Lenovo Mini Wireless Keyboard N5901
Couch potatoes, your keyboard-mouse is here: the Lenovo Mini Wireless Keyboard N5901
- Compact, excellent operating range
- Trackball takes some getting used to
It's not perfect, but the Lenovo Mini Wireless Keyboard N5901 makes a great addition to any couch potato's entertainment centre.
Price$ 79.00 (AUD)
Lenovo's Mini Wireless Keyboard N5901 crams a keyboard and mouse into a svelte shell, offering a compact way to improve your home theater PC experience.
Priced at $79, the N5901 is fairly attractive. The black and orange motif is simple and elegant, though the glossy finish is prone to picking up fingerprints. Despite being lightweight, it feels solid and should hold up well in even the most chaotic of living rooms. Power comes from a pair of AAA batteries; they didn't run down during my testing, but the lack of a battery indicator means that you should probably keep a few spares handy.
The device communicates with your PC by way of a tiny USB dongle. In my use, it had excellent range: I wandered into other rooms, at distances up to 32 feet (which Lenovo quotes as the maximum), without breaking connectivity.
Plenty of wireless devices tout their plug-and-play functionality, but I was pleasantly surprised at how readily a range of test devices detected the N5901. It connected to desktops running Windows 7, Vista, and XP without a hitch. And after a moment of confusion when I attempted to use the N5901 on a MacBook Pro (OSX isn't officially supported), I was up and running with it as well.
Most keyboards this small tend to be a bit painful to operate; but even for my oversized mitts, typing on the N5901 wasn't too much of a chore (physical mobile phone keyboards are smaller). Though touch-typing is impractical on it, the keyboard — with its raised keys of uniform size — was wide enough to keep my hands from cramping, Still, it clearly isn't intended for chores more involved than search queries and occasional e-mail messages.
The N5901 is equally comfortable to hold with one hand (while scrolling about) or with two (for thumb-typing), but Lenovo's decision to replicate a full-size keyboard actually works against the device. The Menu key, for instance, or the pair of Control and Shift keys are handy when you're rattling out prose on a full-size keyboard, but they are a waste of space on something this compact.
The keyboard's lack of a shortcut to Windows Media Center is a glaring oversight in a device that's supposed to simplify the user's living-room PC experience. Instead, it offers a key whose sole function is to fire up the My Computer window. And since the device lacks any sort of software, you'll have to use a third-party utility to reprogram that button to perform something. The N5901 does offer volume and playback controls, which continued to function properly even when I tested them on OSX.
The N5901's mousing features are fairly serviceable. The trackball rolls smoothly, though it's rather noisy--and when you're planted on the couch in the dead of night, the incessant warble of plastic on metal will quickly start to grate on your nerves. The left and right mouse buttons are flush with the keyboard's body, and click satisfyingly. Navigating can be a bit of a chore, however. Simple acts such as clicking on a link become a two-step operation: First you scroll with the trackball; then you move your thumb onto the appropriate mouse button. Common tasks like scrolling through a Web page or dragging a window require both hands, diminishing the device's overall ease of use.
Lenovo's N5901 is a lesson in compromise. You don't get the usability of a standard wireless keyboard and mouse--but good luck getting comfortable with that ensemble while you're splayed out on the couch. The N5901's keyboard could stand to become a bit more streamlined, and most of my gripes with the mouse would vanish if Lenovo replaced the trackball with a trackpad. Still, for a device whose purpose is to help couch potatoes navigate their media, it does a reasonably good job.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- AMD will sneak-peek its high-end Zen CPU in December, starting a new CPU war
- 5 burning questions about AMD's Zen chip
- Nvidia tempts GeForce Experience 3.0 users with Gears of War 4 giveaway
- Intel's latest Xeon chips based on Skylake due next year
- Intel packs more horsepower in its monster 22-core processor
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- CCDigital Business Analyst - Apps DevelopmentNSW
- FTChange ManagerACT
- TPLearning/Instructional DesignerQLD
- CCVMWare Automation ArchitectACT
- FTJava DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Business AnalystSA
- FTSoftware EngineerSA
- FTPHP DeveloperQLD
- TPSenior Business Analyst - Risk & ComplianceNSW
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- CCSenior Test AnalystQLD
- FTCheckpoint Firewall and VPNNSW
- CCSenior Murex DeveloperVIC
- CCAgile CoachWA
- CC3x DevOps / Integration Developers l AWS- Cloud- Linux- Puppet Ansible- JIRA-DNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXNSW
- FTPMO Coordinator - Permanent Opportunity!NSW
- FT.NET DEVELOPER | MID-SENIOR LEVEL | MEDIA INDUSTRYNSW
- FTSecurity Incident / SOC Analyst (Tier 1) - Permanent - North Ryde BasedNSW
- TPDrupal Developer - Immediate startQLD
- FTTechnical Account ManagerNSW
- CCSenior C++ Software EngineerACT
- TPSenior Project ManagerVIC
- CCPMO Analyst - Financial ServicesNSW