Wireless remotes let you roam freely and switch slides while you’re giving presentations on your Mac, but you still have to put your hands on the computer if you want to change the volume or darken the screen. Not any more: Keyspan’s Easy Presenter lets you perform both of those functions remotely. Aside from a minor ergonomic flaw, Easy Presenter is a good solution for anyone who wants to avoid handling the computer when they’re speaking, and it works well with Microsoft’s PowerPoint and Apple’s Keynote 2.
The Easy Presenter’s thin metal case is slim and rectangular, so it slips easily into a shirt pocket. In addition to controls that let you move to the next or previous slides, the Easy Presenter sports six buttons arranged in two columns: audio controls on the left let you raise, lower, or mute the computer’s volume; three buttons on the right begin or end the presentation or make the screen go dark. Another button, located near the bottom, turns on the Easy Presenter’s built-in laser pointer. A recessed slide switch on the back turns the remote on and off, but you have to use a fingernail or other sharp object to move it.
All but one of the Easy Presenter’s controls work right out of the box. To enable the Start Slideshow feature, you have to install driver software, which you can download from Keyspan’s website, and your presentation must be open and in the foreground to start the show with the remote.
The Easy Presenter uses radio waves to communicate with the Mac through a flash drive-sized receiver that plugs into the Mac’s USB port, and I had no trouble controlling slideshows on my PowerBook beyond Keyspan’s claimed 60-foot reception range.
My only gripe is the placement of the laser pointer button. For one-handed operation, you have to use your thumb to operate the controls. Because the slide control and laser buttons are located at opposite ends of the remote, it’s awkward to alternate between them. I also had problems holding the remote still while pressing the laser button with my thumb.
The Easy Presenter is cheaper than Keyspan’s Presentation Remote, my current favourite. So if you don’t use the laser pointer very often – or if your hands are rock steady – the Easy Presenter is worth considering.