Living room PCs are the most flexible, powerful way to watch stuff on your TV, but they generally need a bulky mouse and keyboard to be operated effectively. You could try to shrink a regular keyboard and mouse down, or power up a remote to do the same thing. Azulle’s Lynk remote opts for the latter.
Azulle also sells a series of mini PCs and stick PCs that run full versions of Windows, which the Lynk is designed to complement. These computers are better suited to enterprise customers than anything else—general consumers will be better going with something like a Chromecast or Fire TV for video, or a full desktop for gaming.
But if you do have a full PC or Mac that you want to only occasionally control, and you can’t stand the thought of a full-sized mouse and keyboard sullying your pristine coffee table, it gets the job done.
I wouldn’t say that using the Lynk for conventional control of a full PC is easy. But it does perform admirably in a tiny package, and for just $30 it’s well worth looking into if you’re already invested in a home theater PC.
You Got Your Remote in My Mouse
The Lynk uses an “air mouse” setup for mouse control, a rarely-seen niche of the mouse world. An air mouse lets you move the remote around with your hand, waving it in a vaguely conductor-ish fashion as the mouse cursor moves around the screen. If you’ve ever used a Nintendo Wii with its infrared remotes and their on-screen cursors, it feels a bit like that.
This setup means you don’t need a flat surface or even a touchpad to get basic mouse functionality. It’s less than intuitive, but the Lynk compares well with the other air mice I’ve (briefly) tried. For getting around a few basic points of a full Windows interface, it’s serviceable.
And for a more fullscreen setup, like apps for Netflix, Hulu, or Plex, the “remote” side of the device includes a full D-pad for basic controls. It works as well as any set top box remote, though there is a bit of a learning curve to find which apps can be used in “browsing” mode and which require finer mouse control. A handy “Mouse on/off” button will keep the cursor locked in place if you’re doing other things.
Other buttons on the “mouse” side of the remote include generic media controls for play/pause and volume, a “home” button for apps that support it, and shortcuts to core Windows functions. These include the Windows button itself, a mic button for Cortana, power and sleep buttons that work correctly in Windows, and (extremely handy) a shortcut button for the on-screen keyboard. This is nice for quickly hitting the Enter key without needing to flip over the remote and enter keyboard mode. I only wish there was a quick way to switch apps—a dedicated alt-tab button would be ideal.
You Got Your Keyboard in My Remote
Flip the Lynk around, and you get a 51-key keyboard that will look familiar to anyone who had a slider phone in the mid 2000s. That’s not an insult, by way. Plenty of users still miss dedicated, physical keys on their mobile devices.