While I haven’t written a ton of reviews in my short time running The DMZ (and Entertainment 2.0 before), I’ve always had something negative to say about the product being reviewed. Whether it was a part of the interface, the setup or what have you, there’s always something bad to say. This time though, the only thing I can think of that’s bad to say about the GlideTV is that I won’t use it. Don’t let that statement fool you. It has nothing to do with the device itself but is all about our lifestyle and the way we use our HTPC. Let’s talk about the device first though.
The GlideTV Navigator is a palm sized device with a touchpad and several other dedicated buttons.
While the device could be used for giving presentations or any other business related functions, the button layout is made for HTPC use with dedicated volume, fast forward and rewind, just to name a few. Several of the buttons are also programmable meaning you can set them to open your favorite apps with one touch.
When you open the box you’ll find the Navigator itself, a USB receiver, a USB cord used for connecting a charger and a USB wall plug so you don’t have to connect the charger to a PC. This alone impressed me as most USB devices don’t ship with the wall plug. This means that with an outlet, you can charge the Navigator right next to your couch without having to spend money somewhere else.
Connecting the Navigator is as simple as plugging in the included USB receiver, giving it a minute to install the drivers and then, well, that’s it. You now have a wireless, smooth, clickable trackpad to use with your HTPC.
After connecting the device, the trackpad works just like any other mouse like device. Where things start to come together is when you install the available GlideTV software. Again, installation is quick and easy. Once done, you end up with a small button in the upper right hand corner of your desktop. This button allows you to enter the GlideTV software where you’ll find the applications that the software discovered. As an example, when I open GlideTV on my HTPC, I find a nice menu listing Media Center, Boxee, Hulu Desktop as well as my default browser. The software also has a built in soft keyboard for entering URLs and other text information on websites. This is accessed simply by clicking within a text box. By using the “Glide” button on the Navigator, you can jump between applications quickly and easily. The software really becomes a central hub for your couch surfing.
If this seems like a short review, well it is. While using the GlideTV, I only had one issue. While the trackpad takes time to get used to, that has more to do with my lack of ability than it does with the device. The only problem I had with is was the size. At times it was difficult to reach the far side of the pad. I really think the device is the size it needs to be but I did run into the issue from time to time. The pad itself is responsive and, once you’ve passed that learning curve, easy to use. The software brought all of my media applications together under one UI and made them easy to switch between.
I know it sounds amazing but I can’t say anything else bad about GlideTV. That being said however, now that the review is complete, I won’t be using one. This has nothing to do with any shortcomings of the device but more with our lifestyle. We need a universal remote solution in our main viewing area, where the HTPC is used. The one thing the Glide Navigator doesn’t do is control other gear in your home. That’s why the device is almost too perfect. I want so badly to use it but I miss my universal functions too much. This is strictly a PC control unit so getting it handle other gear is an issue. This however, is the only thing that is stopping me from using the Navigator as my main remote control. If you don’t have a surround receiver or a TV that you want to be changing inputs on, the GlideTV is the perfect control device for an HTPC. Slick, mouse like controls right from your couch and software that makes changing between apps a cinch. This is probably the best HTPC remote I’ve ever used.