Mini keyboard for your HTPC

Now that I’ve gotten into watching Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen on, I needed a way to log into my HTPC (Home Theater PC).  Keeping a USB keyboard hanging around the living room was a no-no in my wife’s book, as we were slowly de-cluttering the room, and that was definitely contributing to the clutter.  My original idea was to get a regular wireless keyboard and keep it on the end table.  So I began to do a little research and ended up stumbling upon the Logitech diNovo Mini™ keyboard.  I found that it had pretty good reviews, and liked the cover which would keep the dust from accumulating in all the keys (as well as dog hair, of which we have plenty of no matter how much we vacuum).  I figured it would be about about half-size of a regular keyboard, and while it was expensive, I was willing to give it a shot since it came with it’s own rechargeable battery and claimed a long life (and had the lid!).

When I received the box, I was pretty surprised by the size of it.  Once I opened the box, stunned would probably be more adequate.  This thing was tiny!  Overall, it’s about the size of my hand, closed fingers.  The specifications claim it is 5.98-inch by 3.5-inch by 1.08-inch (lid closed).  It fits comfortably in my hand, and is easy to use.  The keyboard uses a bluetooth connection to communicate; it comes with a USB dongle which can be stored in the battery compartment when not needed.

mini keyboard

mini keyboard

In the upper right corner is a touch-pad that allows you to navigate the screen like a mouse.  On the upper left side is an OK button which simulates a left-click of the mouse button.  Between those two items, in row across the top is a bunch of special buttons like play, stop, fast forward, reverse, mute.  Many of the keyboard keys have dual functions as well.  When you are using it, a back light turns on so you can see the keys as you type (very handy in a darkened room).

So far, I’ve not found anything to dislike (surprise, surprise).  I keep it with all the other remotes, and it blends in pretty well.  I can wake the HTPC from its sleep state, log in and start a show without the struggle I used to have of plugging in the USB keyboard, finding the wireless mouse and turning it on/connecting, logging in, unplugging the USB keyboard, and then using the mouse to navigate and click to play.  With this keyboard it is all in one package and sits unobtrusively on the end table while I watch the chosen program.

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