iPazzPort – the budget-friendly HTPC keyboard

I blame PayPal. They’ve made it far too easy to order stuff on eBay :). When I saw the iPazzPort on Engadget a while ago and read in the comments that they were very cheap on eBay I couldn’t help myself. Two clicks later I’d ordered this little gizmo from a vendor in Hong Kong. It took nearly a month to get here, but I’m glad it did.

The iPazzPort is a small wireless keyboard with a built-in trackpad. It uses RF signals to communicate with the (included) USB receiver, which has a range of about 10 meters. I had been looking for something to replace my aging BTC 9019URF which is big, ugly and doesn’t quite work from my couch.

Value for money

My first impression was that the iPazzPort looks incredibly cheap. But then again, it is. It’s only around $20 (new) on eBay. It’s pretty sturdy, but don’t expect this thing to look nice. When I plugged the USB thingy into my laptop and switched on the keyboard it turned out to work straight away. No drivers needed, so it should work on all OSs (I tested Ubuntu and Windows 7). It also comes with a USB charging cord, which is convenient. The trackpad is actually better than most I’ve worked with and definitely an improvement over the joystick on the BTC.

BS stands for backspace

The keyboard layout needs some getting used to. In fact, it pretty much sucks. The arrows keys are in strange locations, as are most other non-qwerty keys. If you’re going to be typing a lot, this is not the keyboard for you. It’s nowhere near as good as the one on my Nokia E71, which is half the size. There’s also no shift key. You need to enable caps lock, type the capital, and turn it off again. The keys are nearly flush with the device’s top cover, and they’re very ‘clicky’.

So?

At a fraction of the cost, this little thing is a budget alternative to Logitech’s terribly expensive DiNovo Mini. It’s smaller and lighter, but is also much less comfortable to type on. If your typing needs go beyond the occasional URL or search term, look elsewhere. If you, like me, use it to fire up a movie from time to time it may just suit your needs.

12 Comments

  1. Informative post, thanks..

    Comment by Muliawan Jarkasih — December 25, 2009 @ 1:50 pm

  2. Hey Roy, FYI, I bought one of these and I love it. I use it to watch Internet TV on my home Television. It makes surfing IPTV so easy. I bought it from the manufacturer http://www.unisen-usa.com. They apparently OEM this product to several Chinese resellers. I got my unit in 2 days and it shipped from Arizona.

    Comment by Chas Williams — January 1, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

  3. wonderfull product ! i like it .

    Comment by angou chai — January 5, 2010 @ 10:09 am

  4. i used it to lecture.i bought it in uk! marplin.

    Comment by angou chai — January 5, 2010 @ 10:13 am

  5. I got one for Christmas and love it as well. My 7 and 5 year old seem to like it even more. I have to fight them to be able to “play” with it when we’re watching downloaded movies. They want to keep switching titles just to play with the pazzport!
    I don’t have a need to take it out of the house for business ( I don’t think the kids would let me anyway) but I imagine, like Angou said, it has to be perfect. The backlight is great too. I wish all of my AV remotes had that feature.

    I’ve seen a Bluetooth model mentioned on a couple of recent reviews, anyone have one yet?

    Comment by Reggie Geegus — January 9, 2010 @ 5:14 am

  6. I just stumbled on this post searching for a remote for my 2 year old dell that i loaded with free software I downloaded from Mediaportal: http://www.team-mediaportal.com/

    I hooked up the 42′ plasma that I have in my office and now I am fully functional HTPC for almost no cost. Its a 4 day old experiment, but seems to be great so far.

    Comment by Joe Cleary — January 27, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

  7. DiNovo- returned… I was under impressed with the product for the money. If it were 20 bucks I would have kept it. This is the answer. I love the fact that it has been developed by a smaller company that specializes in POS. The boss must have bought a DiNovo and saw the need for a better product. I will order one today.

    Comment by keith f — February 4, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

  8. Hi Roy, I was just surfing their site at http://www.unisen-usa.com and I see that they have a new product called the iTV iNavigator. Do you know anything about it? If not can you get one? I think they have even surpassed themselves if what I am reading is true. Their site says iTV via their web server and nothing but point and click via their site. But is it $59 and they wouldn’t give me one for free but I bet you could get one and then let us know. Thanks, Chuck

    Comment by Chuck Williams — February 11, 2010 @ 6:38 am

  9. Hi Chuck. That looks interesting. I’m not sure they’d send me one, but I guess it’s worth a try. Personally, I think a more versatile solution like Boxee is the way to go though. I control it through my iPazzport or through the iPhone app, and it has much of the same content.

    Comment by Roy — February 11, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

  10. Ey! What about “F” keys ? Can be pressed with this keyboard ? Can’t see any key marked with F1, F2, F3 …. Thanks!

    Comment by Juanjo — April 19, 2010 @ 5:02 pm

  11. kp-810-05 will come soon with F1,F2,’….F11,F12 and voice volume+,- Previous track, …. etc.

    Comment by bx — April 20, 2010 @ 3:26 am

  12. Link: Media Centre Remote Controls (for Mac Mini) « Suzanna Noort