May 282010

As I prepared my WinDays presentation, I noticed that I was missing one key piece of hardware – wireless presenter. While I could jump back and forth toward my keyboard, I decided to take lazy way out and to buy cheapest presenter that I could find. My choice fell on AMP13EU (AMP13US for U.S.A. market) priced at $50.

First sight was spoiled by indestructible plastic package. It took five bazooka shots to open it half-way. Once I opened it, everything got better – batteries ARE included. As I was inserting batteries inside I noticed that only one battery is really needed. You will get two batteries. There will even be place for two batteries inside, but only one battery has electric contact. Other one just sits in it’s compartment as emergency spare. Great idea.

In between batteries there is one additional compartment with small USB receiver. I am usually nervous about loosing such small USB thingies but place for storage inside of presenter made me feel little bit easier. It is not as comfortable as having bluetooth based one but this at least works with Windows Server 2008.

USB was immediately recognized as “Human Interface Device” and system thought of it as generic keyboard. Previous/Next slide buttons are interpreted by Windows as PageUp/PageDown keys and they can be used in any application. If you are Apple fan, support for KeyNote and PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts is available via small hardware switch.

As buttons go, on top you have standard next and previous slide buttons, start/stop presentation, blank screen and laser pointer. On side there is on/off and lock button. Locking device disables all buttons except next, previous and laser. I do like this mode just because of color changes (yes, I am that shallow :)) but I do not find it particularly useful otherwise. Buttons are spaced quite nicely so there is little if no chance of accidental key presses.

Front of device is polished black (a.k.a. as shade that attracts fingerprints) while background is rigged. While I prefer gummy finish myself I also must admit that device wasn’t slippery even in wet hands.

I am not sure about official range for device but it seems to be quite large. During my presentations I moved something like 10 meters from computer and it was still working. I do not think that I need more than that.

Only real problem I had with device is turning it off since you must press on/off button for couple of seconds. Since there is no visual feedback on “shutdown” status this usually results in more than one attempt.

Device did it’s job and I must recommend it for that. There are no advanced features (e.g. mouse control) so I am not sure whether it will be good fit for advanced presenter but for me it is more that enough. And, if they added storage “baggie” in packing it would be near to perfect.

P.S. If you are not interested in laser pointer or any other feature except for next/previous slide, AMP18EU (or AMP12US) has pretty much same features while being slightly cheaper.

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