Lenovo N5902 Multimedia Remote with Keyboard Reviewed

Lenovo is taking a second stab at building the ultimate HTPC remote control with the N5902 Multimedia Remote with Keyboard. There are a number of companies making tiny wireless keyboards that have been marketed to HTPC enthusiasts. Most such devices are about the size and shape of a cell phone, but the Lenovo keyboard remote is the first I have seen that seems to have been designed with one-handed operation in mind. I would have preferred to see one of Lenovo’s classic ThinkPad nubs instead of a tiny trackball, but I do like the idea of a keyboard that I can wield like a remote control. In most cases I really only need to thumb a couple of keystrokes to complete a search or type in a URL. I know that for many folks the lack of a dedicated Green Button is going to be serious knock against Lenovo’s little remote keyboard, but I suspect that its absence won’t be missed quite so much with Windows 8.

I must say that I enjoy the new graphite finish of the N5902 much more than the N5901’s glossy black that seemed to latch on to fingerprints. The underside is also matte, but replaces the topside’s luster with a duller, lightly rubberized grip that does well for minimalist utility. Rounding up the visual splendor of the remote is the new chrome ring surrounding the keyboard, which also doubles as the left and right mouse buttons just underneath the space bar.


  • I have the 5901 and really

    I have the 5901 and really like it.  I find the back lit keyboard on the 5902 is a big plus, though.  Mine fits nicely in one hand and easy to navigate with the track ball.  Only issue I have is the buttons for right and left button clicks are difficult for me to reach with my short thumbs.   I have grown to be able to work it, but sometimes find myself using two hands because of it.  I rarely have to pull out my full MC keyboard anymore.

    I hope I find a deal on this one like the one I have.  Be worth it to be able to see the keys in the home theater darkness.


  • I’ve got both the 5901 and

    I’ve got both the 5901 and the 5902 and I have to say that the 5902 is a vast improvement over its predecessor.  I’ve got two of the 5901’s and the trackballs are sometimes unresponsive and jerky.  The 5901 feels cheap by comparison whereas the 5902 seems more refined.  The touchpad on the 5902 provides much better cursor control.  I’ve also owned the DiNovo mini and prefer the 5902.  It fits comfortably in the hand and allows one-hand operation.  I believe the keys are slightly larger than the DiNovo, which is a must for fat-fingered people like me.  I hated having to use a mini keyboard the same way as texting on a cell phone. 

    The 5902 is a steal considering its usually on sale for about $40 or less.  The DiNovo Mini goes for about $90 on sale, making the 5902 an absolute bargain.  The 5902 works as soon as you plug in the supplied receiver dongle with no extra software to install.  The DiNovo requires a software load and doesn’t work until you’ve booted into Windows, IIRC.  The Lenovo can be used to access the setup menus on bootup, but only if your BIOS doesn’t required a function key to get in.  I like that you can store the receiver in the battery compartment to keep it with the remote.

    The backlighting feature on the 5902 was long overdue, IMHO, and makes it my favorite keyboard remote for HTPC use.  I use my Harmony One for all Media Center functions, but when you need a keyboard, this is the one to have.  The only gripe I have is the lack of function keys.  Perhaps Lenovo is sitting on that one for the 5903.

  • How well can you read the

    How well can you read the backlit keys in the dark?

  • They are nice and bright.  I

    They are nice and bright.  I have no problem reading them at all.  The backlighting shines through the individual characters making them easy to read.

  • Bought one.  I have to

    Bought one.  I have to install the USB dongle in the rear of the HTPC.  I still have the same flaky reception I got with the 5901.  All that said, I am very happy with the upgraded “trackball” and backlighting.   Great deal at $35 on BF.