Pros

Tremendous functionality packed into a compact, stylish package; surprisingly-low price

Cons

Sometimes feels like it's trying to do too much, making it unintuitive; keyboard could be larger

Star Rating

Performance

If you just think of the Lynk as a remote control, you'll be missing out on half of what it can do!

keyboard

Yes, indeed, that's a tiny keyboard built into the Lynk, which explains why it's just a bit thicker and heavier than normal. The rubberized keys are easy to use, and have a nice contoured shape. Take note, however, that the number keys are only accessible by pressing the symbol ("Sym") key simultaneously with the number, which is very inconvenient. As much as we liked the profile of the Lynk, we really think it has to be made wider so an additional row of buttons can be added as dedicated number keys. Whether it's to input a password or run a search in Google, numbers do come into play when using an HTPC, and this is just a bit too much of a compromise, from our point of view. With that said, the Lynk still could be the ultimate multi-function device, even if it's not the ultimate mini-keyboard. 

And to understand the Lynk, you really have to use it. We'll do our best here to describe its performance, but it's so different from any other PC peripherals (and frankly does so much more) that it's sort of hard to put in words. We'll also be honest right from the start: because we were testing this with a PC (or actually a few PCs), we didn't bother to test its IR learning features. Our PCs didn't have remotes of their own, so there wasn't anything to learn. And remember, the Lynk's native functions are all handled via 2.4GHz wireless, not IR. We suspect that as much as HTPC users may have it ingrained in them to point a remote at an AV device, you actually don't need to point the Lynk at anything in particular, let alone its USB receiver. Yes, it feels most natural to point it at the TV or monitor screen to control the pointer, but once you get it out of your head that this is required, you're actually a bit more free to use the Lynk comfortably. Each time you pick it up, the gyros reset, so the mouse pointer appears in the middle of the screen and you can move on from there. As an example, you might place the Lynk down at your side, facing the wall, and then pick it up again and immediately start "mousing" around. The Lynk anticipates what you intend to do and executes your commands fairly well. To understand just how complicated the algorithms for this must be, consider what would happen if every time you placed your PC's mouse down on the mat, you set it down at a different angle, maybe 45 degrees, or 90 degrees, or upside down entirely. The mouse certainly wouldn't work right if you just picked it up in that orientation and tried to use it normally. The Lynk does.

buttons

There were, however, several usability issues we encountered while testing the Lynk in addition to the one we previously mentioned (the "alt"-number keys), and we're hoping Azulle can actually address these in a revised version of the product. The first is that while you can put a PC into standby by pressing the "Standby" button on the remote, you cannot wake a system back up this way, and no other button presses work either. Given that the Lynk is vying to be the only peripheral you use with your HTPC, that's a major issue, and one that shouldn't be an issue at all, given that wireless mice and keyboards can easily wake up a PC. A second issue is that the volume buttons aren't marked properly on the remote (they just have a "+" and "-" on them), nor are they in a particularly logical location, set at the bottom of the remote with the onscreen keyboard button between them. A typical volume rocker on the left side of the remote would be a lot better. The "play/pause" button, which worked perfectly with both YouTube and Amazon Videos, by the way, could then be moved to where the "+" currently resides.

But the most critical flaw of all is one that really could have been easily avoided: the incredibly-useful mouse-wheel scroll function of the up and down arrow buttons shuts off the mouse gyros. Given how much we loved being able to scroll through webpages using the Lynk's up/down buttons, it was simply maddening that we'd lose control of the pointer when doing so. Every time we used those "scroll wheel" buttons, we had to press the "Mouse on/off" button again to enable the mouse pointer movement. This feels like an issue that should have been caught at the beta stage.

Conclusion

Ultimately, despite making more promises than it can truly deliver on, the Azulle Lynk is still an amazing device. As a gyro-enabled mouse, it allows HTPC users to truly ditch the desk-bound peripherals they've been forced to use for decades and control their PCs from the palm of their hand.  While we hope that the next iteration of the device improves upon some of its minor design flaws, as it is, the Lynk is still impressive.

The Lynk Multifunctional Remote Control is available for $30 through Amazon, as our publication date, making it a simply exceptional deal and a must-have for all HTPC users.

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