A small switch at the remote’s bottom has three settings: off, lit and on. The first and last are self-explanatory, while the middle setting activates keyboard backlighting. Actually turning it on requires an extra press of a dedicated key which doubles as Fn. With strong white LED backlighting (secondary functions appear in orange) yet no sign of bleed, it’s very easy to type in the dark.
The N5902’s keyboard gives you a full QWERTY layout with dedicated function keys to either side and volume plus multimedia playback ones along the top. Pretty much every key you would get on a regular keyboard is there on its own key, with only a few of the lesser-used characters doubled. There’s even a dedicated Ctrl-Alt-Del key for calling up the Windows Task Manager and/or soft-resetting your computer.
Though the keyboard’s keys are tiny, they’re shaped to be easily distinguishable by touch thanks to their convex bulge, and only those with very broad digits will have any trouble. Feedback is astonishingly good with a clearly defined click – in fact, the N5902 is the closest thing to a Blackberry Bold 9900 keyboard we’ve yet encountered outside of a mobile phone – and for those who haven’t used a Blackberry keyboard, that’s high praise indeed. Our only niggle is that the weight is a little off when trying to hold the remote with both hands.
Discreetly incorporated into the chrome keyboard surround are nicely responsive left and right ‘mouse’ buttons, with the optical touchpad just below them. This touchpad is probably the weakest element of this remote, not because it doesn’t work or is poorly implemented, but simply because a full-size touchpad - not to mention a proper mouse - is simply a superior way to navigate around Windows. Still, it’s certainly usable.
Scrolling is the best we’ve yet encountered on a keyboard/mouse remote. Below the trackpad dot there’s a suggestion of a marking line. Running your finger along this offers beautifully smooth bi-directional scrolling with even the lightest touch.
At £33 the N5902 isn’t the cheapest all-in keyboard/mouse remote, but it’s by far the best-built and least fussy. If you have a little more to spend and want something that’s more like your desktop keyboard, the £75 Logitech diNovo Mini might be more up your street - but if you’re looking for something ultra-compact that you can leave lying around without fear of pets or toddlers breaking it too easily, Lenovo’s nifty remote is the bee’s knees.
The Lenovo Keyboard Multimedia Remote N5902 is a great little keyboard/mouse remote for fully controlling your (HT)PC from your couch. It’s built like a brick, small enough to fit in a coat pocket, offers a fully backlit QWERTY thumb keyboard that’s as nice to type on as a Blackberry phone’s, and provides a great scrolling experience. Only its optical trackpad can be a bit fiddly, but you won’t find much that’s better at this size.