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Lenovo’s Charming Little Multimedia Controller Impresses At CES

Lenovo always brings a great many new products to CES. Some are polished and ready to ship, others aren’t, but among the throngs of laptops and such, there are often a couple of intriguing bits of new tech that fly under the radar. Such was the case this year with the Lenovo Multimedia Controller.

Essentially, it’s a tiny wireless keyboard with a pair of mouse buttons on the bottom. Lenovo said it developed the peripheral as an ideal companion to the PCs on sticks that have gotten some traction in recent years, like the Intel Compute Stick (which got a refresh this year) and Lenovo’s own Ideacentre Stick 300.

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You’ll note the absence of a touchpad for moving the cursor around, but that’s actually the controller’s best feature: The whole thing is a touch pad, and it’s rather responsive, as you can see in the video. It supports Windows gestures, such as two-finger scroll and a three-finger move to bring up multiple windows. And although the physical mouse buttons are there for you, you can also just tap anywhere on the controller to click.

You can even adjust the DPI, just like you can on a regular mouse. Lenovo reps on hand could not comment definitively on what the available DPI range actually is, but in our hands on time, we found 3-4 levels of sensitivity.

Frankly, it’s a charming little device that performed admirably in our demo. The touch input could be a bit more responsive--although that may just be the lag on the wireless connection--but in any case, the device works reasonably well. The size is ideal--it’s about as big as a horizontally-oriented smartphone, and although it’s really designed for two-handed use, you can perform a certain amount of input with one hand or the other.

The Lenovo Multimedia Controller is an easy way to enter passwords and URLs, simple navigation for the web, and a light productivity input tool. We imagine it’s ideal for presentations, too.

It relies on a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection to stay connected to the PC, and it has a 10 meter range. The battery promises to last for eight months.

You can unlock a number of additional buttons by pressing the Fn key, which is located on the lower left side of the controller. That lets the F keys do double duty. They give you multimedia controls, volume settings, search, a settings button, DPI adjustment, and more. Lenovo even squeezed in Home/End/Pg Up/Pg Dn, Insert, Delete, PrtSc, two Alt keys, and two Ctrl keys.

The Lenovo Multimedia Controller is designed for Windows, but it should work for other operating systems, as well--but probably not Android, at least not in this iteration, because it lacks the three Android buttons.

The device will be available in April for $55.

Lenovo Multimedia Controller
TypeWireless keyboard/mouse input on a handheld device
Input-Physical keyboard buttons (tenkeyless)-Two physical mouse buttons-Touchpad (entire) device with click
Connection2.4GHz Wi-Fi
Range10m
Battery8 months
Misc.-Adjustable DPI (3-4 leverls)-Multimedia, Volume, DPI adjustment, etc. with Fn key-Supports Windows gestures
OS SupportDesigned for Windows, but may support other OSes
AvailabilityApril 2017
Price$55
  • hurnii
    Any idea which flavor(s) of WiFi are supported? (802.11g, n, ac ?)

    And, are you sure it's really WiFi? The "10meter range" sounds more like Bluetooth.
    Reply
  • problematiq
    19167517 said:
    Any idea which flavor(s) of WiFi are supported? (802.11g, n, ac ?)

    And, are you sure it's really WiFi? The "10meter range" sounds more like Bluetooth.

    it's probably using a pre-paired USB wi-fi dongle.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    You can unlock a number of additional buttons by pressing the Fn key, which is located on the lower right side of the controller.
    Would that be your right, or my right? Judging by the images, I would usually refer to that right as "left". : D
    Reply
  • scolaner
    19167517 said:
    Any idea which flavor(s) of WiFi are supported? (802.11g, n, ac ?)

    And, are you sure it's really WiFi? The "10meter range" sounds more like Bluetooth.

    They were mum on any further details/specs, I'm afraid. But both Wi-Fi and BT have a much larger range than 10m. I'm sure that measurement is the furthest you can get while ensuring consistent performance. Also, 10m is pretty long range for what you'd use this for! :)
    Reply
  • scolaner
    19167695 said:
    You can unlock a number of additional buttons by pressing the Fn key, which is located on the lower right side of the controller.
    Would that be your right, or my right? Judging by the images, I would usually refer to that right as "left". : D

    Uhh, I was looking in a mirror? Would you accept that as an excuse? ;) Fixed now, thanks--
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    $55 is slightly steep, considering Logitech's alternative is a full keyboard with a trackpad for about half that. Hopefully that MSRP translates to a more reasonabble $30 in stores. And I'm very eager to see what typing does to the cursor placement. I'm not interesting if typing bounces my cursor all over the screen.
    Reply
  • ET3D
    According to Lenovo it's called "Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller".

    Anyway, I like the idea and will be looking forward to its release.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    19167925 said:
    $55 is slightly steep, considering Logitech's alternative is a full keyboard with a trackpad for about half that. Hopefully that MSRP translates to a more reasonabble $30 in stores. And I'm very eager to see what typing does to the cursor placement. I'm not interesting if typing bounces my cursor all over the screen.

    Just as the MSRP of that particular wireless keyboard with touchpad from Logitech is actually $40, this device will probably drop in price before long as well. And that's not Logitech's only keyboard in that category, as they have a backlit rechargeable model with a $100 MSRP as well.

    And neither of those actually really fit into the same category as this device, as they are nearly full-size keyboards with a touchpad to the side, over 14 inches across and weighing about a pound. Certainly, that will be better for extended typing, but for not really ideal for media center use. Most people probably won't want a full-size keyboard sitting on the arm of their couch, and picking something like that up just to click on something with the touchpad would be a bit cumbersome. A keyboard like this, being more comparable in size to a remote control, is probably a better fit for such a scenario.

    There are, however, a number of low-priced off-brand wireless keyboards of this size available online. They tend to only have a tiny touchpad though, and this keyboard's biggest advantage over them is probably the huge touchpad covering the entire keyboard, assuming it actually works well.
    Reply
  • Looks great.
    Reply
  • JakeWearingKhakis
    Would be very useful for Raspberry Pi Projects as well.
    Reply