We have come to the business end of this short review. The lists below summarize the pros and cons of the Pulse-Eight Motorola NYXboard Hybrid Remote.

Pros:

- Potential to reduce remote clutter in the household

- Ability to take advantage of HDMI CEC capabilities (when bundled with the HDMI CEC adapter from Pulse-Eight, the RF mode can also be used for this purpose)

- RF and IR combination is quite useful in HTPC setups

- Excellent RF range (more than 38 ft.) and decent IR range (around 18 ft.)

- Solid construction makes it a pleasure to use, and hands down, the best remote to use with XBMC (in our opinion)

- Accidental key presses on the underside of the remote are rightfully ignored

- The mouse feature (Fn + arrow pad) is as good as it can be in the absence of a trackpad

Cons:

- Single profile availability for IR programming, i.e, unlike the Logitech Harmony remotes which can have multiple devices configured, this is a learning remote where each key can be programmed to correspond to only one key from another remote in the IR mode.

- Remote is very sensitive to orientation. Casual remote usage (such as holding the remote at an angle to the horizontal plane -- as is common when one is couch surfing) is bound to shift between the keyboard side and the remote side which is sometimes frustrating for the users

- The IR remote's spread / operating angle is a bit on the lower side, which is irksome if one is used to a device-specific remote with better operating angles.

- The absence of dedicated Alt and Ctrl keys renders the remote incapable of replacing a full-fledged keyboard / mouse combination if the HTPC is used for extended periods of time outside of XBMC or any other 10-foot UI program

- Orientation sensing makes it a pain to use with Firefox (or any other program which might use F7 for any purpose)

In summary, the Pulse-Eight Motorola NYXboard Hybrid Remote is a very good addition to the HTPC setup in most homes, provided the user's expectations are set right. Given the price of the unit (less than $70), and the feature set offered, and comparing it with competing solutions in the Harmony series / Boxee PC remote, one can say that the NYXboard is indeed worth the price.

However, we hope to see some issues fixed in upcoming versions of the remote. Taking care of the IR remote's operating angle and the over-sensitive tilt sensor are a must. A keyboard with more features and a way to manually override the tilt sensor would be icings on the cake.

Reviewing the NYXboard
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  • martyrant - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    The only gripe I have with mine is the key's aren't backlit and there's no "F" keys (F1, F2, etc) but there's several models out now and one of them might have those features on it.

    It works a lot like a Wii remote with the mouse pointer (thought it would be weird at first, but very usable once you get used to it for HTPC use [you can't use it to play an FPS] of media, browsing, casual gaming). The keyboards work great, the keyboard feature even works with my Pivos media center player (though the mouse doesn't work as I'm guessing it's an accelerometer in the Cideko that throws it off to the mouse working).

    This looks interesting, but as far as I'm concerned the Cideko's are the only real way around a kb/mouse in a device smaller than an XBOX controller that I've seen--and even then I piss and moan a bit about the F keys/backlight issue.
    Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    I gotta say, the thing has zero style points. If you got robbed, no one would take it because they thought it went to your VCR. Reply
  • Calin - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    Is this a user guide, or just a joke of a user guide? Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    This remote is supposed to be able to control equipments which use IR for their remote control. So, yes, this remote does use IR in addition to RF. Like it or not, this layout makes the most sense for navigating through 10-foot UIs and controlling media playback for now.

    In a typical home entertainment setup, the TV, the STB and the Blu-ray player all use IR for their remote control technology. The popularity of IR receivers for PCs also indicate the large number of MCE remotes based on IR technology.
    Reply
  • Skarnm - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    As mentioned earlier. No function keys, big flaw, sorry I know you don't want to use them that often, but useful on boot up.

    Back light, dark room and fumbling around for keys, not a match made in heaven.

    I am sure they had a reason, but losing that much space to the battery cover is criminal. Please please please, if you don't go for a rechargeable remote, make it so the batteries slide in from the end on the remote, freeing up that whole area, allowing for a row of digits / function keys to be added and potential a fully functional keyboard.

    Good first attempt.
    Reply
  • TerdFerguson - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    This isn't actually the first attempt... the first attempt had such poor infrared capabilities that a huge (and badly botched) recall was done. What you're really buying here is a limited professional run of a homebrew project. Reply
  • Malard - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    This is not true, the first remote's released suffered from a range issue due to a problem with the factory (manufacturing flaw) this was fixed and new remotes issued to affected customers, anyone with a faulty remote can request a replacement by contacting Pulse-Eight customer support. Reply
  • Malard - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    This is a remote, with a keyboard for searching youtube or browsing facebook, not for issuing bash script commands, if you want to hack around on your PC, use a keyboard and mouse :) Reply
  • Skarnm - Saturday, April 07, 2012 - link

    I appreciate what your saying, however I really don't want to go and fetch a keyboard/&mouse if I need to go into my bios. It's frankly annoying.

    I'm sure you'd agree that changing the method that batteries are inserted into keyobard would allow better use of the space.

    On a side note, I tend to get my hptc keyboards from riitek, who have a nice keyboard, but just need to improve the consistency of the Ri connection from a manufacturing point of view. On my second one, there

    Loved the feel of my denovo mini, but lack of function keys and the response of the touch pad rocker, gave up in the end.
    Reply
  • BuddyRich - Friday, April 06, 2012 - link

    All of these qwerty remotes are a big fail due to no backlight.

    Most HT enthusiasts watch with the lights off or very dim. In fact, with a projector it necessary, at least without running your bulb in daylight mode.

    This one is better than most though. The TiVo Slide is alright, has a backlight, but is cheaply made, and no stop button.

    I am still waiting for the Philips DUAL.

    The revised Lenovo minikeyboard /w trackball with backlighting is also neat, it just feels like a funny remote, and has 0 (or even negative) WAF.
    Reply

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