To test the performance of the Navigator I first installed it on the HTPC in my lab. This is an Asus AT3ION-I
MiniMax Home Entertainment setup with 4GB of DDR3-1333 and 40GB Kingston SSD for a boot drive. The setup also features a 200GB HDD for recording. Microsoft Windows 7 x64 Ultimate is installed with all the current updates and all of the current drivers. Of course the issue with testing it here is that the display is not more than 2 feet from where I sit. Still I wanted to get a feel for the Navigator before I dropped it in place in the living room on the 52-inch screen.
As we mentioned before the size of the Navigator makes it fit perfectly in the palm of your hand. It just rests there. Even when you are working the buttons or touch pad there is no stress to your hand from gripping the navigator. The layout takes a little time to get used to but after a while you find you are not even looking at it while in use. There were a few issues, as there is no direct number input and we could not get a virtual number pad [because there is not one] to show up in Media Center, navigation through regular TV and the built in guide was not as good as it could have been. I found myself grabbing the MCE remote as soon as I launched Media Center.
The next issue I ran into during the lab run was that if you invoke the onscreen keyboard you cannot use the real one to fill out the form. This happened whenever I tried to use GlideTV’s search function. I wanted to quickly type in what I was looking for using the keyboard, but I had to use the mouse or the touch pad on the Navigator instead. Neither of these is a show stopper, but it was a small annoyance to have to deal with them.
After my run in the lab I moved things out to the living room for some more extensive usage. This time we were on the HTPC system that we built for the Zalman review
. This is plugged into a Panasonic Viera 52" Plasma TV [1920x1080p resolution]. The viewing distance in the living room is around 15 feet [4.52m] so the RF connectivity on the Navigator really came into play as there are areas in the living room that do not have direct line of site with the IR-Blaster tucked away at the base of the TV. Again, Windows 7 x64 is involved as well as CyberLink’s PowerDVD [for the attached Blu-ray drive].
The Navigator plus GlideTV was a perfect fit. As we watch much more than just Cable TV on this system having the ability to create and use short cuts to places like Discovery.com, History Channel and even PBS was fantastic [I have two teenage kids]. We continued to use Netflix through Media Center and again found that the MCE remote was easier to use while in Media Center. The overall feel was a much smoother and more complete experience with the GlideTV software and navigator in place. Even the issues with the On Screen Keyboard and the GlideTV search were quickly forgotten with all of the other benefits in place.Battery Life
The Battery Life on the Navigator was fairly good. You can get about two days of regular usage out of it without needing to drop it back in the charger. Thankfully it comes with a rechargeable battery and also a charging cradle. GlideTV gave you multiple options for where you can place this cradle. With the wall adapter you can put it near your seating area and charge directly from the wall [which is much faster] or you can connect it to your HTPC and charge it from there. However, unless you have a board that supports charging when the system is powered off you are losing out on some overnight power. I would recommend using the wall adapter and maintaining the continuous charging from there.
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