I hate remote controls.
No seriously. Unless it’s a Harmony Remote with a full color screen that does everything I want – including making me dinner – I’d rather slit my wrists than use a cheap, standard remote control. It’s gotten to the point that whenever I buy a new piece of technology, the first thing I do is upgrade the remote control. Sometimes the upgrade isn’t even a remote at all. Especially for Android TV boxes. As much as manufacturers would like us to believe that we can get the most out of our Android TV boxes with a D-pad remote control, it just isn’t going to happen. Remote controls are designed for flipping through channels, not surfing the web, sending texts or emails.
For that, you need a keyboard.
The iPazzPort Mini
iPazzPort has developed an entire line of mini keyboards, touchpen mice and other cool gadgets designed to help get the most out of your PC or Android device. A fan favorite for the Android crowd is the iPazzPort mini.
The iPazzPort mini wireless keyboard takes a wireless keyboard and touchpad combination and shrinks it down to the size of a standard remote control. At just under six inches long, this remote control is only slightly bigger than my Nexus 5 phone. It takes two AAA batteries and connects via RF to a USB connector – meaning the range is about 5-10 feet, depending on how much interference is in your area. It’s worth noting that iPazzPort also makes a Bluetooth version, which will up that range to 30 feet.
As you can see in the picture, the touchpad is only slightly bigger than my thumb. If you hold the keyboard horizontally, you can type out an email or enter a web URL easily – much better than clicking around the screen using a D-pad. If you don’t need the keyboard, simply flip the device and use the touchpad with your thumb. The device won’t sense which way it’s pointed, so you’ll have to adjust on your own.
The keys are surprisingly solid for a sub$20 device. They are made with a solid rubber that gives a satisfying “click” when pressed. All in all, it reminds me of the old LG Env QWERTY phone. For a cellphone, that’s not a good thing. For a keyboard, though, it’s pretty good.
The iPazzPort Mini is one of those “”just right” devices. It’s much better than the standard remotes that ship with most devices, and much smaller than a full size keyboard. If you want more functionality, but don’t think that a big HTPC keyboard will look good next to your living room couch, take a look at the iPazzPort.