Once the ASUS EeeBox seemed to be configured and working well I decided to search for a wireless keyboard and mouse that I could use to control the system. Granted, there’s nothing wrong with the keyboard and mouse that came with the system but I wanted to find something much smaller, which I could leave on a table with the other remotes.
Running a quick search for HTPC and keyboard on Amazon.com immediately hit upon the Rii mini. It’s a small, wireless keyboard and touchpad that operates in the 2.4 GHz range. It had good reviews, all of the features I was looking for, and was only about $35. I went ahead and ordered one.
The range seems good, though I can only use it in the living room. The bedroom is too far, at least in our house. The adapter cleanly fits inside the keyboard, if you want to travel with it. Inside the unit is a non-removable, rechargeable battery that charges over USB. In addition, the unit has a touchpad.
The touchpad works fine, though it works better when moving quickly across the screen but not very well for slowly zeroing in on specific points. It supports taps and also has individual buttons for left and right mouse buttons. Another interesting feature is the ability to change the orientation of the touchpad (only how the movements are interpreted – not the physical orientation), which could be handy when giving a presentation. It also has a laser pointer, though it will probably be used only at home and not for presenting.
Brief testing showed that it worked fine in OS X Snow Leopard and in Windows 7. It took a moment for it to detect and load the drivers in Windows 7. In OS X I had to tap the key that would have been to the right of a specific key as if the keyboard had all of the usual keys. In both cases I did not need to install any drivers or software.
Though it operates in the 2.4 GHz range I have yet to notice any interference issues with my WiFi.
Overall, I think it’s a good purchase. I like the features so at this point whether or not it turns out to have been a bargain simply comes down to how the device (and its battery) holds up over time.
Updated 08/24/2011: I just used an interesting feature, which one might not expect to find on a keyboard of this size. It sports several function buttons, including volume controls that work without additional software within Windows 7.