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Mobilepresenter BT

By Charles G. Doe - Posted Jan 1, 2006
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REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

Company: Numonics Corporation, 101 Commerce Drive, Montgom­eryville, PA 18936; Phone: 800/523-6716; E-mail: numonics@numonics.com; Internet: http://www.numonics.com/.

Description: The Mobilepresenter BT is a Bluetooth (wireless) tablet that is used to annotate presentations and run computers in classrooms and meetings while a presenter is moving around the room.

Specifications: The Mobilepresenter BT tablet is 9.8 x 9.4 x 1.1 inches, with an active area of 6 x 4.5 inches. The unit weighs a very light .88 pounds, including batteries and cable. Two AA batteries are required for the tablet and one AAA alkaline battery is needed for the pen. Batteries are included. The tablet's Bluetooth transmitter has a range of up to 32 feet.

Price: $495—retail price.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with Windows 2000 or XP, a Pentium 300 MHz processor, 128-MB RAM, a CD-ROM drive, an available USB port, and an SVGA color monitor.

As with many electronic devices, more is better. Since the Mobilepresenter is basically a presentation aid, the computer it transmits to must be able to run a suitable data projector as well.

Warranty: The 1-year warranty becomes active with registration.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: Software installation from two CD-ROMs is required. One CD installation focuses on the Mobilepresenter itself; the second CD installation enables Bluetooth transmission and installs some other material.

In addition, more mundane things need to be done, such as installing batteries, the Bluetooth wireless USB dongle (a small broadcast device similar to those used by wireless mice, keyboards, etc.), and so on.

The included AA batteries used by the tablet are rechargeable and must be charged for 24 hours prior to use. Also, the tablet must be configured (paired) to run with the specific computer and the pen sensitivity must be adjusted.

Although the installation is a bit complicated, the process is clearly documented with a quick start guide and is not too difficult if the directions are followed. Users who have some computer experience and are comfortable with technology will have little difficulty. Installation Rating: A

Features: The Mobilepresenter BT combines a tablet approach with Bluetooth connectivity to make an extremely portable means of controlling presentations through computers (desktop or laptop) connected to a full-sized interactive white­board or digital projector. With this unit, educators can roam the classroom freely, interacting with students while navigating or annotating material appearing onscreen.

While the word "tablet" has gained a variety of meanings when used with electronics—from graphic tablets to tablet PCs—this tablet is an input device that uses a stylus (pen) to write or draw on the tablet surface to communicate with a computer.

The Mobilepresenter BT is operated or controlled by a wireless pen with two buttons that acts like a two-button mouse. The sensitivity of the pen as it interacts with the active area on the tablet can be adjusted to various preferences. The annotation pen, highlighter, and eraser can be customized.

The Mobilepresenter package includes the Bluetooth tablet, a wireless USB dongle, an electronic pen with two extra pen tips, two installation CD-ROMs, a fast start installation guide, one USB cable with extension, four rechargeable AA batteries with charger, and one AAA alkaline battery.

Bluetooth is a radio technology that enables electronic devices from different manufacturers to connect and communicate without wires when up to 32 feet apart. Bluetooth works best when there are no other cordless products and where there are large open spaces without cement or wooden walls in the way (those materials absorb some radio waves and decrease receiving quality). Bluetooth devices can be cell phones, digital cameras, hand-held devices such as pocketPCs or Palm Pilots, and so on.

To use the Mobilepresenter's Bluetooth features, the correct software must be installed and a Bluetooth wireless USB dongle must be plugged into a USB port. Once that's done and the two devices are "paired" so that they recognize each other when they meet again, the Mobile­presenter BT is ready to go.

The Mobilepresenter package also includes cables that can connect the unit to a computer for use without the Bluetooth technology. Keep in mind that this type of connection will limit the presenter's range of motion and defeat part of the usefulness of the Mobilepresenter.

With the tablet's Bluetooth features, a moving presenter can control the computer and programs used in the presentations while walking around a room. These programs include Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and others.

The Bluetooth features also enable the remote annotation of presentations, programs, documents, Web pages, etc., as they are being shown to an audience. The annotation is "live;" it can be done while the presentation is being made with an annotation pen used on the tablet, much like a pen or pencil used on a tablet of paper.

Other interesting features are the 14 Softkeys located at the top of the Mobilepresenter screen when the unit is turned on. These onscreen icons access the presentation tools and virtual whiteboard application. A touch of the electronic pen provides direct access to a pre-defined set of presentation tools. These keys include "next" and "previous" for slideshow type presentations, a spotlight, a virtual keyboard, and others.

The Virtual WhiteBoard feature is accessed by pressing one of the Softkeys with the cordless pen, which can be used for written notes in color, if desired. The Mobilepresenter BT also includes a library of 2,000 clip art pieces for geography, math, science, history, and other subject areas.

In many ways, the Mobilepresenter offers a cost-effective alternative to an interactive whiteboard. In a sense, the unit turns a computer and data projector into a very mobile interactive whiteboard. In addition, the Mobilepresenter can be used to add remote functions to a whiteboard.

This outstanding asset for any presentation may seem a little expensive at $495, but the price is very reasonable when the excellent technology is considered. And, when the cost is compared to the cost of a full-sized interactive whiteboard, the Mobilepresenter BT is a relatively economical alternative. Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: Once installed, set up, and operating properly, the Mobilepresenter BT is straightforward and easy to use, with strong online help available. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Numonics has a very good online support section for this product, including full contact information, device drivers if needed, and other material. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: Numonics' Mobilepresenter BT tablet is fascinating, well-thought-out, and useful.

The Mobilepresenter BT is an excellent product for anyone who makes presentations, whether in a classroom, in meetings, or other locations. The tools and the mobility the device brings will make any presentation more effective. Highly recommended.


 
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