The XBMC Wireless Keyboard with Touchpad/Trackpad Mouse - For Raspberry Pi and the XBMC Raspberry Pi Compatible Remote Control
If you have a Home Theater PC, it could be pretty uncomfortable using the traditional mouse-and-keyboard setup on the couch—any HTPC user should get at least a decent remote. Of course, you can say the remote’s completely unnecessary—you can just use your smartphone. Depending on your app, you could have a halfway-decent remote, but it won’t be able to control any of your other devices, it would require you to turn on and unlock your phone every time you’ll use it, and, most importantly, you can’t feel the buttons unlike in traditional remotes—you have to look at it every single time you press something, and that could be annoying.
The platform you’ll use for your HTPC is also important. Popular choices are Plex and XBMC, but Plex sacrifices customizability for ease of use, while XBMC might be difficult to use but is nearly endlessly customizable. Also, XBMC appears to have the better interface, depending on your customizations.
Now after you’ve had XBMC on your HTPC, it’s time to choose your remote—and here we’ll compare the XBMC Wireless Keyboard with Touchpad/Trackpad Mouse - For Raspberry Pi andthe XBMC Raspberry Pi Compatible Remote Control.
The XBMC Wireless Keyboard is a good touchpad-keyboard combination. It works best for XBMC and Raspberry Pi, but it’s also good for Smart TVs, PCs, Home Media Centres, and some gaming consoles like XBOX360 and PS3. It’s really simple to use—you just plug it into a USB receiver and you’re good to go, no setup required. It comes with rechargeable lithium ion batteries, USB to mini USB cable for charging, and a wireless USB receiver.
The XBMC Raspberry Pi Compatible Remote Control also works well with XBMC and Raspberry Pi. It has mouse simulation and is usable within 18 meters. It is also plug-and-play, no setup needed. You can use the remote to stop, play, pause, manage volume, and otherwise manipulate XBMC wirelessly.
Now, let’s see which the better choice is. The Remote Control costs nearly less than half the price of the Wireless Keyboard, but the Remote Control doesn’t allow you to do much your smartphone can’t do as well—except for the bit we mentioned earlier. If it’s a toss-up between using a smartphone remote and getting an actual remote control, go for the XBMC Raspberry Pi Compatible Remote Control. You can use the buttons without having to look, and, more importantly, you’ll get to use your smartphone while watching.
But if it’s between the keyboard and the remote, I would recommend the wireless keyboard. It offers more functionality than the remote, and you can use it for a lot of other things as well. The only drawback is that you’re already getting a remote to avoid using the traditional mouse-and-keyboard setup—so if that’s a primary concern, you’d be better off with just the remote. If you’re comfortable with the keyboard setup, then it’s better to get that—it is wireless anyway. All in all, it’s a matter of personal preference—what’s clear is if you’re using your HTPC without a remote, you should go get at least even just a pretty basic remote control now.