Just got my Satechi Bluetooth Smart Pointer today. It is a bluetooth remote capable of controlling various devices from Mac OSX devices, iPhones, iPads, bluetooth-enabled Android devices, and bluetooth-enabled Windows computers. This remote has three different modes: Presentation Mode, Multimedia Mode and Accessibility Mode. As you would expect, Presentation Mode is used to control PowerPoint or Keynote presentations when connected with bluetooth-enabled computers (Mac or PC). Multimedia mode is used to control multimedia in computers and/or mobile devices. So this remote is capable to play/pause/next/prev/vol up/vol down your iTunes, iPhones or iPads music playback. Accessibility Mode is used to control Keynote presentation in iPad. A smart workaround, I must say. Users need to enable Accessibility Mode in their iPads, mute the voice guide, then use this remote to do control their presentations.

The packaging looks attractive. The unit looks good, nice built. I like the rubbery feeling. While the remote itself feels solid, the slider to reveal the numeric button, bluetooth button and enter button feels cheap and weak. I don’t like it. I feel like this slider can break anytime.

Pairing the remote with a Mac is easy, just like pairing other bluetooth device. I use OSX Mountain Lion 10.8.2. Pairing process requires us to press the bluetooth button (long press) in the remote. This means, for every pair, I have to slide down the button cover (which I have to perform very carefully to avoid breaking the unit). Pairing with Mac also need us to enter 8 digits number (then enter), since this unit is recognized as a keyboard in Mac. The numeric buttons are small, but I don’t have any problem in entering the numbers.

So far I have tried multimedia mode and presentation mode, all works correctly.

satechi-bluetooth-smart-pointer-0In presentation mode paired with a Macbook and PowerPoint, this remote does well in going to next slide and previous slide (which is, pretty much everything I need). The red laser pointer works properly, but I noticed a little delay from the moment we press the pointer button until we actually see a pointer on the screen.

In multimedia mode paired with a Macbook and few different movie players, this remote does well in play/pause, volume up/down and mute (notably works with MPlayerX and iTunes). Prev and next button works for some players and don’t work for some others.

If I don’t press anything for few minutes, the remote will disconnect itself from the computer. I guess this is to save battery. Pressing any button will trigger reconnection. Takes about 5 seconds to reconnect. Then all the buttons will work again. This will most probably not a problem in presentation, as I would have moved to the next slide anyway before the disconnection, but certainly is a bit annoying when watching a movie.

Next, I tried to pair it with Mac mini, pairing process works correctly, again, controlling presentations and movies work as expected. But when I want to reconnect to Macbook again, I have to repeat the pairing process from the beginning. Actually I don’t mind a little extra steps as long as it works. What worries me, is every pairing process requires me to slide down the numeric buttons cover, which I don’t like.
In the end, I changed my mind about using this remote for my Macbook, Mac mini, iPhone and iPad. I decided to just pair it with one device: my Macbook, to do presentations mainly. Because re-pair process is kinda “scary”.

I haven’t tried using this remote with my iPhone or iPad. I feel there is little point of doing that (as I can always control everything directly from their screens). Controlling Keynote presentation in iPad sounds like good idea, but I didn’t purchase Keynote app in iPad, so that’s not testable for me (spending an extra $10 just for testing feels stupid).

If you consider to buy this remote to use with one device, whatever it is, then this is a GOOD device (since you only need to do one time pair). But if you consider to buy this remote, thinking that you can use with with different devices in day-to-day use, please be aware. I also posted this review in Satechi website using a different username, with slight modifications.