With larger Windows 10 all-in-one PCs like the Surface Studio primed to become entertainment centers and possible TV replacements for cord cutters, a proper remote control is needed. While there will probably be better and better apps for this, those looking for a physical solution need only look to Lenovo. At CES 2017, they’re debuting the 500 Multimedia Controller, a handheld keyboard and touchpad built with Windows 10 in mind.
The 500 Multimedia Controller is a wireless physical keyboard, but shrunk down into handheld format. The idea is that it will be better for those who want to use their Windows PCs from the couch instead of the desk chair. Instead of having a full-sized wireless keyboard to hold awkwardly on the lap, the 500 can be used comfortably, more like a remote control.
The remote connects to Windows PCs using an included USB dongle. Once connected, it can be used as a regular keyboard — Lenovo has even managed to fit in the row of function keys, which includes media controls. The keys are all flush with the surface of the controller, and for good reason — that leads into the most compelling feature of the 500. While it looks like just the bottom part of the controller can be used as a touchpad, the touch surface actually covers the entire controller, keyboard included. That makes it possible to move the cursor and use Windows 10 gestures (two fingers to scroll and pinch to zoom being two examples) more easily.
The 500 is powered by two AAA batteries that should last about eight months. Range won’t be a concern, either — Lenovo says it can be used up to 65 feet away, and I think you might have some difficulty seeing the screen at that point. In seriousness, we could see that being important if you were using the controller while projecting or casting something to a 100″+ display.
Lenovo plans to launch the 500 Multimedia Controller in March for $55.
Disclaimer: CES 2017 coverage is brought to you by Lenovo. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.