"A One of a Kind Tool"4.5 starson by smnc
Pros: Jack of all Keyboards
Cons: Master of None
Summary: So when I originally built my Home Theatre PC I used a nice little keyboard from BTC (9019URF) which was great!
But as my machine evolved from a simple HTPC into a full-on Home Centre PC, I found I wanted something with a few more features.
-Built-in Pointing Device
-Quick Launch Keys
-Programmable (Macro) Keys
During my searches I discovered the Belkin MediaPilot.
It met all my criteria and a whole lot more.
Firstly, it is a wireless-RF keybaord, and it does have a standard built-in pointing device, as do most wireless/HTPC keyboards.
However, unlike most others, the MediaPilot has full three-button support and a scroll wheel.
It also has the standard media keys as well as application keys, nicely laid out across the top, with an extra bonus function, which I will get to in a minute.
It also has the ability to use the function keys as macro keys for easy access to commonly used functions such as save, spell check, etc.
Allo the fueatures so far have been fairly standard, but here's where iti gets interesting:
It has a docking base that doubles as both a recharging station and receiver, and also adds a full numeric keypad.
Since my PC serves multiple uses, this is a GREAT feature for me.
And in case all that isn't enough for you, that extra feature I mentioned earlier is a universal IR remote.
Thats right, a simple flick of a switch converts the keyboard into a nicely featured remote for all the A/V equipment.
This thing is the veritable Swiss Army Knife of keyboards.
However, like a real Swiss Army Knife, it's good at everything, but not really outstanding at any one thing.
First, the software for programming the feature keys and remote control functions is counter-intuitive and it takes a good amount of patience to get everything set-up. It's not horrible, but there is definitely a lot of room for improvement.
Second, the build quality is not stellar. It's not bad, just not great either.
The wireless keyboard feels nice and solid in your hands or on your lap, but it slides around a bit in the docking base. The sliding doesn't affect it's function, but it is mildly distracting.
Lastly, the soft-touch keys are nice and quiet which is great for a HTPC, but they can make it tricky to type at any high speed and for any length of time.
As with all the other negatives, it's not bad, just mildly annoying.
Now one other question I hear raised a lot is what to do with the base.
Now the answer is that it's kind of an individual thing.
I know some people leave the base on top of their coffee table, or even under their coffee table.
I have another friend who has the base sitting on top of his HTPC case.
For myself, as I use my Home Centre PC in multiple roles (HTPC, Games, Internet, etc) it made sense to have a keyboard that can function as both a desktop and a portable keyboard, so I installed a swing-arm keyboard/mouse drawer to the bottom of my coffee table so that I can use use it in "desktop" docked mode with my regular bluetooth wireless mouse, or I can un-dock it and use it "HTPC mode" while I recline on the couch.
So, if you need a simple HTPC keyboard, you might want to consider this unit, but you also might want to look at the competition.
If on the other hand you need a jack of all trades, this is they keyboard for you.