If it’s too simple, then it’s missing features you need. If it’s too complex, then it’s going to be really hard to learn.
If you’ve been looking at air mice for a while, you may recognize the design of the Mele F10 Deluxe. In fact, the Mele F10 has been around, in one form or another, for almost three years. In fact, the F10 Deluxe isn’t a new device either. But, because of it’s great performance in our air-mouse head to head tests, I wanted to create a dedicated Mele F10 Deluxe review.
Did Mele get it right with the F10 Deluxe? Could it be the perfect blend of form and function?
Let’s find out.
From humble beginnings…
As I mentioned, the Mele F10 has been around a while.
There are three versions that have existed at one time or another: The Mele F10, the F10 Pro and the F10 Deluxe.
Although the basic case design of the Mele F10 hasn’t changed too much over the years, there have been several features that have been added to the mix. The F10 Pro took the basic design of the F10 and added a microphone and speaker, much like MINIX did with their A2 and A2 Lite air mice.
Unfortunately, there were some misses in both the F10 and F10 Pro. I’m not talking about simple things like the feel of the keyboard, or no backlighting. Those would be understandable.
For whatever reason, the original Mele F10 and F10 Pro did not include a full set of media controls. There was a pair of fast forward\reverse buttons on the F10 Pro. But, if you were looking for a simple Play\Pause button, you were out of luck. In their place was a set of customizable quick launch buttons for video game and telephone functionality.
I see two problems with this layout, unfortunately. I’ll explain so you can understand why it’s a good thing that Mele fixed it for the F10 Deluxe.
First, those buttons could be better used for other things. Think about how many people would use a Play\Pause button compared to the number of people making Skype calls on their Android TV box or HTPC. I’m sure there are people that do, but most people buy a TV box to watch movies. Know your target audience. 🙂
Second, configuring buttons manually can be a royal pain. Don’t get me wrong, having the option of customizable buttons is awesome. There’s a whole section of the Kodi wiki on how to create custom keymaps. Still, for the average user who just wants to watch a movie, it might be more trouble than it’s worth.
New to the Mele F10 Deluxe is a full row of media control buttons: Mute, Fast Forward\Reverse and Play\Pause. Some of these controls were in the F10 Pro, but they were more awkward to use due to where they were placed.
For example, the media control buttons are now directly underneath the circular D-pad, rather than on the bottom row where the quick-launch buttons now sit. This may sound like a little change, but it reduces the amount of space that your thumb has to travel when you want to click a button.
One thing they didn’t fix, however, was the keyboard. If you were waiting on a version of the F10 that included a backlit keyboard, you’re still going to have to wait a bit longer.
Mele F10 Pro vs Mele F10 Deluxe
The original Mele F10 is no longer in production, but you can still pick up an F10 Pro.
So what’s the difference between the F10 Pro and the F10 Deluxe?
The main difference in features is that the F10 Pro has a built-in microphone for voice commands or chat apps, such as Skype.
If you look at the two air-mice side by side, you’ll immediately notice two things. The Mele F10 Pro has a blue accent ring around the D-Pad, where the F10 Deluxe’s ring is orange. Also, the USB receiver is massive. Presumably this is to include the extra components to handle streaming audio, but personally, the size seems excessive.
By contrast, the USB adapter on the Mele F10 Deluxe is about as small as you’re going to get – roughly the same size as the Unified Receiver for a Logitech mouse or keyboard. The F10 Deluxe still had a maximum range of almost 20′ during my tests, but that was limited to the size of my room more than the strength of the signal. Official specs say the maximum range is 30 meters, although I’m not sure how you’d actually be viewing the TV screen at that distance unless you have a downright huge TV.
One of the new features in the Mele F10 Deluxe is the addition of a “Game Controller Mode.” To be honest, this isn’t a feature that is appealing to me. If I want to play a game, I’m going to hook up a dedicated game controller. Still, the option is there – such that it is. This feature doesn’t get much in the way of documentation in the user manual, and CNX-Soft had no luck getting it to work in their review.
Also in the “new features” category is a learning function for other IR remotes. In theory, the F10 Deluxe should be able to learn from any infrared remote, allowing you to copy specific buttons and pair them to one of the Mele’s customizable buttons.
Using the Mele F10 Deluxe
In my opinion, the feel of a remote control should fall into two categories. Either it should be ergonomically designed to fit perfectly in your hand, or it should be small and light enough for you to forget that you’re holding it when its not being used. The Mele F10 Deluxe falls into the second category.
I wrote this in the Remote Roundup article:
If you’re looking at primarily using the Mele F10 as an airmouse, you’re in for a treat. Although its rectangular shape isn’t ergonomic by any means, it is still very light and comfortable to hold. It doesn’t nestle into your hand like the Amazon remote, but there were a few times when I had forgotten I was holding it while watching a movie.
There’s a full QWERTY keyboard on the back side of the F10 Deluxe. One of the nice touches on this keyboard is the addition of a Left-Click button and Back Button. You can see them in the picture above in the top-left and top-right corners. This makes it easy to select or go-back without having to flip the air-mouse over in order to use the D-Pad.
The keys feel solid, and good quality. My thumbs are a little large for extended typing on the keyboard. I found myself hitting extra keys fairly often. But, if you’ve got smaller hands, or just decide to take a little more time than I did typing, you should be fine.
One last thing to note, there’s an internal rechargeable battery. This could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you feel about them. Personally, I have no complaints. Even though the amperage of the battery seems low (only 500 mAh), it lasted several days between charges with daily use.
The Mele F10 Deluxe has its faults, sure. But, I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. This really is a great air-mouse.
In daily use, it makes the transition from an air-mouse to a remote control and back again fairly seamlessly. It only took a few minutes to figure out where the buttons were on the remote, and from that point on, the rest seemed very intuitive. The remote is extremely comfortable to hold in your hand, and doesn’t require two hands to use – even when typing on the keyboard.
The bottom line for me is that the Mele F10 Deluxe is one of my two standard air-mice that I use on my personal setup. It gives me great performance in a package that’s comfortable to use.
You can’t go wrong with that.