It is of general knowledge that the presenters are meant to be used for presentation managing, which implies two important functions: firstly, the device is meant to be wireless and should have operating range of at least 10 meters; secondly, the device possesses mouse functions. Among the preferable yet not necessary functions one may mention the laser pointer function. By the way, a skillfully organized presentation usually doesn’t make one scrutinize huge slides for small details.
After better consideration one may attribute the presenters to a comparatively new type of product. To be precise its history starts a couple of years ago at most. It is just in the present time that quite a modest range, consisting from separate models from popular and not really popular manufacturers, emerges.
Today we are to get acquainted with the Logitech Cube presenter, which was demonstrated for the first time this year at the CES 2012 in Las Vegas. The device was highly appreciated by the participants and got the exhibition design and engineering award at the sphere of computer technologies. Telling the truth, Logitech’s device is not a revolutionary one, it is sooner “a-good-and-evident-idea” type of devices. Still such products always draw attention.
Cube Presenter is supplied with black or white body color, as for us we got the latter alternative. Just looking at the device it is difficult to say either about its purpose or about its two base functions. The Cube has a shape of a rectangle with slightly rounded corners, in order to make it comfortable when in hands. One should mention as well that the device has extremely light weight; it is scarcely heavier than a matchbox.
It is necessary to mention that Cube has quite a strange list of specifications. On the device’s site Logitech doesn’t give any dimensions or other parameters. The most useful knowledge that one may acquire from the “Specifications” tab is a list of operation systems supported by the device: Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7; Mac OS X 10.5. The “Technical Specifications” link leads to the FAQ list. We found the information presented here on the English version of Logitech site. As for the Russian version, the device “doesn’t exist” and the reason for that is the absence of official sales on the territory of the CIS.
Getting back to the Cube outlook one may mention that some of its users for a reason compare its style to the Apple style, which may be considered as a compliment. The body frame has black color with non-staining glossy cover. The “inserts” into the main surface are most probably covered with transparent plastic, which hides fingerprints.
Cube is quite of an ergonomic device. Taking into consideration the dimensions of the device one may say that Logitech made it as much convenient as it’s possible. Cube has sunk sides and the front part which makes it really convenient for fingers when using it in the mouse function. The front part of the upper side is sunk as well with purpose. One may not look at Cube during the whole course of the presentation and yet to feel where the button surface is located.
Controls and Connectors
It makes no sense to describe all sides of the Cube, for that reason just “useful” peculiarities of its body are going to be described. The upper part has two buttons with the same functions as those of an ordinary mouse.dsc_0006.jpg
The left-click equivalent is located in the front part, the right one is found closer to the centre. Considering the available area it is quite a reasonable design decision. There is no apparent scroll function, but one should not get upset, as it became clear, the device has sensor surface which enables smooth scrolling like in Smartphones and Tablets.
The front side has microUSB connector which is only used to charge the device. Beside it there is an on/off switch. In the same area the light indicator that switches on in case of low battery charge is placed.
Cube is not used with ordinary batteries and one may stay calm about that drawback. On the other hand there is no information from Logitech about the capacity of the lithium-polymer fixed battery or at least about its estimated run time. The company claims that the device operates for a long time, and the battery discharges in correspondence to the tasks being performed. However, it appears that the devise performs just two tasks and it wouldn’t be a great job for the manufacturer to check the operation time for each of them.
Logitech is traditionally famous for its packing design, considering the above mentioned Cube leaves rather mixed feelings. The main box is made from ordinary industrial cardboard with information about the product printed on it. Still we can not be sure that Cube is sold in the same packing in Europe and the USA. According to the given information inside the box we are to find the device itself, a receiver, a USB-cable, a manual and a hard case.
But in practice the packaging included just a cube-box with beautiful design (eventually true Logitech-style) whereas the inside part of the original box had a receiver and the Cube itself. That was all.
Thanks to the images from the other sites we saw quite an interesting case which we didn’t manage to get in real life.
Connection and Operation Peculiarities
Before connected to a computer Cube uses a tiny Logitech Unifying receiver, that is nowadays applied at all the wireless keyboards and mice of the company. The receiver operates at the frequency of 2.4 GHz and provides connection at the distance of 25 meters. One of the special advantages of the receiver is the possibility to switch up to 6 Logitech devices to it, which means that there’s no need to occupy other USB connectors.
First and foremost we downloaded the Unifying program, which is necessary for the receiver. The installation got just a few clicks and the screen with further instructions appeared. In accordance to the instructions we switched on Cube and that was confirmed by the green indicator of the device. The signal was found and Cube immediately started to perform mouse functions.
To perform the setting of Cube one needed to download SetPoint drivers, the universal tool for Logitech manipulators.
The main window shows that Cube was automatically identified; the battery charge time appeared beside the device name. Among the available settings one may find the pointer speed, its acceleration, scroll step and Smart Move options, as well as the pointer trace option.
As it turned out, the Smart Move option is the scroll function that may be found in each and every mobile device with a sensor screen. The core principle of that function is that one starts scrolling with a sliding touch while when the finger is put off the screen the scroll continuous “inertially”. The time and speed of the scrolling depend on the speed and size of the screen sliding touch. That function offered by Logitech deserves the highest grade, frankly speaking, the scroll of an ordinary mouse doesn’t seem so convenient after the Cube scroll was once used.
The Battery tab allows showing the battery charge time both in percents and days that are left. One is also assured that the program is informing about the low battery charge.
We didn’t manage to get through to its settings. Despite correct connection and operation of Cube and Set Point, the device was ignoring Unifying receiver.
The Cube body shape is quite inconvenient for long usage in the mouse function. Even the smaller notebook “rodents” are not really ergonomic, quite often they don’t have enough body length, which is inconvenient, especially for men. As for the device being revised now, its body is absolutely tiny and, what is more, has unpractical rectangular shape. One cannot at all say that a hand “grips the device” or that it is lying on it. One sooner has to hold the device with two fingers and palm starts to get tired because of such an unusual job. Holding a good mouse a palm rests while holding Cube it gets tired.
The doubts about quite an unusual location of the buttons, the left one in the upper part and the right one in the center – were resolved. Such an approach demonstrated its “right for existence”. We are not asserting that this design is better than a conventional one with both of the buttons placed in the same plane. As we have already mentioned the left-click area is a bit sunk and one feels “hill” of the right button very distinctly. It takes some time until one gets accustomed to put the index finger on the surface carefully, as the latter is sensitive to sliding and is used for scrolling.
Cube showed great results when used in the function of a presentation manager. The device do not apply the obvious way for slides change by pushing the upper button for going to the next slide and the lower one – for the previous slide. The new slide will be opened when any of the buttons in the “regular” Cube position is pushed. However, if one turns it over any of the buttons may be used to go to the previous slide or command.
Before we started testing, the Logitech choice seemed quite an illogical one, still later everything became clear. During a presentation a narrator may get really excited, sometimes becoming quite emotional starts using gestures and in that very moment the previous/next slide buttons placed according to the “obvious” principle are really easy to mix up. In practice it was exactly the body turnover that demonstrated the most intuitive slide order control. By the way, the presentation control mode switches on automatically, as soon as Cube leaves the surface.
Although it seems quite a simple unit from the outside Logitech Cube is the embodiment of a thoroughly calculated design especially for a device as tiny as it is. It offers really user-friendly control solutions and it is indeed good at presentation managing yet Cube is not the best mouse. Moreover, its competitors cannot boast of offering the sensor scroll and Smart Move functions.
Speaking about drawbacks one should mention that the device is not equipped with a laser pointer. It is possible that a pointer could have spoiled the “simple control” principle, anyway, it is the fact that the device has no any pointer. Eventually, the official price of ˆ69.99 seems to be a big one. It is not that the device is not worth it, but such a price automatically reduces the number of potential buyers and the device becomes suitable just for those who often have to make presentations and mainly when away. In that case, the mouse function, as well as the large operation range of 25 meters, convenient in a lecture hall of any size, seems quite useful.
As it was said above Logitech Cube costs about ˆ69.99. The alternate presenters should be considered only if they have the mouse function, which makes Oklick Wireless Presenter Mouse 805M the best competitor. It was issued in 2011 and seems to be quite a good choice, not any worse than Cube.
The device has the shape of a mouse and the body is really convenient for holding in hands and managing of presentations. The device has a laser pointer and even a mini-joystick to control the cursor when in the air. The price is absolutely acceptable – about $35, but it’s really difficult to find the device on offer.
The conceptual Genius Ring Presenter is a much fresher example; it came into the market in March. That gadget has the shape of a ring and is to be put on the index finger while control is made by the thumb. The device has five buttons including those meant for presentation managing. The manufactures have found the place for a laser pointer as well. The mouse function is provided by a sensor trackball; the wireless connection is supported at the distance of 10 meters. About $40 is a bit expensive, but the device will obviously find its buyer.
- Stylish and ergonomic design for a presenter.
- Convenient control when used in the presenter mode.
- Big amount of settings.
- Sensor scrolling and Smart Move options.
- No laser pointer.
- Body shape is inconvenient when used in the mouse function.
- Inconvenient equivalent of the right and the left mouse buttons.
- Big price.