The integration of smart functions in many TVs have eliminated the need for HTPC setups like many of us had in the past. That doesn’t mean people have given up on using PCs in their living rooms. If you happen to be one of them, then you probably need a better way to interact with that machine than a wireless mouse-and-keyboard pairing that’s designed for desktop use. Something like the Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller.
A mini-keyboard and touchpad the size of a large smartphone, the device gives you an easy way to control any PC while plopped down on the couch. No need for a table to set down a keyboard or move a mouse around – just hold this thing in your hands and use the controls like a two-handed remote.
The Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller is a small keyboard that measures 5.7 x 3.4 x 0.7 inches (width x height x depth), making it very convenient to hold in hand unlike traditional PC peripherals. You can type any way you want on the keypad, although we imagine most people will use it just like a smartphone in landscape orientation – that is, you’ll be typing with your thumbs while the rest of your fingers secure the keyboard. We also imagine this will be easier to type with than a smartphone, since those physical keys can provide tactile feedback that should make them easier to remember.
It comes with a compact keyboard layout, so everything but the number pad on the right is in tow, allowing you to type anything you need onscreen, whether it’s the address of a website, a password with weird characters, or an email to tell the boss you’re not coming to work tomorrow. A total of 80 physical keys are onboard, complete with six media functions, so this is as useful as it gets for a living room keyboard.
The Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller isn’t just a keyboard, of course. Instead, the entire surface of the keypad also pulls double duty as a touchpad. That’s right, you can use the entire keypad as one large navigation surface, complete with support for up to three finger gestures that you can program individually. The bottom part of the keyboard even serves as left and right mouse buttons (that’s why there’s a cut in the middle) for those who don’t enjoy tapping on the touchpad to signal a button action.
It works up to 65 feet away, so you can set up the computer a good distance from the TV, in case the aesthetics of a desktop doesn’t quite match the sleekness of your media cabinet. A pair of AAA batteries is all you need to keep it powered, a fresh pair of which can last up to eight months before requiring a replacement. Do note, it’s only listed as being compatible Windows (7 onwards), so those using a Mac or a Linux machine as an HTPC will likely need to find something else.
The Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller is available now.