Review: diamond design Dune Keyboard

by Damian on June 14, 2011 · 9 comments

in Reviews

When it comes to controlling a media player, my money is still on using a solid universal remote (such as the Logitech Harmony line or others). However, as more and more media players integrate the online experience, the typical remote doesn’t quite cut it for navigating around. Most people don’t want to have a monster keyboard and mouse in their viewing room, and even finding a keyboard that is compatible with your media player can be a challenge. Well, if you are a Dune owner (such as the Dune Smart D1 or Dune BD Primediamond design may have the perfect keyboard for you, the diamond design Dune Keyboard.

Features:

  • Price – USD 39.99
  • Colors – Black, Silver, or White
  • RF Wireless
  • Tested and proven to work with Dune media players
  • Wireless USB adatper to plug into rear of Dune media player
  • USB charging cable (unit utilizes rechargable battery)
  • Wireless range of up to 30′
  • Backlit keyboard can illuminate keyboard at the touch of a button for use in dark home theaters
  • Ultra-small: 6″ long, 2.5″ wide & 1/2″ tall

Hardware:

Below is the box that the Dune Keyboard comes in (maybe not much larger then a brick)

Included in the box is the keyboard, User’s manual, Wireless USB adapter, and USB charging cable (keyboard utilizes rechargeable battery)

Here is a closer look at the keyboard. As you can see the trackpad at the right of the keyboard with your standard QWERTY keyboard taking up much of the keyboard.

The RF receiver comes tucked in a hidden slot in the keyboard. This is a nice feature, especially for those who may be bringing the keyboard along while traveling. A quick note, on the back of the keyboards being shipped will be included the FCC logo to the keyboard and also the FCC permit number (I have a prototype).

Here is a picture of the keyboard alongside the Logitech diNovo Mini to give a good sense of size.

Another size comparison against a Nintendo Wii remote.

Apologies for the blurry screenshot, but here is the keyboard when the backlit feature is enabled.

As you can tell by the pictures the Dune keyboard is small enough to operate with one hand and nowhere near as bulky as a traditional PC keyboard. It has a good feel to it and I felt comfortable handling.

Using The Dune Keyboard:

Using the keyboard with my Dune players was easy to , simply plug in the RF receiver into the USB port on the Dune, power up the keyboard remote, and you are ready to go. Navigating around was equally as easy. The trackpad can be used to navigate around the UI, or you can simply use the directional keys. One feature in particular that the Dune players come with is a web browser, something that the Dune Keyboard would seem perfectly suited for. I loaded up the web browser and to my surprise the browser combined with the keyboard worked extremely well. The keys felt very comfortable and I found it very easy to type without feeling like I was pressing multiple buttons at once. Since the keyboard can be backlit I never had to worry about seeing the keys, something that is a major failure with the Boxee Box remote.

An important area for me is range. Just about all my equipment is hidden behind cabinets, and typically the seating area is between 10 – 20 feet away. Being an RF keyboard already meets my requirements when it comes to operating equipment without the need of LoS (Line of sight). I tested the keyboard where the viewing distance was approximately 20 feet away from the Dune, and the RF receiver had no issues picking up  the signal. My two main requirements (operate without LoS and good range) have been met :-)

As I was testing the Dune Keyboard it got me thinking, could I possibly use the keyboard with other devices. I took the keyboard to my desktop PC, plugged in the RF receiver, and sure enough within a minute I had a fully functional wireless keyboard for my PC.  Next up, I decided to test out the keyboard on my ASUS EeePad Transformer Tablet, which when docked is supposed to accept external keyboards/mice. Sure enough once the RF receiver was plugged in the Dune keyboard had complete control over the tablet (screenshot below of the docked Transformer and the Dune keyboard)!

Final Thoughts:

Overall there isn’t a whole lot to say about the diamond design Dune Keyboard. It did exactly what I expected, controlling my Dune media players without the need for LoS and giving me the range I needed. It is an added bonus that the keyboard was able to work with a variety of other devices I tested on. At a price that is nearly a third of what I paid for the Logitech diNovo Mini I would consider it a bargain. A big thanks  to diamond designs for providing me with a test unit to review.





Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


{ 9 comments }

Paavo June 14, 2011 at 9:51 am

This is one cool gizmo! :)

I have had this one for about 3 months now and I nearly bought another one today for backup, if this isn’t sold anymore in Finland in the future. :D

This keyboard is sold under many different names. For example “Rii Mini” and “Prodige NanoX” in Finland. Finnish version costs 69,90 EUR (about 100 USD), but it comes with Fin/Swe keyboard layout, so the price premium is (almost) understandable.

There are bluetooth and “normal” 2.4 GHz RF versions available, some have laser pointers, some have “led flashlight”, some have touchpads and some “pointing sticks”. (Hint: ebay and search “Rii mini”). Nobady seems to know who the original manufacturer is but who cares… :)

This is fully PC/Mac/Linux/PS3 pnp-compatible device and Windows sees it as standard (HID) keyboard and mouse. There is nothing “Dune spesific” about this, so don’t let that name fool you. :) No need for drivers if your device can use standard USB keyboard and/or mouse.

I use it to control XBMC. Plug-and-play XBMC experience too – no need to fight with IR remotes/Universal remote key mappings.

Backlight is absolutely priceless.

Damian June 14, 2011 at 11:19 am

Yeah, I have actually seen this remote rebranded quite a few times. It really is a good wireless keyboard remote and I can definitely see using it in multiple ways. Thanks for your comments :-)

Paavo June 14, 2011 at 10:02 am

One note though:

If you have Wireless lan operating in 2.4 GHz frequency and it is transferring a lot of data, this keyboard may not perform well. I had this problem, but I solved it by changing wlan card from my laptop so I could move my wlan completely to 5 Ghz frequency.

If this is not possible, you can change “channel” from this keyboard (press fn + F1 for 10 sec) and try if that helps.

Bry1128 June 14, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I have this keyboard. The only limitation I’ve found is there is no F12 button. Changing the boot options in a dell this is neccesary.

Adam June 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I use the Rii variation from Amazon, around $37 shipped..
Only bad thing about it for me so far is no scroll built in to the touch-pad.

Comp1962 June 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Wow thats actually quite a cool device. I am curious as to how many other things it can be used with especially if it does have bluetooth. If the device is private labeled then the possibilities could be vast and the cost is affordable too.

PatrickGreene June 25, 2011 at 5:23 am

I have the bluetooth version. One problem – it will ‘break contact’ randomly, and the solution is to turn it off and back on. Kind of annoying. Also occasionally it will act like a key is stuck – think stuttering letter A or whatever in a box you are trying to type in. Again, turn off and on fixes it. I would try the wireless version before the bluetooth if you decide to try this based on my experience.

Damian June 25, 2011 at 5:51 am

Thanks Patrick. My Logitech diNovo Mini is Bluetooth as well and I have the same issue. There is no on/off button so I have to actually pull out the battery. I haven’t noticed this issue yet with this RF remote.

Chook August 31, 2011 at 4:02 pm

We have been using this remote for about 6 months, along side the Logitech diNovo. The Biggest advantage the Logitech has over this wireless keyboard (BT) is battery life. We are able to use the Logitech diNovo for a week before needing to charge its battery, where’s we get 3 days at best from this keyboard. Yes it does have a power switch along side of it that will help but the Logitech diNovo is constantly on (no power switch)
On the Bluetooth model, to activate the back light button you have to find the Function (Fn) key and the F1 key in the dark! Where’s on the 2.4 wireless model the back light is very Top Left button. Makes it easier to find in the dark ;) Also, the back light doesn’t stay lit for long (~30 sec) and having to stumble to find the Function and F1 keys is frustrating.

On a Positive, The touch pad does work very well. In fact we like it better than the Logitech diNovo touch pad. And, The price is right for such a handy but little frustrating remote keyboard mouse gadget.

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