Logitech Revue and accessories hands-on! (Update: video of video calling!)

We just got some serious hands-on time with the Logitech Revue Google TV box, and it's all pretty slick, hardware-wise. The Keyboard and Mini Controller are just as well-done as you'd expect from Logitech, and the video calling features worked pretty seamlessly. We also managed to confirm that the Dish Network DVR integration is exclusive to Logitech -- it won't work on Sony Google TV devices, which is totally strange. We're headed back for video and we'll have some more in-depth impressions in a bit, but check out the pretty pictures in the galleries below for now.

Update: Dish and Google have both chimed in to clarify the "exclusive" deal. While Dish will exclusively sell Logitech's Google TV hardware, any other devices, including the ones from Sony, will pair with its DVRs in exactly the same way. Fragmentation (apparently) avoided -- for now.

Update 2: Okay, we've added some impressions just after the break. We're still trying to figure out exactly what's going on with the whole Dish integration thing, since we can't seem to get a straight answer, but we'll keep digging and let you know.


  • We'll start with the good stuff: Chrome on Google TV is pretty great, and it works just about perfectly. We saw the system get seriously bogged down when we loaded an Engadget page with several YouTube videos on it, but it wasn't the end of the world, just slightly annoying. Beyond that, browsing was fast and responsive, and extremely easy to control using Logitech's various keyboards and apps.

  • Speaking of the keyboards, they're pretty cool, and both are made up to Logitech standards. The full-size unit is surprisingly light, and the track pad is multitouch -- a two-finger scroll scrolls the page, which is nice. There's also a right-click mouse button on the left side, for two-thumb browsing. You probably wouldn't want to write a novel with keys this light, but it does the job for searching on a TV for sure. The Mini Controller is basically the DiNovo Mini you know and love, except with proprietary RF instead of Bluetooth.

  • The Revue box itself is pretty nondescript, although it actually has the IR blasters built into the corners, so you can just put it near your other components without having to run little wires everywhere. (There are still blaster ports on the back if you have a different setup.) Logitech says all Harmony devices will work together, but that's not totally true, and the Revue doesn't do activity macros like the other Harmony products. What's more, if you have a Harmony remote, it's not going to know what the Revue is doing to your other gear -- your best best is to use your existing Harmony remote to start and stop activities, and just use the Revue for Google TV. Logitech says the plan is to integrate things tighter in the future, but for now you'll almost certainly end up with a remote and a keyboard on your coffee table, which sort of defeats the point of Harmony.

  • There's almost no getting around the fact that Google TV as a platform is sort of a terrible way to consume actual TV content. The Revue will integrate with Dish DVRs, sure, but only in the slightest way, and if you've got any other service it's completely silo'd from the Google TV experience. Setting up recordings, watching DVR content, even browsing a channel guide -- you're stuck with your cable or satellite UI, and that's that. Google and Logitech tell us more integration is coming, but it's not happening with the Revue as it stands right now.

  • In fact, that's our biggest takeaway here -- there's potential all over the place here, but very little of it is actually realized. The Revue is a really nice way to get Chrome on your TV with Flash 10.1, the video conferencing system is slick, and we're definitely psyched to see what Android devs do with the platform, but potential alone isn't necessarily worth $450. That impression might change after we get our hands on a review unit, but we'll have to see -- leaving a netbook on the couch is pretty convenient, after all.