Hardware Review: Logitech's TrackMan Live!

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By Jayne A. Hitchcock
as it appeared in the May/June 2000 issue of Link-UP

This is a must for anyone who makes multimedia presentations from their laptop or on a computer hooked up to a projection screen, and especially if you use PowerPoint for presentations. TrackMan Live! allows you to move as you talk (especially if you're like me and need to keep moving while speaking in front of an audience) and gives you the freedom to make your presentation without having to deal with running back and forth to the computer to get to the next screen, go to a web site, open a file, or open another presentation.

It's all done via digital radio technology, similar to Logitech's other cordless products, which offers a longer range than infrared technology. TrackMan Live! can be hooked up to a laptop or computer via the PS/2 mouse port or the 9-pin serial port (an adapter is included). Installation and setup instructions are very easy - after connecting the radio unit to the computer, just install the included AAA batteries into the TrackMan Live! remote (which reminded me of a bare foot, strangely enough) and select the HI or LO range setting (LO conserves battery power, but only gives you 6 feet of range, while HI offers up to 30 feet). The software shows you how to assign which buttons on the remote you want to perform AutoScroll, Universal Scroll, CyberJump, and HyperJump functions. Once they've been assigned, just click on the appropriate button and move the mini trackball in the direction desired.

CyberJump and HyperJump are truly the most innovative buttons/commands on the remote. They combine eight of the commonly used tasks for Windows 95/98/NT 4.0 into one grid on one part of the screen (and doesn't intrude on your presentation) for fast execution of commands. All you do is click on the appropriate graphic - CyberJump includes menu activation, bookmarks, add bookmark, go back, start, stop, vertical scroll and horizontal scroll. HyperJump includes menu activation, minimize, close, recall, start, resize, horizontal scroll and vertical scroll, but oddly, no maximize.

The best part about TrackMan Live! is that you don't have to point it directly at your computer to get it to work. Just point the remote at the projection screen to execute commands, go through your presentation, or visit web sites. And yes, it works. I was very impressed with the range, the ease of use, and the feel of the remote in my hands - it's curved so that it comfortably fits just about anyone's hand.

I couldn't find one thing I did not like about this product. I'm putting it to good use with the various speaking engagements and training workshops I conduct, so it *has* to be a good product for me to be able to use it so often.

Logitech's TrackMan Live!
Retasil price $149.95

J.A. Hitchcock is a regular contributor to Compute Me. Visit her web site at jahitchcock.com.

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