* Prices may differ from that shown
I did supply a link to a picture of my Targus Wireless Presenter which has a little joystick in the middle rather than a button type of interface but dooyoo decided it was the same product and directed my to put the review under this version. This is presumably the newest model.
- - What is it - -
This little beauty is a remote integrated laser pointer and mouse which offers control of your software during multimedia presentations etc. In other words it's a mouse that doesn't need to be plugged into the computer to work so you can get up and walk around the room while using it.
Gone are the days of standing beside the computer clicking slides forward while class 4C sit down the back passing notes and holding hands. Now you can be right down there with them, slapping those little hands with a ruler (ok that's probably not politically correct) but at least you'll be aware they are doing it.
A wireless presenter is essentially a plug-and-play device that requires no drivers or special presentation software and features an omni-directional mouse pad that controls a PCs mouse functions and a laser pointer.
I think most of us would agree that standing up in front of a group of people and giving a presentation is one of the most difficult things we have to do. Even the most seasoned of pros sometimes gets butterflies before they start.
As I lump myself firmly in the group who get nervous when presenting to a new class or group I was really impressed when I attended a talk to note that instead of standing at the front of the group with us all gawping at him, the presenter walked around and between us, even behind us and controlled his presentation with one of these new fangled wireless pointers. As he kept moving position it meant that our eyes were drawn to the non-moving screen with the information on it rather than having all eyes on him which to me is a definite plus and I was off ordering one soon afterwards.
- - How does it look - -
It comes in that awful moulded plastic packaging which is normally a real nightmare to open without a pair of industrial strength scissors. Unusually this wouldn't stop you being able to open it if you were travelling to a seminar etc, as the sensible people at Targus have made the back of the packet with a perforation so simply push in and the back comes away with a tear. A very good idea but I still managed to jag myself a few times as it came away in several pieces.
The outside of the packaging tells us that it contains the Targus pointer with cursor control, a usb receiver, 2 AAA batteries a carry bag and a user guide and that the wireless pointer\presenter\mouse (everyone has a different name) has a 2 year warranty.
- - What do I need to run it - -
This pointer will run on Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP or Vista and requires a vacant USB 1.1 or 2.0 compliant port. Simply plus the USB receiver into the PCs USB port and the system should automatically detect the wireless pointer if required follow any online steps to search for a driver to complete the set-up.
- - Instructions - -
The instruction booklet enclosed covers the basics of what each button, twiddly bit etc. does and gives a number of websites and phone numbers for technical support in different countries. Not a very detailed instruction manual but then you are basically buying a mouse without a wire so how hard can it be.
- - How does it work - -
This little gadget is designed to wirelessly control your powerpoint presentation or to be used as a wireless mouse. You can be as far away as 15 metres ideal if you are having a bad hair day and want to hide at the back of the room while everyone else has the eyes on the screen at the front.
You need to insert the usb stick into a usb port before switching the device on to allow the device to communicate with the computer.
The pointer itself fits comfortably in the palm and resembles a small television remove control. This may take a little bit of getting used to by the female population as they might not have had the same amount of remote control practice as their male counterparts but the design makes this easy enough to work out what to do.
There is an on\off switch at the side, click this to switch the unit on before starting to present. Towards the front of it the pointer has a little cursor joystick which can be used to maneuver the cursor on screen and pushing down on this acts the same as a left click on a mouse.
Below this are page up and page down buttons then below these is the function button easily recognised as it has fn stamped on it. Click this once to play powerpoint files and twice to to mimic escape or to close a powerpoint presentation.
At the front of the unit are the equivalent of the left and right mouse
There is also a little trigger underneath which shines a thin concentrated red laser allowing you to highlight something on screen or possibly to take someones eye out depending on the mood you woke up in this morning (please do not try this at home).
Once the presentation is in full swing you can also use your pointer to annotate your slides - simply use the right click button on the pointer and a pointer menu will show which allows you to write over your slide with a ballpoint, felt tip or highlighter effect. You can even change the colour of the ink used.
While this is an asset it is quite difficult to master as you need to hold down the equivalent of the left mouse button and move the joystick at the same time to make shapes etc. Not to be recommended until its been well practised and you are in a situation where a little bit of messing up is encouraged and enjoyed rather than resulting in you being sent to the companies equivalent of the stocks which rotten fruit and veg is thrown.
As it uses radio frequency between the wireless pointer and the usb stick you don't have to point it directly at the screen in fact there doesn't even need to be a clear direct line between the pointer and the computer.
- - Learning Curve - -
I would imagine most people would have this fully operational and be confident with about two minutes of practice although using it for annotations would take a little longer.
- - Who is it for - -
I would recommend this to anyone who uses presentation software on a regular basis or who doesn't like standing in front of people being watched while their presentation is shown. I would imagine it would be of use to sales people etc. who could demonstrate their product while interacting more with the audience than would normally be possible with a slideshow.
I know teachers who use online quizzes and they pass this around the class and each child takes turns to choose the correct multiple choice answer by clicking on it. This means online interactive challenges can be brought into a classroom and used by a large class with the only equipment required being a laptop and portable projector.
- - Would I buy it again - -
Yes I would, on the downside it does go through batteries quickly even when not being used (don't ask me how, its switched off for goodness sake, its sometimes just dead when you switch it on weeks later) but for the extra flexibility to interact with students, staff on a training session etc. its well worth it. I have already ordered a total of 15 since this for various other members of staff who were impressed with its flexibility and all have worked well and lasted so far. Available now for around £25.00