ProsTremendous functionality packed into a compact, stylish package; surprisingly-low price
ConsSometimes feels like it's trying to do too much, making it unintuitive; keyboard could be larger
Over the years, The Tech Buyer's Guru has tested out a number of peripherals designed to make life for home theater PC enthusiasts better. This has included the Logitech K400 keyboard/trackpad combo, the Roccat Sova Lapboard, and a number of wireless mous products. Ultimately, however, for our media consumption needs, none of these products was ideal. Something was missing. Perhaps the best indication of what we were really looking for came in the form of some very "trick" TV remote controls from Samsung and LG that provided the ability to "point" to what you wanted on the screen. As much as we loved these, however, they had a number of limitations. First, they of course only worked with their respective TVs, and second, once you needed to input text (for instance when searching for a media title), they fell flat on their face. Using a pointer to "type" is an exercise in frustration.
Well, lo and behold, our friends at Azulle look to have taken the best of all worlds to create the new Lynk "multifunctional" remote control. We put multifunctional in quotes, because that's what Azulle calls it, but we think that's sort of an awkward name for the device. Maybe multifunction would have been better, but we'll just call it a remote control from here on out, because the truth is that no name could possibly sum up what the Lynk is. You just have to dive into its feature list to understand what it can do. Gyro-based mousing? Check. Physical keyboard? Check. Universal learning IR remote? Check. Are you serious, Azulle? Can you really pack all of this into a device that retails... wait for it... $30? OK, we were intrigued. And while the Lynk isn't perfect, it's still the coolest PC peripheral we've come across in years!
Read on to learn more about what makes the little Lynk tick!
We'd like to extend a special thank you to Azulle for providing a sample of the Lynk Multifunctional Remote Control for review.
Description and Features
We'll discuss the unique features of the Lynk in a moment, but first let's go over dimensions, as this is pretty important when it comes to something you'll be holding in your hand to use. The Lynk is 6.5" long by 2" wide, and a fairly chunky 7/8" thick. And its not just the thickness that's substantial, it's also the weight: at 4.2 ounces (just over a quarter pound), this is a hefty little device. The Lynk's design clearly emulates that of a compact TV remote control in terms of length and width (it's nearly identical in that regard to both our LG and Vizio TV remotes), but given that it's packed with far more tech than either of these, it's not surprising that the thickness and weight had to be bumped up a notch. Keep in mind that it is intended to be whipped around to control a mouse pointer, so weight is a critical factor here, and we think that a quarter-pound is just about the limit for such a device to be used comfortably. Even so, the Lynk probably won't give anyone a "wristache".
The Lynk connects to a PC using a USB micro-receiver, shown sitting atop the remote in the accompanying photo. Note that while the Lynk can learn IR codes and "blast" an IR signal, it doesn't natively use IR at all. The receiver is strictly a 2.4GHz wireless receiver, and so can be placed at the back of a PC if necessary. This is great for users who have their devices inside a cabinet, for example, or simply don't want to be bothered with pointing down at a device while using it. And take note - the real genius of the Lynk is its motion-sensing technology, not its old-school buttons - pointing at a device to use it is so last century!
The Lynk runs on two AAA batteries, like many of the TV remotes we have in our stable. While we weren't able to use it extensively enough to test battery life, we have to presume that it's going to run the batteries down a lot faster than the typical remote, both due to the gyros and the cool blue backlight (which actually only turns on if engaged manually, a decent compromise). Prepare to have some AAA batteries handy if you use the Lynk a lot, or do what we do: use Eneloop rechargeable batteries.
The Lynk also includes a built-in microphone, which is somewhat confusingly described by Azulle as having built-in voice speech recognition software, which doesn't quite make sense. We found that the microphone did indeed work when the mic button on the remote was pressed, but it doesn't offer speech recognition, in the sense that you can't use your voice to "type" a query into Google or YouTube, for example. You can use it with Cortana, however, just like you would any other microphone. Given, however, that you need to manually switch default microphones in the Windows Sound Control Panel to utilize the Lynk, this is of limited usefulness if you already have a mic or headset plugged in.
More interesting and useful to HTPC enthusiasts are its mousing and keyboard features, which we'll discuss on the next page.