Product Review: Presenter Remotes
This is the first in a series of reviews for the Toastmaster magazine, assessing new presentation-related technology products.
By Dave Zielinski
For speakers who like to unchain themselves from the podium but still control their PowerPoint slides and use a laser pointer from a distance, a good presentation remote is a must. But not all presentation remotes are created equal. Here are three user-friendly and feature-rich models under $100 that are worth a look.
Power Presenter Remote from Honeywell
Many speakers have come to appreciate that less is more when it comes to these devices. The more buttons on a remote, the more difficult it can be to use, and the last thing speakers want to worry about during a presentation is figuring out the right button to push – and risk, say, reversing slides when they want to go forward.
There are no such concerns with Honeywell’s Power Presenter remote, which scores high on the ease-of-use scale. The remote only has three buttons – forward, back and laser pointer – and each is easily accessible and responsive, with little lag time in triggering action. Simply press two buttons simultaneously to achieve a blank screen mode and then return by pressing any button. The device also fits comfortably in your hand, an important ergonomic feature if you’re presenting for long periods.
Speakers who like to roam a stage often worry that they’re not close enough to the screen to remotely change PowerPoint slides. Power Presenter enables you to advance slides from up to 150 feet away – with no direct line of sight needed to the receiver. The benefit of RF (wireless radio frequency) remotes is their omnidirectional nature, meaning you don’t have to point the remote directly at the screen for it to work.
There’s no software to load before operating the remote; all speakers need do is plug the remote’s receiver into a USB or PS/2 port on their PC or MAC and they’re ready to roll. The integrated laser pointer also features a healthy-size dot (not a given with all pointers) that allows you to effectively highlight portions of your slides.
The Power Presenter retails for $99, which includes a base unit, one USB cable and one PS/2 cable. The product carries a one-year limited warranty. For more information, visit www.powerremote.com.
Kensington’s Wireless Presenter with Laser Pointer
The first thing you notice about Kensington’s palm-size presenter remote is its novel design. Speakers who’ve ever misplaced their USB wireless remote receivers will appreciate that the receiver can conveniently be stored inside the remote.
As for the remote’s functionality, it is plug-and-play with both PCs and Mac laptops, and the device’s 2.4GHz wireless technology allows you to operate PowerPoint presentations with finger point control from up to 60 feet. A brighter-than-average laser beam generates impressive pointer visibility.
The Kensington remote features an ergonomic, figure-8 body style with a rubber texture grip. And for lovers of simplicity, there are just four command buttons: forward, back, blank screen and laser pointer. The product comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Finally, one of the best features about this remote is its price: $59.99. For more information or specifications, visit http://us.kensington.com.
Logitech’s Cordless Presenter
The Logitech Cordless Presenter has all accoutrements of a speaker-friendly remote – built-in Power Point controls that are easily accessed under your thumb and an integrated laser pointer – but what sets it apart is a unique timer feature. The remote’s LCD timer allows you to set automatic, inaudible warnings – the timer vibrates in your hand – to let you know when your presentation is running out of time. Another handy feature: a volume control button along the remote’s left side.
There is no cumbersome software to download – simply plug the wireless receiver into your laptop USB port and launch your presentation. A 50-foot operating range lets you roam freely on stage or at the front of your presentation room. One of the few downsides of this remote is it’s not Mac-compatible.
The Logitech remote sells for $79.95 and comes with a three-year limited hardware warranty. For more information, visit www.logitech.com.
Editor’s Note: These reviews reflect the assessments of the author and not necessarily the opinions or endorsements of the Toastmaster.
Dave Zielinski is a freelance writer who lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.