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   Review: Logitech Cordless MediaBoard Pro
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Review of Logitech's Cordless Bluetooth MediaBoard Pro for Playstation 3, also covering Linux compatibility, setup and media button placement.
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Item: Logitech Cordless MediaBoard Pro Bluetooth
Reviewer: Huseyin Yedipinar for Mobilitysite / March 2008
Vendor: Logitech (Link to product page) Part Number PN 968011-0403
MSRP: $79.99 (Available from online retailers as low as $45, at the time of review $60 at Amazon)

Media Image 2 When I received the unit from Logitech, I expected something simple, light, low-quality plastic and somewhat hallow unit. It was nothing but high quality, glossy, matching black, perfectly balanced and just the right weight keyboard. Nicely priced at the time of review at $60, even better when it was on sale last month at Amazon for $45, this keyboard is the second in the line of Logitech MediaBoard PS3 series, the original Logitech PS3 MediaBoard came with USB Adapter with RF transmitter, and was based on 2.4Ghz wireless technology. It worked perfectly well with Linux, but did not have dedicated buttons, and was priced just $10 less than this one. This unit is Bluetooth, does not require any adapters or transmitters, and works right out of the box with your PS3 or your PC without any drivers, installations, or long setup process…

This keyboard works on 2.4 GHz Bluetooth wireless technology which means it should give you up to only 30 feet range, but it does not (in a good way). I fired it up, paired with my PS3 and started walking. I kept hitting pause/play button with 10 feet intervals. I kept walking… and walking.. Incredibly, it has a range of 150 ft+. I only had 150 ft room on our hallway, and I went as far as I could. It kept functioning as if I was sitting right next to PS3. Very good range.

Media Link 3 Keyboard has a dedicated power button, and when it senses no signal, will not fully turn on. You will save battery with this on-off button. The power button is not the easiest to operate, but that might be a good thing, you don’t want it turning off by mistake. Just make sure when you are sliding, you don’t actually apply pressure to it from the top. Applying pressure results in no sliding at all. Just use your fingernail to gently push it from side to side. That means it is time to give up that nasty fingernail biting habit! According to Logitech, this unit should have 200hrs usage time with two AA batteries. I have been testing it for two weeks, with roughly 1-2 hrs each day, and forgetting it on once or twice, it is still going strong. With stronger pair of batteries, I don’t think you will have to change the batteries anytime soon.  For the ease of use, circle button O is Escape and X button is Enter keys on Keyboard, which makes sense since those function as Enter and Escape on PS3. You have dedicated Square, Cross, Triangle and Circle keys, plus you have Menu, Fast Forward, Rewind, Play, Pause and BD-DVD Menu keys.

POWER SLIDER BD MENU BUTTON CONTROL BUTTONS

Another thoughtful and a very nice touch by Logitech is that they included two AA batteries in the packing. That was a delight! :) You don’t have to steal your TV remote’s batteries.

DSC06091 BATTERY COMPARTMENT

Keyboard comes with “Installation Guide” which is nothing but a big sheet of paper folded into a small square “booklet”. It does not give you any instruction on how to pair it with your PS3, but I believe that’s PS3s responsibility, in either case, it is very simple and straight forward. Scroll down to the end of the review for pairing pictures.

There are a few things omitted from the keyboard, one is Start button, and the other is PlayStation button. Also there are no Next or Previous button, so you cannot easily advance or go back to the previous song when you are listening to music or watching movies. This is due to lack of shoulder (trigger) buttons. It could have been perfect if Logitech added those keys next to the current navigation keys. You also will not be able to easily zoom in and out of web pages since there are no L3 or R3 buttons. Although, you can use the menu button to bring up those functions to on-screen menu.

RESET BUTTON

Reset button placement is awkward with very easy access to it, so you may press it by accident, you will have to turn it off then back on and reconnect. I wish reset button was underneath some type of cover and hidden a bit deeper. Keyboard has two little tabs that fold which can be used for when it is on flat surface and to tilt it for more comfortable typing. Another incredibly simple but very useful touch is two strips of rubber pads at lower end of the back. Those strips prevent keyboard from sliding when you use the tabs to raise it. A great location for a reset button would be underneath one of those folding tabs, since you would not use the tabs when you use it on your lap or on a couch. When you are done, just fold the tabs and put it under your coffee table. It is slim, so you can tuck it away easily.

KEYBOARD FEET LITTLE TAB LITTLE PLASTIC STOPPERS

Keys are a bit stiff and a little bit noisier than I would expect. Not clicky noise, but there is some noise compared to other keyboards, so if someone is sleeping next to you they may get irritated with the constant keyboard key tapping, yet it is still quieter then some of the other USB keyboards I worked with.

The track pad/touchpad could have been a bit more sensitive, but I guess because it is right on the board, they chose to make it less sensitive, and track pad is too small so if you think about making sudden mouse movement, this may not be the thing. If you want dead-on accuracy, nothing wireless will give you that, so you may want to go with USB mouse if you plan on drawing pictures, or if you will be doing editing jobs. Track pad keys are conveniently placed underneath the pad and have right resistance. In addition to those left and right mouse buttons, you have dedicated keys on your keyboard where you would generally have Windows and Function keys, that work as Left and Right mouse clicks. Track pad works great with web browser and PSN Store. It is responsive, and with scroll function on the right you don’t need to click and hold to scroll up or down pages.

KEYBOARD PROFILE TRACKPAD MOUSE BUTTONS KEYS

Prepare to wipe a lot of fingerprints off this keyboard, it matches PS3 texture exactly the same, so it will leave a lot prints behind, and will collect dust. Just get a $0.99 eyeglass wipe-cloth from your favorite optical shop, or online, or steal your wife’s duster.

Another drawback is (This one is PS3’s fault) you cannot type the name of the file on the XBR to go directly to it. So if you have 200 songs under your media section, and you want to skip to the songs that start with letter H, you cannot just hit H on keyboard to skip down to that section. You will have to scroll all the way down. I think it is PS3’s design flaw.

KEYBOARD BOX 1 POWER LIGHT

Support for PC and usage: This unit works perfectly well with anything else that supports Bluetooth, and will connect without any problems. If your PC does not have Bluetooth, you can get a dongle/adapter for a very reasonable price and get this connected. If you are worried about lack of Start key on the keyboard, you don’t really need it. All it normally does emulate CTRL+ESC keys. This is Windows’ own function, regardless of which keyboard you are using. For all other shortcuts, you may want to check this article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/126449

Support for PS3 Linux and usage: If you are thinking this unit will work out of the box with YDL or other Linux distros on PS3, think again. This keyboard or any other Bluetooth keyboard/track pad combo will not function properly on PS3 Linux distros without simple custom modification. But don’t just give up on this yet, with introduction of Yellow Dog Linux 6.0 on PS3 -which is the official Linux of PS3- you now have the ability to use both keyboard and track pad with your “Linux on PS3″. Earlier versions still do not support track pad, but keyboard still functions perfectly fine. YDL 5.0.2 and later versions, including 6.0 supports this keyboard. Logitech does not officially support Linux and you cannot complain as this keyboard is intended for GameOS only. To get your keyboard working on your Linux, follow these simple steps, anyone who is intelligent enough to get Linux on their PS3 will be able to get this keyboard up and running in no time.

The instructions to get it working for 5.0 and later, as posted on Yellowdog Boards, as following:

  1. Install bluez from http://www.bluez.org
    or use YUM to install it (make sure you have updated repos from YDL forums)
    Go to Terminal and type following:
    yum install bluez*
  2. Turn on your keyboard and make it discoverable/visible (press the reset button)
  3. Go to Terminal and type following
    hctool scan

    After a few seconds, you will see an output as following (with your own MAC address) :
    Scanning..
    00:07:84:22:EC:3F Logitech Cordless MediaBoard Pro(TM)

  4. After this, just type
    hidd –connect YOUR OWN KEYBOARD’S MAC ADDRESS HERE
    hit enter. That’s all there is to it. This is supported in YDL 5.0.1 and later.
  5. If you want it to automatically connect, update your rc.local file with hidd –connect MAC ADDRESS command, and it will load during boot. But when I tried mine without this section, it still connected fine when I restarted YDL.

If this short version does not work for you, try the following method. With above you should have no problems setting it up.
Second method:

  1. Install bluez from http://www.bluez.org
    or use YUM to install it
    Go to Terminal and type following:
    yum install bluez*
  2. Reboot your PS3 Linux
    shutdown -r 0
  3. Sign in as root
  4. Turn on your keyboard and make it discoverable/visible (press the reset button)
  5. Go to Terminal and type following
    hctool scan
  6. After a few seconds, you will see an output as following:
    Scanning..
    00:07:84:22:EC:3F Logitech Cordless MediaBoard Pro(TM)
  7. Please note the hex value will be different for everyone’s keyboard.
  8. Now edit your /etc/bluetooth/hcid.conf file and make it look like this:
    #
    # HCI daemon configuration file.
    #

    # HCId options
    options {
    # Automatically initialize new devices
    autoinit yes;

    # Security Manager mode
    # none - Security manager disabled
    # auto - Use local PIN for incoming connections
    # user - Always ask user for a PIN
    #
    security user;

    # Pairing mode
    # none - Pairing disabled
    # multi - Allow pairing with already paired devices
    # once - Pair once and deny successive attempts
    pairing multi;

    # PIN helper
    #pin_helper /usr/bin/bluepin;

    # D-Bus PIN helper
    dbus_pin_helper;
    }

    # Default settings for HCI devices
    device {
    # Local device name
    # %d - device id
    # %h - host name
    name “PS3 BT Host (%d)”;

    # Local device class
    class 0×3e0100;

    # Default packet type
    #pkt_type DH1,DM1,HV1;

    # Inquiry and Page scan
    iscan enable; pscan enable;

    # Default link mode
    # none - no specific policy
    # accept - always accept incoming connections
    # master - become master on incoming connections,
    # deny role switch on outgoing connections
    lm accept;

    # Default link policy
    # none - no specific policy
    # rswitch - allow role switch
    # hold - allow hold mode
    # sniff - allow sniff mode
    # park - allow park mode
    lp rswitch,hold,sniff,park;

    # Authentication and Encryption (Security Mode 3)
    #auth enable;
    #encrypt enable;
    }

  9. Now the final step is to enable the connection, go to your Terminal and type following:
    hidd –connect MAC ADDRESS [The Hex Value of your own Keyboard provided previously] It should now work with your Linux installation on your PS3.

Support for Mobile Devices and usage: Although device gets properly identified by both Windows Mobile 6 and Blackberry OS 4.2.2, it does not function. Both devices identify it as Input Device but will not allow typing. It could be due to track pad or the way it was designed. Someone could possibly write a small script enabling or allowing it to negotiate with the device, but do you really want to haul the keyboard under your coat, and pull it every time you want to send an SMS or an e-mail? 

BLACKBERRY 1 BLACKBERRY 2 BLACKBERRY 3 BLACKBERRY 4  BLACKBERRY 5 BLACKBERRY 6 BLACKBERRY 7  WINDOWS MOBILE 1 WINDOWS MOBILE 2 WINDOWS MOBILE 3  WINDOWS MOBILE 4 WINDOWS MOBILE 5 WINDOWS MOBILE 6 WINDOWS MOBILE 7

Last words: I just cannot believe some of things I have been hearing about not being able to use the small track pad in games. This keyboard is not meant to completely eliminate the usage of a mouse. I would never assume you could use this track pad to aim or quickly move around FPS games that support keyboard and mouse. For that, you can grab a $10 infrared mouse and it will work just fine. If you want to spend a bit more, you can always go for another Bluetooth mouse. But if your main purpose is to play games with mouse/keyboard, I would recommend going with a separate, Bluetooth mouse/keyboard combo such as Logitech Cordless Desktop MX series.

MENU BUTTON

If you are into browsing the web, typing messages or chatting with people over your PS account, this is the best thing you can get, at a good price, and matches your PS3 perfectly. I will give it 4 stars out of possible 5. It is losing a star due to lack of shoulder/trigger buttons, dedicated PS button, and small track pad. Overall, if you don’t want to sit 3 feet from your big screen TV, typing up stuff, surfing the web, or chatting, or if you just want to type up reports, surf the web, watch YouTube videos, post wise comments and replies full of LOLs and ROFLs on blogs, or play Linux games (Emulator-Friendly!), this is just the thing for you! THUMB UP

There are some shortcuts:

ALT + LEFT ARROW (or BACKSPACE) Return to the previous page.
ALT + RIGHT ARROW (or SHIFT + BACKSPACE) Go to the next page.
CTRL + LEFT ARROW (or CTRL + SHIFT + TAB) Move to the left window.
CTRL + RIGHT ARROW (or CTRL + TAB) Move to the right window.

Pictures of pairing it with PS3.

REGISTER STEP 1 REGISTER STEP 2 REGISTER STEP 3  REGISTER STEP 4 REGISTER STEP 5 REGISTER STEP 6

REGISTER STEP 7 REGISTER STEP 8 REGISTER STEP 9 - WAIT TOO LONG  REGISTER STEP 9 REGISTER STEP 10 COMPLETE

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by leaving a comment, or by clicking on my username. 

 
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