[Buyer Beware! I “play” with various web tools, both software and hardware. I do not have insider knowledge, and I don’t get a “kick back” for products I review, or even endorse. However, sometimes I find an item that is exciting for me and I choose to share that info with others. Here is my initial review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV and why it might be a good deal if you want to have Internet connectivity in a classroom, cheaply. *If Logitech discontinues the product, or makes changes in the features, I do not offer any guarantee or warranty.]
About 6 months ago, I took a brief look at a “Sony WIFI BlueRay Player with Google TV” set top box with a wireless keyboard. The keyboard was surprisingly uncomfortable and unwieldy. I don’t recall what I was looking at on the Web, yesterday, but was reminded of this device and saw that Logitech had combined a hardware device, the Revue, with Google TV. *As I wrote the previous sentence, it came to me that I had been reminded of the Cisco UMI (home videoconferencing device), and in reading a review, it was mentioned that the Logitech Revue was a competing system. I googled for “Logitech Revue” and became more interested when I saw that it’s original price, somewhere over $350, had been reduced to only $99 (and there was no monthly fee as with the UMI). I suffered a “buying frenzy”, took off work about an hour early and drove directly to Best Buy to see if I could purchase the Logitech system.
I had gone onto the Best Buy web site and saw that there were Revue systems available at the Fayetteville, NC store. I walked in and headed to the back of the store. I did a quick loop, starting where I thought the devices might be, went past the cheap end of the TV wall, and finally after making a completed question mark, saw the devices just to the right of where I had originally thought they might be.
There was a flat screen TV, the black box (about the size of a small Bible), and the wireless keyboard (except for the security wire). There were no salesmen nearby, and none gravitated to me immediately. This gave me the opportunity to explore the device and see how intuitive it might be to use.
The keyboard was a light plastic, but was full-sized, with a touch pad in the upper right corner. I finally noticed the Home key and arrived at where everything starts. I saw a Google Chrome button and was in a browser. It took me several attempts to realize that the “OK” button did not work to select items after having moused over them. There is a select bar at the bottom of the touch pad, which is where it should be. *I have since found you can make the touchpad take “a tap as select” by clicking on the CTRL+FN+PgUp keys once.
Let me suggest that after playing with the system last night and most of this morning (at work… this is what I do), I have to say, “It is a great value. It does a bunch of neat stuff. And there are many things it doesn’t do at all, but in the overall mix are forgivable.
The system can be connected via a network cable, or easily connects via WIFI. It does not come with a network cable. It probably took 5 minutes or less, at work this morning, to get it connected. I used the HDMI cable that came with the system and hooked it in the back of my 32” Westinghouse TV which I also use as my primary monitor, via a VGA connector. I had to search for the TV remote so that I could easily switch between the VGA and HDMI ports. *I have a dual monitor system on a Windows 7 System, and noted that my Outlook email window was still accessible on the second monitor, even when I changed from VGA to HDMI on my TV monitor.
You can’t have multiple browser windows open for the Chrome browser. You can’t open and view PDF documents. But, it does Flickr, YouTube and many other online video sites very well. There are even video control buttons in the bottom right corner of the keyboard.
I am typing this posting in Gmail using the Revue System. There is no way to attach an image, or other file, even though those options are included in Gmail.
Okay, so here is where I think this system would shine… if it’s not discontinued for poor sales: If you have a TV monitor, with a HDMI connection, and an Internet connection (either hardwired, or WIFI with good bandwidth), then you can hook to the Internet for $99. Where else could you pay that little for a PC, laptop, or netbook at that great of a price? If you have a Google account, then you have email (which means you can blog to WordPress and other sites), a calendar system, documents, photos, etc.
I might worry about the keyboard being easily broken if students were allowed to play with it.
The system might be totally useless if the Internet was unavailable (or the DNS server wasn’t re-routing your URLs correctly). It might be, but maybe not. There are two USB ports in the back. I’m sure Logitech would like to sell you a web cam to hook into one of them. But, you could also plugin a flash drive and play or view any audio, video or photos, even without Internet connectivity. *Oh, I haven’t got this working yet, but you can also use Windows Media Player to “stream” your media from a PC, and the Revue can connect to this.
So, I would suggest that you go out and get one of these great deals at Best Buy, or online via Amazon.com. You are taking a chance that poor sales, so far, will cause the company to discontinue production… But, if it doesn’t, what a neat tool for your classroom!