't care too much, the last thing I want to do is muck around with drivers on any computer.
  • The shape and weight of the control is very good. It's easy to grip, pick up, and find the controls by touch alone.
  • The big intuitive controls are not the ones you use to run the slideshow. Instead, you use the thumb control on the side. This is odd, but OK once you understand. Don't mash the buttons, otherwise you'll whiz past several slides. A gentle, momentary touch is all that is needed. You'll get the hang of it quickly.
  • The included carrying case is very thoughtful, but lamely executed. It's too big, has a cheesy velcro closure, and does not include a spot for a spare battery. Sheesh, did they put any thought into it at all?
  • Don't buy this if you really want a laser pointer. The built-in one is way too complicated to activate, requiring several button presses, a security passcode, and a click-thru reminder about wearing safety goggles when using laser devices. OK, I'm exaggerating, but not by very much.

So, overall, if the price seems reasonable to you, this remote isn't a bad buy. An acceptable, but not compelling product. If there's another brand that seems equally attractive, don't feel like you're passing up something special by not getting this one.


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