Logitech Cordless 2.4 GHz Presenter

A while ago I blogged about buying “the clicker”, aka the Targus Wireless presenter tool. If you do not know what it is, let me explain. You know how sometimes when people are doing a Power Point presentation they walk away from their computer and just have that little gizmo in their hand that let’s them advance slides remotely? Yeah, it’s that thing. Mine was a chepo, plastic thing with a few rudimentary buttons and a built in red laser pointer.

All in all, it served me well for over a year. Lately though I started having problems with it. It would just stop working for me in the middle of the class forcing me to use the keyboard to advance slides. Students were slowly getting accustomed to the 5 minutes of extra time at the start of the lecture as I tinkered with the damn contraption. Sometimes I was able to coerce it to work. Other times, I had to stop messing with it and start the class.

Eventually I figured out what was wrong with it. The spring that holds the single AAA battery in place lost some of it’s “springiness”. It became less “springy”. It “de-springified” itself, so to say. As a result and the battery gained unexpected freedom of choice. It could choose to stay in place or slide slightly out of position. The battery cover was not designed support it, and it did not hold it in place. Instead it gave it just enough space to slip off the connector, but not enough space to rattle around. So you wouldn’t know the battery was lose, until you popped the cover up, and pushed it back in.

Any sudden movement had the potential of shaking the battery out of alignment again, forcing you to pop the cover again to restore power to the device. It’s actually very distracting when you are trying to teach something.

So I decided it is time for a new “clicker”. I also decided I’m not going to go for the cheapest thing available this time around. I believe that the Targus was pretty much the crappiest model available, and I’m actually amazed it lasted that long. It was sort of an experiment – I actually didn’t know I would use it so much. I ended up liking it, and now I consider the clicker/laser pointer combo to be an indispensable tool.

I believe that if you are going to be using something a lot, then it’s probably a good idea to invest a little bit of money into it. For example, I spend most of the hours in my day typing on a keyboard and using a mouse. I go to work, and I type and mouse around for about 8 hours. Then I go back home only to type and mouse around some more.

It is in my best interest to ensure that the keyboard and the mouse I use so much are of decent quality. That’s why I’m using the Sidewinder mouse and the Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. Both are high end items that I paid premium for, but hey – it was worth it. You can save on other things, but these two items are essential tools that I use both for work an for play.

Same goes for the “clicker”. I teach once or twice a week, and I sometimes do get to present in front of people for other purposes. It is not an essential tool for my job, but it helps. So I picked the Logitech Cordless 2.4 GHz Presenter which was one of the higher end toys. I don’t think it’s top of the line, but it seemed like a good investment. Besides, I never really had a bad experience with Logitech products – their mice and keyboards are usually very dependable. So I was hoping they use the same quality control for their “clicker” things. Here is a picture for you:


Yes, it does look a little bit like an electric shaver/hair trimmer from afar. It’s smaller than that though. It is much smaller than that. Something that big would be impractical. Here is another picture, this time with someones hand so that you can see the scale of this thing:


As you can see, it’s quite handy. It fits well in your hand, and is larger than the Targus model, which is actually a good thing. You can get a better grip on it, and the sleek elongated shape makes it easier to hold while you are pointing at things. The USB connector slides right into the unit which means I won’t loose it or forget it as easily. It always annoyed me that the Targus model did not provide this feature.

One of the very crucial things with these presentation tools is that they absolutely need to work out of the box. I need to be able to walk into a classroom, plug it in and go. Installing drivers is out of the question since the school machines are pretty tightly locked down. I’m happy to report that this model worked flawlessly under Windows XP. I haven’t tested it under Vista yet, but I assume it won’t be much different.

And yes, it has an LCD screen. Why would it have and LCD screen? Well, it’s a timer which is what really sold me on this model. You see, keeping track of time has always been an issue for me. When I do presentations, I’m in full screen mode which means I don’t see the clock on the screen. So if I need to check the time, I have to look at my watch… Which is my cellphone. Yeah, I actually don’t own any wrist mounted watches that work – the batteries run out in all of them, and I have been to lazy to go see a clock-master-repairman-guy to perform the sacred ritual of battery replacement.

Yeah, I did replace my watch batteries once or twice but half of the time the operation involved me putting dents and scratches into the back panel, loosing the rubber insulation parts and not sealing the thing properly. So I’d rather give the nicer, more expensive watches to a professional. But I’m kindoff scared – there is an off-chance that I do in fact have latent superpowers (something that I have always suspected) and the watch-guy may turn out to by Sylar and he will remove my brain or something.

Ok, that was a Heroes Season 1 reference if you haven’t caught it. I haven’t really watched the show since then – I will need to catch up one day. The first few episodes of season 2 failed to capture my attention. But I digress..

Back to presentations, and checking time. Looking at my cell phone is probably not the best time keeping solution. It’s hard to do it discretely. I would sometimes take it out, and put it on the desk for easy access, but most of the time I forget and leave it on my belt clip. So if I need to check the time, I have to reach for my belt, un-clip the phone and push a button so that the front LCD display lights up. The Logitech Presenter tool has a built in timer that you can set yourself. It’s actually very easy one-button set up. Each time you press the “timer” button you add 5 minutes to the counter and it starts counting down back to zero. At any time you can glance at the display to see how much time you have left. When the countdown reaches 5 minutes it will alert you with a slight vibration. It will do it again at the 2 minute mark to let you know it’s time to wrap up. The signal is inaudible when you hold it in your hand. It can also be a bit startling at first. I knew it was coming, but it sort of surprised me during my first lecture. You get used to it though, and it is a very helpful.

This particular “clicker” comes with a nice little protective case you can slide it into so that it doesn’t get too bumped up in your backpack. The button locations are pretty good, and the laser pointer is bright and… Pointy?

I only used it couple of times, but so far it has been performing flawlessly. I must say I’m happy with the purchase, and I recommend it to anyone searching for a good presentation tool. The timer is a life saver, and it is worth getting it fro that feature alone.

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7 Responses to Logitech Cordless 2.4 GHz Presenter

  1. Ian Clifton UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    [quote post=”2875″]Yes, it does look a little bit like an electric shaver/hair trimmer from afar.[/quote]

    LOL! Exactly what I was thinking when I saw this in my RSS reader. It showed up to the picture, but I had to scroll to see your text. I actually went into the bathroom to check what brand my shaver was because I was going to make that comment, but you beat me to it in your own post, haha.

    Your ordeal with going from the cheapo clicker to the nice one reminds me of my progression of laser pointers. I bought a super cheap ($2? maybe less) one basically just to give my cats something to chase. Who cares if it breaks? It was cheap and didn’t need to perform any essential functions. After a while the button became loose and wouldn’t push down the metal piece that would connect the circuit well. Sometimes I could get a little weak light but not usually. My normal habit when buying things is to do a lot of research first and buy something that meets my needs, regardless of the price (I think we’re of a like mind there), but this was for the cats, and they didn’t do any research, so whatever…. Anyway, I ended up looking for a better one in the $10-20 range and Amazon had a nice looking one for $15ish, if I remember right. It retailed at over $100!? “Why not?” I thought and ordered it. It’s awesome but OHMYGODITISSOBRIGHTITHINKIAMBLIND!! Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s pretty close. It’s very bright. I took it down to my mailboxes one day and tried shining it at the apartment complex that is 1/4 to 1/2 mile away and could see a very clear and distinct point. In fact, the little bit of dust in the air made the beam partly visible along the way, and it looked incredibly fake to see something that straight for that long of a distance. It’s amazing what paying a little more will do for the quality.

    That timer feature is awesome. That’s one of the hardest parts when teaching, lecturing, presenting, etc., so I would love that feature. Of course, I also enjoy the image of someone screaming in surprise when it vibrated, hehehe.

    That storable receiver is great too. It’s like the Logitech mouse I have for my (now dead) laptop in which the little receiver just clicks onto the bottom of the mouse.

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  2. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    [quote post=”2875″]I took it down to my mailboxes one day and tried shining it at the apartment complex that is 1/4 to 1/2 mile away and could see a very clear and distinct point. In fact, the little bit of dust in the air made the beam partly visible along the way, and it looked incredibly fake to see something that straight for that long of a distance.[/quote]

    This reminds me of that story with the laser pointer and the plane. It’s probably an urban legend but the story goes that two kinds bought one of these ultra bright laser pointers online and decided to play laser tag with a passing plane.

    Amazingly enough they managed to angle the thing just so it hit the pilot cabin and seriously freaked out the crew. They immediately called in as a terrorist threat. Long story short, the plane had to make an emergency landing somewhere and the kids were snagged by the police and all kinds of brouhaha ensued.

    Oh, re laser pointers – I think CVS used to sell a really cheap pen/pointer combo for like $2 or something. I have a pile of these at home – half of them stopped working after a while so I kept buying them whenever I was in the store.

    My brother at one time mounted one of these damn things on top of his nerf gun and managed to calibrate it so that it would actually point at where the nerf dart would hit at medium to close range.

    But it was a pain, cause whoever was on the receiving end of that gun would get face full of laser each time. The usual reaction to this is “Dude, not in the eyes” as you avert/shield your eyes. As soon as you do that though you get nerf raped so we banned it’s use as it would give you an unfair advantage. :P

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  3. Hector SPAIN Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    I’ve been using this presenter for about six months now, and works great. My previous “clicker” was a wireless mouse, so it was quite an inprovement for me :-)

    The laziness to replace wrist-watch batteries… i felt like you were talking of me!! Now I use the phone as a clock too, but before I had one I developed almost superpowers to get to see the time on someone else’s wirst-watch just standing by. Because in addition to my laziness I have a compulsion to check the time every few minutes when I am on my way to somewhere… :-)

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  4. stefanie BELGIUM Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    How much did you pay for it, and does it work on linux?

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  5. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    @Hector: Yeah, same here – I feel naked without some time keeping device. Although on an average work day I can function without a wristwatch or a phone since I’m sitting at a computer and can check time just by glancing at a taskbar.

    When I was back in college, and before I got my first laptop leaving the house without the phone was major issue because

    a) no one could reach me
    b) I could reach no one
    c) I would never know what time it was

    @stefanie: about $50, and I have not tested it on Linux. I usually don’t use my laptop for these presentations since each classroom has a windows box already set up to work with the projector / smartboard and ready to go.

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  6. stefanie BELGIUM Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    ok thanks. they seem to be more expensive in europe, more than 60 euros in the local computer shop and 52 euros on amazon.fr . i think i’ll wait to buy one until i’m sure they work on linux.

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  7. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    @stefanie: I’ll test it with linux this weekend and I’ll let you know. :)

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