RoadTest: XBMC Bundle for Raspberry Pi
Evaluation Type: Independent Products
Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True
What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: Some comparable products are Bluetooth mice and keyboards.
What were the biggest problems encountered?: The biggest problem I faced was when the product went into sleep mode. Because of the less-than-stellar info-packet, I didn't know what was happening at first... but pretty easy to figure out.
The XBMC Bundle may be one of the most useful bundles that E14/Newark offers. The functionality of the product extends far beyond what is listed or suggested. With that we'll get started!
First thing is first, what do we have here?
Well, if you can read the produc list you are getting most of the info.
This is a list you can find most anywhere, so let's look at it with a little more detail.
Here are some picture of the mousepad...
This sums up all of what is in the kit, and what I feel about some of it. I'll be more specific below.
Earlier I said that this product might have the widest variety of uses of any bundle that I have looked at on E14/Newark. This is a real challenge because there are some pretty good kits, but hear me out.
I have used this w/ the media center, and it works great... I have not doubt that the other Roadtesters will pick up on that, so I'll leave that to them. What I'm more concerned with is how that keyboard/mouse combo can be used.
I'm currently a Freshman at the University of Houston, and so naturally I showed off the bundle, but what really caught people's attention was the keyboard. One of the great things about this keyboard combo is that it works cross-platform. Below is a video (as poor quality as it may be) of the keyboard combo working on my Windows 8 ultrabook. After a quick loading of drivers it worked flawlessly.
This brings up some very interesting questions of some of the applications that this could be used for.
Top on my list is connecting the dongle to the back of a friends computer while they are away, and then 'helping' them write their essay from accross the way. But I doubt that a few laughs are worth the nearly $70 you will shell out for this bundle.
In my free time I have grown into a (debateably horrible) habit of playing League of Legends. Now, you need a real mouse and keyboard to play - at least if you want to win - but my computer lacks Fn hotkeys for changing songs... lucky for me this bundle has that ability, so I just need to plug it in and turn it on, and one click later I'm on my next song. This means fewer Alt+Tab situations. But is this worth $70? No.
Just as a passing thought I have realized that this would be an ideal match for building a commercial media center off of. As someone who has set up one an XBMC media center for a commercial setting I can atest to the difficulty of making changes, especially when the people maintaing the setup are not computer/Rpi litterate. This would really help in the maintainence and up-keep of the unit.
Here is the big use for outside of the mediacenter. When I was showing off for friends I left the room for a minute, and when I came back my friend (we'll call him Jaime) told me that "he could really use this". Jaime suffers from dwarfism. I asked him why this would be beneficial to him. Getting on my chair (remember I'm 6'2") he explained that b/c his legs can't touch the ground in most chairs, it is very uncomfortable for him to lean forward to take notes, or in this case... type. He went on to explain that leaning back in a chair removes alot of pressure that would normally be on his legs. He explained that having this keyboard would make his life more comfortable, and more productive. It would keep him from sacrificing note-taking for comfort and vice-versa.
Needless to say this is a device that isn't only great for watching movies, but also for using a more practicle and daily application.
If you have any questions ask away!
Co-Founder and Member of the Board at Project LEAD (Learn Everything Applying DIY)