Genius LuxeMate T810 Review – Wireless Media Center Keyboard / Remote

Today I’ll review a very interesting product – the LuxeMate T810 Media Cruiser – a wireless Media Center keyboard / remote control manufactured by Genius and designed to stay on your lap and offer all the functions required to control your Media Center based HTPC. To be honest, I searched for a long time for the ideal HTPC controller and before the LuxeMate I used (and still use) my Harmony 880 remote together with Logitech diNovo Mini. While I still use the Harmony remote, the diNovo Mini is just too small for a comfortable use and has some range issues, so I kept looking. I was able to obtain a LuxeMate T810 wireless keyboard which seemed like a good choice for the task at hand (completely control my HTPC in a fast and reliable way) and my experience with it is described in this review. For reference, all my tests were performed using Windows 7.

luxemate_t810_23

Technical Specifications

  • 2.4GHz slim wireless desktop combo
  • 34 hotkeys for media center functions
  • Up to 10m operational distance and anti-interference function
  • Weight – 736g
  • Dimensions: 45 x 15 x 3.4 cm
  • Mini USB dongle receiver
  • Wireless mouse sensor based on OptoTouch technology

Since the keyboard has the keys programmed and labeled with Windows Media Center commands and functions, it is not supported on the MAC platform. It is in essence a PC only product and requires Windows XP Media Center Edition, Vista or Windows 7.

Design

The LuxeMate T810 keyboard design is very attractive and it features a three zone layout; In the center, you’ll have a regular QWERTY keyboard while on the sides there are two additional sections containing the hotkeys implementing the standard Windows Media Center functions (My Videos, My Photos, Recorded TV, Live TV, Channels, Volumes, Media Center start, etc). The left section contains the On/Off/Sleep buttons, Volume/Channels Up/Down and mute buttons and also the video navigation buttons (fast forward/rewind, next/previous and play/pause/record). The right section contains the standard media center shortcuts (Back / More, My Videos, My Music, My Pictures, Media Center start, etc). An OptoTouch based sensor is also available for a smooth mouse interface. The hotkeys are covered with a somewhat old style shiny silver coating which bothered me initially until I realized the coating makes them more visible in the dark. Unfortunately the keyboard is not illuminated which is a shame for such a nice device and a must have nowadays for a HTPC controller.

luxemate_t810_13

The three sections are linked together by a stylish transparent layer which gives it a very modern appearance.

Performance

Mechanically wise, the keyboard is very responsive and gives a very nice feel. The range however falls short of the stated 10 meters. I am currently sitting in my living room, about 5 meters (~15 ft from my TV / HTPC) and when the USB receiver was installed in the back of the PC, I did experience communication problems. My setup has a huge number of wires in the back and the whole entertainment center is very crowded by the large number of electronic gizmos I have, so it is possible that I had a lot of interference. When I connected the receiver to a front USB port, the keyboard worked smoothly and with no errors. While operated, the keyboard gives you a visual feeedback through a tiny red LED located on the left panel, so you’ll know if the keyboard actually sends the desired command.

luxemate_t810_14

The keyboard is using two AA batteries and enters in a sleep mode when not used for several minutes to conserve the battery life. You might experience a short (less than a second) delay when the keyboard wakes up from sleep.

Ergonomics

Being used to operate my HTPC with an universal remote control, the layout felt initially a little awkward. It took less than 5 minutes of usage though to learn the keys, especially the ones I used the most – pause/play/skip. I also realized that the shiny coating I mentioned before help the keys reflect more light and thus more visible in low light. I still think that a keyboard designed to control your HTPC should be illuminated, but the LuxeMate T810 is very usable, especially after you learned the layout.

The back of the keyboard is coated with rubber and it feels very comfortable in your lap. The weird thing is, after using it for about an hour, I realized that I like to have if in my lap the whole time I am sitting in front of the TV. It gives me a weird feeling of being in control.

luxemate_t810_8

One of the improvements I would like to see in a future model would be the addition of a dedicated 4-way controller for easy navigation through the Media Center menus. You can use the directional keys from the keyboard layout, but after using a dedicated remote control, I got used to the directional pad from the remote and found myself looking for a D-Pad in the remote sections of the keyboard more than once.

The mouse is based on OptoTouch technology and doesn’t require any pressure to use. Just rub your finger on the tiny sensor’s surface and you’ll be able to control your mouse cursor quite precisely. It only takes a minute to get used to and in my opinion it offers a better experience than a touch-pad which I personally hate.

Conclusion

The LuxeMate T810 Cruiser OptoTouch Keyboard / Remote is a very stylish addition to the large number of tools used to control your Media Center based HTPC. The build quality is excellent and the layout is well designed. While I would like to see a illuminated version, the layout is easy to learn and the reflective coating make the the hot-keys visible in low light. The range is good for most of the setups and the OptoTouch based mouse sensor is very responsive. I really liked it and I am using it every time I use my HTPC (which is pretty much daily). It works well not only with the Windows Media Center but also with the Hulu Desktop app that I can start from Media Center as well. Currently it retails for $89 and it is well worth the price in my opinion.

Pros

  • Large number of hotkeys implementing all Media Center functions
  • Stylish 3 zone layout on a transparent substrate
  • good range

Cons

  • not illuminated

Gallery

Related posts:

Tags: , , ,