Thursday, December 19, 2013

iPazzPort Air Mouse vs Rii Mini i6 Wireless Keyboards: Epic Comparison Review

For reasons yet unbeknownst to my mind (I pronounce this expression valid from this day, in case it isn't yet), I sold the perfectly good Rii Mini Wireless Keyboard which was really nice and useful, and found myself with no proper HTPC remote control. 

It was strange. 
I felt like floating. Nothing to hold on to.
Nowhere to wirelessly go.  

iPazzPort Wireless Fly Air Mouse Mini Keyboard 2.4GHz w/ IR Remote Black
(official model name)

I experimented then for some time with full-sized wireless keyboard, and that felt pretty awkward. First, the thing was big. It felt just wrong somehow. And now, I feel like I need to start the next sentence with "Second, ....", but no, that is pretty much it. The thing was big.

And then, it died (well to be more precise, the USB receiver died, and from the usability standpoint, it is pretty much the same thing). So, problem was solved. I returned it back, and started my consumerist journey once more: eBay was my home again.

Several things I wanted from my new wireless mini keyboard:
  1. Illuminated keys ("backlit"), because I would use it mainly in dark environments 
  2. Air Mouse, because I though it would be fun
  3. IR programmable remote, so I wouldn't need my TV and Stereo remotes nearby  
I have found all these requirements in one single product:  iPazzPort Wireless Fly Air Mouse Mini Keyboard 2.4GHz w/ IR Remote Black, which you can see on the picture above.

I was excited as a reused potato chip experiencing fresh cooking oil for the first time, as it arrived from some distant corners of People's Republic of China. It looked and felt great - small, light, robust, compact, ergonomic, even stylish with its shiny plastic cover. Then, I started using it. 

This review is a result of months of intensive lying on the couch watching TV shows, controlled by iPazzPort on irritating XBMC player. Yes, bloody irritating. Nevertheless.

Ah yes, the details. I have ordered new version of the previously reviewed and sold Rii Mini Keyboard in the meantime: Rii Mini i6. Why? Because I could. And because this air-mouse function on the iPazzPort was not so romantic as advertised. And because the stupid Fn + F1 key combination for triggering the keyboard illumination was slowly driving me mad. Yes, I know. It is the way of consumerism madness. Of course, I sold the iPazzPort as well :)

Rii Mini i6: upgrade of the first version Rii Mini Keyboard
Featuring standard coolness of the original + IC remote

So, here you go - the ultimate comparison table with borders and everything:

iPazzPort AirMouse Keyboard
Rii i6 Mini Keyboard

Smaller (air mouse) Bigger (because of the touch pad)
"Plastic" keyboard-press feeling More pleasant, softer keyboard-press feeling
Keyboard keys are more or less flat
(harder to distinguish them on touch)
Each keyboard key is elevated in the middle
(easier to distinguish them on touch)
Great, stylish slippery and shiny plastic back cover Great, rubberish mat plastic back cover
Not friendly, hard-to-navigate, and sometimes non-responsive air mouse function, which insists on physical labour (waving your hand like an idiot). Great, responsive touch pad. Physical labour is reduced to a minimum amount of movements, which is kinda an important point. Would be even better if it was multi-touch.
Physical objects in front of USB receiver
greatly reduce the functionality.
Physical objects in front of USB receiver greatly reduce the functionality.
Idiotic solution for turning on the key illumination:
You need to press both Fn and F1 buttons
simultaneously to turn it on.

So basically, you need to see the keys in the complete darkness in order to turn on the illumination in order to see the keys in the complete darkness.
Well done, iPazzPort designers.
One button, in the top-left corner, which turns on the keyboard illumination. 

Simple as that, and way smarter than some other idiotic solutions.
Keyboard back light illuminates only the primary key functions. Keyboard back light illuminates both the primary and alternative ("Fn") key functions.
"Fn" functions are even illuminated in different colour!
Harder to distinguish the arrow keys. Easier to distinguish the arrow keys.
More buttons for IR remote (11 in total). Less buttons for IR remote (10 in total).
Two different signalling LED colours dedicated for controlling two different IR enabled devices.
Very useful when you are not sure which IR device is currently controlled.
Only one signalling LED colour for controlling both IR enabled devices. 
Better stand-by implementation.
You won't feel the need to turn it off completely in almost any occasion.
Irritating stand-by mode which flickers some LED light violently.
You can feel the need to turn in off completely in almost every occasion.
Additional buttons on the side of the device with unknown functions, but still, more buttons.  No additional buttons on the side of the device.
Easily learns key functions from other IR remotes. Easily learns key functions from other IR remotes.
Would be way useful if function keys (loudness, stop/play, etc.) were primal functions, and "F" keys (F1, F2, ...) were alternative functions. Who needs F keys anyway? Same as for iPazzPort. Just to emphasize: Who needs "F" keys anyway??
Handles low-battery situation with dignity and dies slowly, ignoring your key presses. Goes berserk when battery is nearly discharged. Starts to shoot full burst of random functions/key presses at the computer, and you need to switch it off manually before it makes your PC explode.

Left: iPazzPort Air Mouse
Right: Rii i6 Mini Keyboard
Both are charging via mini USB ports and have main on/off switches

Left: Rii i6 Mini Keyboard
Right: iPazzPort Air Mouse
iPazzPort has additional 2 keys with mystical powers and additional on/off switch for IC remote

Rii Mini i6 on the left has better keyboard illumination,
because it illuminates alternate key functions (even with different colour - blue)

Rii Mini i6 with backlit keyboard.
Click just one button - on the top left corner - for unbounded illuminated joy.

iPazzPort with backlit keyboard. 
Hate the Fn+F1 combination for illumination.
Hate the fact that alternate key functions are still in the dark. 

Rii back side: IC remote with easily programmable buttons for up to 2 devices
Mat black. No fingerprints.

iPazzPort back side: IC remote with easily programmable buttons for up to 2 devices
Shiny & stylish - if you keep it clean.

Rii IC remote illuminates two circles with red LED when you press buttons,
regardless of which two devices you are using

iPazzPort has two LED lights, orange and blue. This is orange.
It is associated with device you are currently operating (stereo device in this example).

iPazzPort has two LED lights, orange and blue. This is blue.
It is associated with device you are currently operating (TV in this example).

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