The Lynk remote is something wonderful, yet not perfect. What you have is a universal remote that has the ability to function with your PC, making it a great option for mini PC setups connected to a TV, such as Azulle’s own line.
Decent in size, it fits well in your hand and feels quite natural. It featured a limited amount of buttons on the front side that mostly pertain to a PC, including a button to draw up your on-screen keyboard, a home button and so forth. In the center of the remote you have a directional pad and center of that you have a select button that functions as your left mouse click. You have buttons for your right click, microphone and volume up and down.
On the back side of the remote there is a QWERTY keyboard, which is in our opinion, something that should exist on any remote. So essentially, you have a wireless keyboard and mouse built into a hand-held remote that fits perfectly in your hand.
Now this isn’t the first time something like this entered the market since certain TV manufacturers feature air mouse capabilities with a QWERTY keyboard on the back and some microphone capabilities. Of course, those remotes are limited to that TV mostly and won’t work on your PC. There were some older media remotes for PCs when Media Center was being pushed hard. However, most if not all of those remotes only functioned as a candybar with buttons on it, but no air mouse. At times you would find a model with a keyboard on it, but they didn’t take off as big as the market wasn’t as open to slapping a giant tower onto their living room TV just to be able to get PC functionality out of it.
Times have changed however and thanks to smaller PCs like Azulle’s line I mentioned above, now there is a demand for remotes like these, especially if they have universal function.
So let’s talk briefly about that universal function. This remote supports both IR and 2.4Ghz RF mode. You can switch it over to IR and have it learn from your other devices via their remote to get it to work, or switch back to use its own receiver (2.4Ghz). Now due to the limited buttons on the front, you probably won’t be using it in IR mode much outside of the play/pause or volume buttons. We found ourselves more interested in it’s own receiver than anything and using it with smaller PC setups. However, you technically can assign anything you want to any button, so it depends on how you spread it out (and remember which does what). This way you can switch between using it with it’s own receiver and then controlling something simple on your TV.
Supposedly, it will work with Android and iOS applications as well. For now though, we will focus on the mini PCs because that is most likely one of the biggest reasons Azulle is manufacturing these.
To make sure it is in 2.4Ghz mode, you would tap the A.I. Learn button to make sure the LED on the front blinks blue (white is IR). Then plug in your USB receiver it comes with into your PC. As long as you have a recent version of Windows running, it should recognize it right off the bat and you are ready to go.
At the top of the remote is a start menu button which quite obviously brings up your start menu. Your directional pad and mouse buttons work at all times. The on-screen keyboard button brings up Windows’ on-screen keyboard by quickly running the “osk” command in the run box. This keyboard you can use the mouse function to type with, although most people will more than likely never use this since you have a keyboard on the back of the remote.
The mouse functionality of the remote is pretty decent although we found that it does need improvement. In order to trigger it, you want to first point the remote at where the mouse is on the screen. This is important else it won’t be aligned with the remote while using it. Once you are pointing it at the cursor on the screen, you hit the “Mouse on/off” button near the top to trigger the mouse mode. You can now move the mouse around your screen by waving the remote around. A lot like the LG’s Magic remote that comes with some of their nicer TVs.
This is where it needs improvement. We can understand having to point it at your cursor first to calibrate it when turning it on, else how will it know where the mouse is to begin with, without having to use separate software. The trouble is you slowly begin to lose accuracy as the cursor will fall out of alignment, making you want to turn it off, point it back at the cursor and hit the button again. We found that the faster you wave the remote around, the more quickly you lose alignment. Eventually the cursor will be inches off from where you are pointing the remote at the screen. It will still function just fine as you compensate by moving it around like you have some kind of handicap, but really, your mind tells you “this isn’t right…I want better performance than this”.
Pretty much one of the only things weighing down the score for this remote. It doesn’t kill it as we still felt it deserved the high score we gave it, but it still has plenty of wiggle room to go in its development.
In Windows, we couldn’t get the microphone button to do anything, so this is most likely going to be useful on Smart TVs that can accept voice commands. We did find that if you press the mic button while using the Google Chrome browser (and focused on that window), it triggers the element inspection screen. A little odd, but entertaining for a quick moment. That might panic a novice user though who doesn’t know what that screen is–might give them the idea that they broke something.
They QWERTY keyboard on the back is a nice touch. I personally found using it for entering numbers a little annoying as the numbers are shared with the top row of letters. Every time a company builds a keyboard out like this, it drives me nuts as it slows down my typing. That could be my own OCD-ness though. The buttons do exactly as they are supposed to, however I find you have to push them down with a decent amount of pressure. So I guess there would be no speed typing with my thumbs on this one anyway. They should have taken the route of the Blackberry phones or the old HTC QWERTY phones (ie, HTC Tilt 2) where the buttons were quite easy to press and felt more natural. These just feel stiff to me.
On the side of the remote is a little button with an image of a light bulb. You can guess what this does. It lights up your keyboard. Sometimes it will light up the front side too.
Looking at it, it feels as though it is supposed to light up whichever side is facing up. Using the gyro sensor more than likely. However, I was a little lost on this one because sometimes it will light the front side first and then the back or one or the other and then turn off when I pressed it the second time. Maybe it’s really a crap shoot. At times though this option functions great.
The build of the remote itself as mentioned before is pretty solid. It feels good in the hands and seems as though it would last quite awhile. I would say it would be best to use caution when sitting it does and not to slide it around on a surface since it does rest directly on the QWERTY keys. They are rubber with white printing on them, so sliding it around may cause the letters to wear off over time.
In general, it is a nice remote as it gives you a compact way to control a PC with. It makes even more sense when you are trying to control it from a distance, like for a mini PC of sorts. A number of the buttons on the front don’t seem to function on a PC which may cause confusion, but you can assign those buttons in IR mode to do other things (ie, TV, DVD, etc). The price is right (currently $29.99) for what something like this feels like it should run, but there are a few things that still need improvement, such as the remote being able to maintain a straight line to the mouse cursor. Thankfully for Azulle, this isn’t the first time we have seen this problem as we have also witnessed it in certain LG TV models and other devices. This is why the score wasn’t too badly affected by this, but a perfect score requires a perfect device–and it seems we just aren’t there yet. For now, this makes for a great device until then.
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
Compatibility – The Lynk has universal compatibility with televisions, computers and media streaming devices like Android TV Set-Top Boxes, XBOX One, PS4 and more. For example, you may connect via Skype or Google Hangout apps on any operating system to link up with friends, family, or colleagues.
2.4G Radio Frequency
Stay connected up to 25 feet away
QWERTY Keyboard Layout
Up to 100,000 keystrokes
USB Receiver included
Windows 7/8.1/10/Linux/Android Support
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