Florida-based Azulle produces a line of mini-PCs and related peripherals for both consumers and businesses. In this article, we’ll be reviewing the Azulle Lynk multi-functional remote control. About the size of a TV remote, it connects to your Windows, Android, or Linux device via a 2.4GHz USB wireless receiver. It’s also IR programmable in the event you want to replace some of your IR remotes. Other highlights include a built-in microphone for voice control, a gyroscopic sensor for “air mouse” functionality, and backlit buttons. We found it to be a good buy at its $29.99 asking price.
The Azulle Lynk is powered by two included AAA batteries. These slide into the pop-off compartment on the back of the remote.
The Lynk wirelessly connects to your PC or device via its small USB receiver. We plugged it into our Windows 7 and Windows 10-based test PCs. In both instances, Windows automatically found and installed a driver without our intervention. No special software is needed to use this remote with a Windows PC.
Operating system support for the Lynk includes Microsoft Windows 7 through 10, Linux, and Android.
Azulle claims the Lynk has a range up to 25 feet, and we had no problem verifying this was true. Naturally, that’s point to point; the range decreases noticeably if you have to go through a wall or other object in between. The wireless connection uses the 2.4GHz band, and therefore you don’t have to point the remote at the USB receiver in order to get a signal across. The Lynk can be IR programmed as well, however, which we’ll discuss in the A.I. section.
Look and Feel
The Lynk is the size and weight of a typical TV remote control; here you can see it next to a standard AA battery. You can balance the remote across your finger right at the center point. It feels durable enough, though the shiny black plastic is a fingerprint magnet.
Pressing the lightbulb button on the remote’s right side turns on the blue backlighting. It’s relatively dim, but works well in low-light situations. It turns off automatically after six seconds of inactivity. The backlighting is intelligent, only lighting the side of the remote that’s facing upward. However, the remote doesn’t have a light sensor that would turn the backlighting on automatically.
The top side of the remote incorporates a wide variety of functionality. All the way at the top is the Windows button; assuming you’re using Windows, pressing it brings up the Start menu.
The Standby button in the row below puts your PC in standby mode. This is a useful feature when you’re operating the PC from some distance away and want to put it in a low-power mode.
The buttons on the bottom are mostly multimedia-based. The plus and minus buttons make the volume go up and down, and the play/pause button does exactly what you think. The keyboard button brings up an on-screen keyboard. We didn’t use this much, instead opting for the remote’s built-in keyboard on the Lynk’s opposite side.
On Windows devices, the Home button functions the same way a Home key does on a keyboard, taking you to the beginning of a line of text, or the beginning of a list or page. The Menu button, just underneath the Standby button, doesn’t do anything on Windows devices, but can be IR programmed.
The big news with the Azulle Lynk is its six-axis gyroscope. This allows it to function as an “air mouse”, where you literally wave the Lynk around in mid-air to control your mouse pointer. The mouse functionality can be enabled or disabled by pressing the Mouse on/off button at the top of the remote. We were skeptical about this feature, but it works brilliantly well.
To use the air mouse, hold the mouse in your hand with its keyboard side down, and the Windows button oriented towards the computer. (In other words, not upside-down.) Then, simply move the head of the remote in the direction where you wish the mouse to go. The amount of motion required to get the mouse to move a given distance seems natural. You can move the entire remote, but it requires less movement to use just your wrist and swivel the mouse. A quick flick of the wrist sends the mouse pointer across the screen.
The gyroscope was accurate enough that we were able to place our cursor precisely between letters in a sentence, and highlight them a few at a time. To left-click, press the square button in the Lynk’s directional keypad. A smaller right-click button is at the upper corner of the arrow pad. Pressing either button doesn’t make the cursor jump. We suspect some clever intelligence is built-in to keep it still.
The speed of the mouse is adjustable; press the Menu button, at the upper left of the remote control and just under the Standby button, and the volume up button at the same time until the remote’s LED shows blue. Release the volume up button while still holding down the Menu button. The LED will blink each time it increases the speed. Let go of the Menu button when you’ve reached the desired speed. What we just described works to slow down the mouse speed, as well, if you switch the volume down for the volume up button.
The underside of the Lynk has a fully-functional thumb keyboard. It’s Windows-oriented, but has just about all of the buttons you’d expect to have in other operating systems. The buttons are rubbery and require a bit more pressure than we expected. They must be pressed all the way down before they’ll register. This takes some concentration, as initially we missed many of our keystrokes because we weren’t pressing down all the way. Having to do this greatly slows down typing speed. It took us 36 seconds to type this very sentence. The spacebar seemed to be the most difficult to register.
How to type numbers isn’t immediately obvious. You’ll need to press the Sym button on the left side of the keyboard in conjunction with one of the top row buttons to get the desired number.
The Fn key on the right side of the mouse, second row from the bottom, activates the F1-F12 keys embedded in the top row when pressed in conjunction.
We surprisingly had little issue with combo keys, such as pressing Shift along with a letter to capitalize it. But overall, this keyboard is good only in a pinch. Even typing a basic email is tedious and takes a long time.
The Azulle Lynk includes built-in voice recognition. The microphone button just above the directional keypad enables or disables the microphone.
When connected to our Windows PCs, the Lynk was recognized as a microphone. It worked well with Windows 10 Cortana and Google’s search input. The microphone itself is located just above the directional keypad on the remote, where it won’t be blocked by fingers. It’s sensitive enough that you can hold the remote at arm’s length and still get your voice heard.
A.I. Controls and Programmability
It’s a true story that programming remotes is a pain in the, well, you know what. However, we found the Lynk was easier to program than most. The majority of the buttons on the front side are programmable, including the entire directional keypad, the play/pause, volume up and down, Home, and Menu buttons.
IR programming works as follows. Press and hold the A.I. Learn button at the bottom of the remote for three seconds until the remote’s LED flashes for three seconds. Next, press the button on the Lynk you wish to program. (The Lynk’s user manual from Azulle’s support site has a full list of the Lynk’s programmable buttons). Now take your desired IR remote, point it at the front of the Lynk, and repeatedly press the button on that remote you wish the Lynk to learn. When the Lynk’s LED indicator flashes slow down, it’s learned the function. Press the A.I. Learn button again to complete the programming.
There’s a dedicated A.I. Power button at the top right of the Lynk to function as a power button for IR devices. It’s programmed in the same way as we just described for the other buttons.
You’re probably wondering, do you still have the other PC functions on the buttons if you program them for IR? The answer is yes; the Lynk has dedicated 2.4GHz wireless and IR modes. Press the A.I. Learn button once briefly to switch between them. The remote’s LED flashes blue to indicate 2.4GHz wireless, and white for IR mode.
We like what Azulle has done with the Lynk. At just $29.99, it’s an affordable way to control your media center PC or presentations from a comfortable distance. Its air mouse feature is wonderfully intuitive. We also found it easy to program in IR mode.
We don’t recommend planning to replace a full keyboard with the Lynk. While its keyboard is fully functional, we found it takes real concentration to get all your keystrokes correct. It’s acceptable for typing in passwords and short phrases, though.
Another feature of the Lynk we like is its blue backlighting, which is intelligent enough to only light the side of the remote that’s visible. It doesn’t turn on automatically, though. Lastly, the integrated microphone worked well in our usage.
The Lync offers an impressive feature set for the money. It’s a highly practical way to control your PC, Android, or Linux device from a distance, and possibly replace one or more of your IR remotes while you’re at it.
- Impressive feature set for the money
- Simple setup
- Excellent gyroscopic air mouse
- Easy to program for IR
- Plenty of buttons
- Using the keyboard takes practice
- Black plastic is a fingerprint magnet
- Backlighting doesn’t turn on automatically