If you give presentations with powerpoint or openoffice slides at any regularity, it is well worth investing in a presentation remote so you don’t need to keep coming back to your computer to flip slides. It lets you walk around more normally, not having to worry about getting back to the podium/desk/table for the transition. That level of free wandering on behalf of the speaker makes the entire presentation feel much smoother.
Previously I had a targus remote that I got online. It, like all other presentation remotes I’ve seen, has a usb dongle which advertises itself as a usb keyboard. The remote triggers page up/page down, and maybe some mouse functions. This means it works on any computer, any modern operating system, with no additional software. While the targus was sufficient, it had been slowly dying over the last couple of years. It failed for me at Ohio Linux Fest, and when, even after new batteries, it failed before my Git talk, I figured enough was enough. I scoured amazon reviews, and decided to give the Logitech R400 a shot. It arrived last night.
Holy crap, this thing is amazing. First, and most importantly, the thing fits perfectly in your hand. It has that same kind of ergonomics of the Tivo remote, where your hand is perfectly relaxed holding it. It’s weight is enough to know it’s there and solid, and whatever surface material they used for it just feels touchable. The buttons are in the perfect places so that I realize pretty quickly that 5 minutes into my next presentation I won’t even know I’m using it any more. Whoever did the ergonomic design on the R400… bravo!
The remote is pretty simple, which is good. Page up / Page down, F5 (which is play presentation in open office and power point), and a screen blank function which works inside of a fullscreen open office presentation, though I have no idea what key it actually is. There is also an integrated red laser pointer, of pretty reasonable power. The other notable facts of the remote are the usb dongle fits inside the remote itself, so there are not 2 pieces to get seperated and lost, and there is an off switch. As this thing is going to live bouncing around in my backpack, so I always have it with me, having an off switch to ensure that accidental bounces don’t hit keys and drain battery is good. It also has a nice neoprene case, which makes that less of a worry.
I’m really happy about this presentation remote, and can’t wait for my next group presentation to give it a proper work out.
P.S. For another $40 you can “upgrade” to the R800 which has a green laser and a countdown time. That’s more than I need, but people love the green laser pointers.