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.
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|
|Type||Wireless keyboard/mouse input on a handheld device|
|Input||-Physical keyboard buttons (tenkeyless)-Two physical mouse buttons-Touchpad (entire) device with click|
|Misc.||-Adjustable DPI (3-4 leverls)-Multimedia, Volume, DPI adjustment, etc. with Fn key-Supports Windows gestures|
|OS Support||Designed for Windows, but may support other OSes|