The Logitech Revue, and Google TV, have raised plenty of eyebrows as of late. So I opened one up and took a look inside. Come, let’s see what there is!
Open up the Revue package and you’ll find the keyboard remote, the actual Revue, and a small box for cables. The keyboard remote acts as a keyboard, a mouse using the trackpad on the top-right of the keyboard, and a partial universal remote for your TV. But just in case you can’t get used to the idea of using a keyboard as a remote, don’t fret. Any Logitech Harmony remote, their diNovo Mini (which is now just called a Mini Controller), or an iPhone or Android-based phone with the proper app. So really, the keyboard might actually be kind of useless except for deeper use, but we’ll see in the full review.
The Revue comes with all the cables you’ll need to get started, including power, HDMI, and an IR receiver, just in you put the box somewhere the light don’t shine.
The keyboard is nothing special, but is made specifically to work as a media center keyboard with both your TV and Revue, instead of just being a keyboard. That means it’s light, easy to type on, pretty durable and includes some universal functions, such as power and volume controls. Within 30 seconds of installation of the Revue, I was able to power my TV on and off and change the volume with this remote. Bye bye, TV remote.
This keyboard also has a trackpad that supports multitouch, but the only gesture I found worked is two-finger scrolling. Typing on it felt rubbery, but in front of the TV, was pretty good. You don’t want to be typing much in front of the TV, and a quick note or two, or a website URL, proved easy thus far.
My first problem with the Revue was, frankly, where to put it. My media center has no shelves or storage space. My game consoles sit on the ground, my speakers on the walls or atop some surface better suited for use elsewhere, and until this review, cables came out of every hole in my media center. The only available spot that wasn’t inside the base my TV sits on (which has limited circulation) was atop my unused media center PC, as seen above.
As you can see from my media center, real estate is at an all-time mess. Once the holidays come about and I have some DIY time, I’ll find a better home for the Revue.
Onto the camera. Logitech’s TV Cam is specially made for the Revue and for use in your media center. What that means is that it won’t work on your computer, at least not yet. It’s a high-quality 720p webcam with several microphones, and Logitech promises the quality is top notch. We’ll have to test it to confirm.
Installing the Revue
As one colleague of mine wrote, his wife installed the Revue with no installation guide or help, and she’s not tech savvy in the slightest. After my own installation, I agree wholeheartedly. If my grandmother had better vision and knew what an HDMI cable was and had an email address, she too could install the Revue without help. Just take a look at one of the install screens to get a sense of the simplicity: There was nothing to it. Within five minutes I had it working with my TV and set-top box.
I like the Revue so far. The interface is fluid and intuitive, though at first I was confused by the layout. It’s pretty different from a computer or media center PC, but after a quick look through I found everything I needed. Funnily enough, my biggest problem was that sound didn’t work (later on I realized it was my TV speakers, which have been turned off for at least 3 years, since I purchased a surround sound system but have since run out of available inputs for it), and I couldn’t locate the settings menu very easily. It was in applications…why, I do not know, but considering my time with Android, such placement makes sense. One of these days Google will fix that. Content seemed a bit shallow, and recent news has been that major cable networks have been cutting off access from the Revue. I don’t see what the big deal is…Google can easily make a firmware update so that Chrome on the Revue works just like the PC version, and then all web content will be viewable once again. It won’t be nearly as convenient as we originally expected, but it will work nevertheless. Other apps, like Netflix, Pandora and Twitter all worked great straight out of the box. I’m looking forward to reviewing the full hardware, so stay tuned.