Hardware Impressions: Logitech’s diNovo Mini – Undisputed King of PS3 Media Devices

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So, if you remember back in January during CES, I told you about three new products Logitech was showing off, including the Z Cinéma surround sound system, the wireless MX 5500 Revolution mouse and keyboard and the diNovo Mini mini-keyboard. Well, I recently received all three products to test out, and over the past week or two I’ve been doing just that. So guess what? Now it’s time for me to share my impressions!

I’ll first start off with the diNovo Mini, Logitech’s sexy beast of a mini-keyboard/media remote control. Now the device is mainly billed as a PC media remote, as its core functionality ties directly to Windows Media Center on XP and Vista systems, but it’s also fully compatible with the PS3 thanks to Bluetooth and a little toggle switch in the battery compartment that allows the remote to flip between use on both platforms. And since I have a nice home entertainment setup – PS3 at its heart – I rarely use my PC as a media player. Therefore, I focused my attention on testing the product with my PS3 (so you know, I’ve tested it plenty on my PC too and the functionality really isn’t any different).

Acquainting the diNovo Mini with the PS3 couldn’t be any easier. In fact, the whole process is much quicker and easier than getting it all happy-happy with a PC given there’s no software installation to go through and the PS3’s built in Bluetooth eliminates the need for fiddling with the included USB receiver. All’s it takes is a quick flip through the XMB to the Bluetooth accessory registration tool under the Settings heading, the entering of a provided registration code, and voilà, the two devices are connected. Well, you do also have to give the included rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack a quick fill up before even getting started, but it only takes a couple hours to give it a full, month-lasting charge.

Once connected, the two work together in perfect harmony. The remote’s key feature is its dual control functionality. At the flip of a switch, the built-in, dual-purpose ClickPad goes from a standard directional pad to a touch pad that works just like those found on laptops. The touch pad mode is largely meant for the PC given its usefulness as a mouse pointer, but if you do a lot of web browsing from your PS3, it makes the process infinitely easier than ever before.

In d-pad mode (or Media-remote mode), on the other hand, you can navigate the XMB, launch movie and music files and view photos just like you would with a Sixaxis (soon to be DualShock 3). Then there’s the keyboard. It’s got all the necessary keys for media control (Stop, Play/Pause, Volume, Fast Forward/Rewind, etc.) and access to various system hotkeys by holding the FN key. Plus, the Windows Media launch key basically serves as somewhat of a makeshift home menu button. The keys themselves have a great feel and are perfectly sized and spaced too, so basic text entry tasks are now super intuitive (no more crappy soft keyboards, yay!).

What’s more, beyond working well with the PS3 as a media device, the diNovo Mini just looks like a perfect mate for Sony’s console. The shiny black and silver color scheme, sleek ergonomics, clamshell design, and snazzy, color-coded, back-lit keyboard simply ooze the same technological style and grace that makes the PS3 stand out as more than just a game console.

Also like the PS3, though, all this style and functionality does come at the cost of a luxurious price tag. Off the shelf, the diNovo Mini will set you back a steep $150. That may seem like a ridiculous price, but if you do some comparison pricing you’ll find that it’s actually rather cheap compared to most other high-end media remotes on the market, and most of them don’t have the multi-faceted control features and dual platform support that this does. So all in all, this is one brilliant, must-have device for any PS3 media buff. Oh yeah, and it’s great for PC users too!

Check below for two galleries, one a collection of my personal unpacking snapshots, the other a selection of hi-res product shots from Logitech. Full product specifications, pricing and availability can be found here.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!