Home theater PC's are becoming a common place in living rooms today. Aside from picking the components that balance the need for power and the limited tolerance for noise, most users run into the problem of how to control the complete system. There are a lot options in that arena, from remotes to gyroscopic mouse and keyboards but one of the best options that I've used is the all in one solution. One such device is the Logitech DiNovo Edge keyboard.
The Edge is a bluetooth enabled device that is catered to the HTPC crowd. The keyboard is backlit and comes complete with all the media controls a user would want but the piece de resistance is TouchDisc. This is Logitech's answer to a user's need for mouse control on a HTPC. However, it's a little more than simply a glorified trackpad. The TouchDisc is capable of horizontal and vertical continuous scrolling while also being a traditional trackpad for the cursor. Scrolling on the disc is achieved by holding your finger over the designated "curves" and the tracing circles in the direction of the scroll. Think the iPod's scroll wheel and you'll get the idea. When the scroll works, it's wonderfully responsive but getting the scroll to happen reliably every time is something I'm still working on after two weeks of use. There is also a touch based volume slider and an alternate "FN" key that enables F-Key media controls.
Typing on the Edge is instantly familiar for anyone that has typed on a laptop before. The keys are responsive and has a very even resistance level. It's a 100% keyboard so there's no compromise when you need to hammer out a quick email or send that ever important Twitter message. My only complaint is that the backlight does not include illuminating the individual keys, only the media functions light up.
Logitech certainly made the Edge feel like a premium keyboard but they didn't skimp on the looks department either. The entire front of the Edge is laser cut from a single piece of plexiglass, which makes for a sturdy and stunning surface. The palm rest is a single strip of aluminum while the back is regular plastic. The Edge is also incredibly thin; almost as thin as the Apple iMac keyboards. One way Logitech was able to reduce the thickness of the Edge was to integrate its power solution in the form of a built in lithium-ion battery. This can then be recharged very easily with the included docking station, which also doubles as a display stand. I'm not generally a fan of integrate battery solutions but in this case, the elegance of the item seriously outweighs the negatives of not being able to replace my own battery.
The range of the Edge is also quite good thanks to the bluetooth radio. Sitting 10 feet away from my HTPC was no problem and the response time from a completely off state to active use was less than one second. The Edge does go into a sleep mode of sorts when you're not using it and you haven't turned the keyboard off and waking up from that sleep wasn't any issue at all. Throughout my two weeks with the Edge, I'm happy to report that Logitech's SetPoint software made the keyboard funtion identically on my Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 machine flawlessly.
It's unfortunate that it seems Logitech might be discontinuing the DiNovo Edge in favor for the more cost effective MediaBoard Pro. While the MediaBoard Pro has all the primary features of the Edge, it lacks the refinement of the Edge's design, integrated controls, and very responsive keyboard. But most importantly, it lacks the "wife" factor in that the Edge doesn't actually look like sore thumb docked next to your HTPC while a MediaBoard Pro sitting on your coffee table looks like any other wireless keyboard. The DiNovo Edge comes highly recommended and if you have an HTPC and is looking for a control solution, find yourself a DiNovo Edge today!