We first spied Logitech’s DiNovo Mini at a preview event before January’s Consumer Electronics Show. Smart-looking though it is, we couldn’t help but wonder exactly who’d use it.

After all, despite the best efforts of Microsoft and Intel, living-room Media Centres aren’t exactly prevalent. But, having finally used the Mini at length, it’s remarkably simple – we managed to set it up in seconds even though the instruction booklet didn’t tell us how to do it.

The clamshell remote can be switched to work on a PlayStation 3 as well as a PC. As well as the dual-format possibilities, there are also two modes. One is for media use, so even if you’re in another app it can still be used to play, pause or skip your media, as well as being useful for full-screen Media Centre.

Control your PC

Then there’s the second mode, toggled by a switch atop the keyboard. This one completely mimics the controls of a traditional mouse and keyboard and enables you to properly control other aspects of the PC.

The touch-disc approach to the mouse pointer does take a bit of getting used to, but you can click and double-click easily and it is one of the better implementations we’ve used. Likewise the keyboard isn’t the easiest, but you won’t have too many problem tapping out a couple of quick emails – which we’d guess is all you’re ever likely to do.

It’s a tidy little unit though – when closed, the clamshell is compact, if a little flimsy. Otherwise build quality is superb. Power comes courtesy of a lithium-ion battery, which you charge using a power lead that plugs into the unit. Logitech estimates that a 10 minute charge will give you a day’s worth of use.

Good use-case essential

However, as with so many such devices, you might well be questioning why you would ever need the DiNovo Mini. It’s one of these bits of kit which you should only buy if you have a good use-case for it. In other words, if you can’t already think of why you’d need it, then perhaps you just don’t.

We could certainly see the point if we all had PCs underneath our TVs. But we don’t. Neat idea, though.