Shenzhen’s RF Air Mouse Remote is one of the nicest media center remotes we’ve seen. One side of this hand-held remote control is a full QWERTY keyboard and the other side is a regular media remote with all of the usual buttons. As a bonus, the remote can be used as an air mouse. The Air Mouse Remote is basically the love-child of a Boxee Box remote and a WiiMote, and it’s quite the companion for our Windows home theater PC (HTPC).
The design of the RF Air Mouse Remote is what caught our eye at CES 2012. If you have a computer hooked up to the big screen, then you’ve been victim of the most frustrating problem: how to control it! A full-sized keyboard and mouse is not a viable solution of control from the couch, even if it is wireless. Ideally, there’s a mouse and keyboard bundled up into one handheld device which can be used from a distance…and there is: the Shenzhen RF Air Mouse Remote.
The Air Mouse Remote is larger than Boxee Box’s remote, but it’s no larger than a regular TV or DVD player remote…in fact it’s a bit smaller than most. In-hand, it feels great. On one side is, almost, a full QWERTY keyboard with rubberized buttons. The keyboard is awesome with a few exceptions. The buttons are easy to push, and register on-screen every time. The remote’s easy to hold and you can type quickly with two thumbs. Numbers and symbols are doubled up and accessed by first pressing an ‘alt’ key (not the same a regular ‘alt’ key). The real problem is that the keyboard is missing modifier keys: shift, alt/option, control, windows, etc. It’s also missing the F-keys, which isn’t as big of a deal. This means a lot of keyboard shortcuts are out of the question, i.e. ctrl-c, ctrl-a, alt-f4, ctrl-alt-del, etc.
On the other side are the usual media buttons: arrow buttons, 0-9 keys, play, pause, skip, mute, channel, volume, etc. It’s every button you’d need for any media center application including Boxee, Windows Media Center, XBMC, and Hulu desktop.
On the media side of the remote is three mouse buttons: mouse on/off, left click, and right click. When the mouse is toggled on, the internal gyro is activated and the mouse can be tilted in all directions to control the mouse on the screen. The mouse control is much like a Wiimote in this respect. The control is very active, but quite sensitive. It takes some getting used to. The mouse automatically shuts off when the remote is flipped over for keyboard use.
As a media center remote, the Shenzhen’s RF Air Mouse Remote is incredibly handy. Even if the mouse takes some real precision, it beats a full sized wireless mouse and keyboard by a landslide. The manufacturer, CN-CDRC, says that depending on quantity purchased, the remote can astonishingly sell for around $30. Of course it’s all too good to be true….the manufacturer is currently looking for a distributor to sell this magnificent, affordable, device. Check them out (if you can read Chinese) at http://cn-cdrc.com. Maybe if you reach out to them you can finagle one of these RF Air Mouse remotes for yourself!
The Good: Great Size, Amazing Range, Sweet Design, Usable, Affordable (maybe), Qwerty Keyboard, Air Mouse
The Bad: Not Yet Available! Air Mouse is Very Sensitive, Keyboard Missing Modifier Keys