Date: September 5, 2005
Author(s): Rob Williams
If you have a media PC, you know that things could be made easier, had you have the right equipment. Or, do you have a regular PC but want a cool way to be able to control music while not at your desk? The S 510 Media Keyboard is a set that’s complete with a remote control. Let’s jump right into the review to see how great this set is.
Logitech is a name I have personally come to trust over recent years. I have used many products by them, and have never had anything terrible to say about any of them. It’s evident that they make sure that their products meet high standards, because they do not want to tarnish their well established name.
Over the course of our being online, we have taken a look at Logitech Mice, Keyboards and even a joystick. Today, we are taking a look at something slightly different though, something that’s really beneficial to HTPC users.
I personally have never been into the HTPC scene. I don’t even watch many movies… and I’m not even into the ‘picture slideshow’ thing. After using this set though, I began thinking a little differently, and realized the potential and how much fun there could be in an HTPC. Now if I only had room for such a PC! Before we jump in, here is a quick blurb about Logitech and the S 510.
Logitech designs, manufactures and markets personal peripherals that enable people to effectively work, play, and communicate in the digital world. The company’s products combine essential core technologies, continuing innovation, award-winning industrial design and excellent price performance.
The Logitech Cordless Desktop S 510 Media Remote gives people powerful media control for music and streaming audio, PC navigation and photo viewing. Using LogitechÂ´s advanced 27 MHz wireless technology, the remote has a range of 16 feet. The remote is compatible with todayÂ´s most popular media player applications, including iTunes, Musicmatch, Windows Media Player, and WinAmp. It also comes with Logitech MediaLifeâ„¢ software, a powerful, full-screen interface that brings together all of the music, pictures and video on the PC.
This entire set emits quality and class, and would make any HTPC setup look top rate. First, let’s take a look at the keyboard. It has a very sleek design, and is quite flat. It uses a standard keyboard layout, but has media related keys to the left and right of the normal keys. The board features all the extra keys you would expect, such as Play/Forward/Rewind and even Zoom keys for your pictures. If you are using your PC to play music, it even has a shuffle button.
At first look, I didn’t think that the keyboard looked very comfortable. My opinion quickly changed after a few days of use though. Instead of the board having a separate arm rest, the design implements it right in. To put it simple, this keyboard is extremely comfortable, and would be perfect to use on a day to day basis.
It’s a good keyboard for gaming with also, but I preferred my MX3000 more so. The only problem I have had with the board, is that the protective plastic that you have to tear off.. was not easy to tear off. It would come off in pieces, so it took a few minutes to get it all. Not a huge complaint, but I would have liked it to be easier.
The mouse included, is a rather simple design. Each side is contoured the same, which makes it feel great for both right-handed and left-handed users. It fits in the hand nice, and makes navigation through your PC a breeze. Once again, this is not designed for gamers in any way. Although it’s usable, you will definitely want to stick with your MX-Series or Razer mouse.
One neat feature that the mouse has though, is the way you insert the batteries. Flick a switch on the mouse belly, and it will pop off the front plastic. Once the batteries are in place, you simply put the plastic piece back on. Because of where the batteries are, it makes the back of the mouse much heavier than the front. This didn’t seem to bother me like I thought it would, and felt natural.
One downside of the mouse, is the lack of buttons. There are no side thumb buttons, although you can click the wheel for various functions. It’s a simple design, because it’s meant for a specific audience. If you plan to use this as an office set though, you will likely want an ever-so-slightly larger and more comfortable mouse.
One of the biggest reasons most people will want to check out this set, is because of the included Remote Control. Since Logitech already manufacturers the successful Harmony remotes, they know what they are doing. They did a fantastic job on this remote, and it’s a perfect fit for your HTPC.
The remotes sleek design allows for a comfortable fit in your hand, making navigation through the various menus within the MediaLife software a breeze. Even though I don’t use an HTPC, it was easy to see how well designed this remote was. It contains 21 buttons, but some perform more than one action.
While in Windows, you can simply click the Media button to launch the MediaLife software. You can use the scroll wheel on the remote to navigate throughout the menus, and it can even be pushed to the left and right for even easier navigation. Below the wheel is an ‘Ok’ button, and the ‘Back’ button is located above it.
The lower buttons on the remote are the usual media play buttons, including back, next, pause and so on. On the left side of the remote are the volume buttons.. one for adjusting it, the other to mute. Opposite those buttons, are Zoom and Rotate buttons, which are meant to be used in your picture viewing. If you intend to play music on your PC, you have three preset keys to which you can assign playlists. Like the set you are currently listing to? Click the respective button and it will save that playlist to it. Whenever you want to listen to it again, simply click the button.
If you don’t have the mouse handy, the remote has a few more buttons to make things easier. There is the Application Switcher, which acts as an Alt+Tab to navigate through all open programs. You also can Maximize and Restore your current application window, and even close it instantly if you wish.
Lastly, and this really helps with your HTPC, is the sleep button. One click, and your PC will get some shuteye. Push it again, and it wakes up and you are good to go again.
I am quite impressed with the remote and keyboard. They are very well designed, and easy to use. Most importantly though, they are also very comfortable, and I did not feel any strain on my hands and arms while using them. Although the mouse does it’s job, I would have loved a more contoured design to fit the hand better. As mentioned though, I’m sure Logitechs reasoning was that it will work with both Left and Right handed users.. which it will. So if you are a lefty, you have nothing to worry about.
The included MediaLife software is Logitechs own creation, designed specifically for an HTPC. With it, you can play music, browse pictures or play some videos. The entire interface is simple, but works great. The entire program is pretty streamlined, and I found no faults in it as I was navigating through.
If you access the MediaLife, and start up some music, you will have no issues if you want to go look at pictures next. The music will continue to play, until you stop it with the remote. This is great if you have family over and want to look through old pictures, and have some overtone music playing.
When viewing your music as well, if there is album art available, you will see it below. If you are a playing a video, then decide to search through the various menus, it will minimize to a small box to the lower left. The screenshot below does not show a video, because Divx doesn’t easily copy/paste with the picture.
MediaLife is not the most advanced HTPC software out there, but it certainly does what it needs to, and does it well.
To be straight to the point… this is a fantastic set. I didn’t originally expect that I’d like it so much, especially since I do not run an HTPC. After using the set though, it almost inspires me to get one, because this is a perfect addition.
The keyboard is one of the best I’ve used in a while. It’s very sleek and comfortable, and uses an intuitive layout. Even though the Remote and Mouse both have a scroll wheel, I would have liked to see one added to the keyboard as well, which would make internet browsing better. Even if you have large photos, you will need to use the Remote or Mouse to navigate around it. Other than that though, this is a fantastic keyboard.
As mentioned, I would have liked to see some modifications done to the mouse. I had one problem with the mouse during my time of using it… it just stopped working. While browsing, it just stopped moving the cursor on the screen and I had to hit the connect button again. I have no idea what would cause it to stop working, but it could have been some interference, I’m not too sure. It was an easy fix though.
Of course, the real plus of this set is the remote… and I love it. I personally have not used many HTPC remotes, so I do not have a solid means for comparison, but this one is amazing. The buttons are laid out perfectly, and it makes navigation through the MediaLife software very easy. There is nothing bad to be said about the control, it’s superb.
As an added bonus, you will not even have to purchase batteries after getting this set. Logitech has included the 4 AAA and 2 AA batteries that you need to get the peripherals powered up. The suggested retail price for the S 510 Media Remote is $99.99US. Usually when products are first released, they are very high priced. Not this set though. For $100, this set is undoubtedly worth it, and I highly recommend anyone with an HTPC who is in need of a similar set, to pick it up when it’s released later this month.
As always, kudos to Logitech for once again releasing a product that has impressed me. Despite some minor issues, this set is still top notch, and a great deal. Once the S 510 is released, I will make it known in our daily news, as well as input links here to e-tailers selling the set. Due to the high quality of this set, the features it packs and the price-point, we are awarding the Logitech S 510 Media Remote a well deserved 9 out of a possible 10, and an Editors Choice award.
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