I had a kick-ass presentation prepared for my seminar on “Managing Equity Funds”. I was extremely careful with my arrangement: set up the screen just so, timed my slides perfectly, ensured the mic was working seamlessly without any annoying feedback.
The room was full, it was time to start. I graciously welcomed the audience, took out my price-scanner-sized presentation remote control only to fumble it and have all the batteries skittle under the chairs when it hit the floor.
The audience was laughing, I was mortified – but that’s when I woke up!
*Phew* It was only a nightmare, thank God. But a presenter’s worst nightmare! I’m sure you’ve had them right before your big day, too.
As handy as presentation remote controls can be, they can also be a real problem if not chosen with care. So, if you’re thinking of using a remote to control your presentations, be sure to do your homework before buying.
A few essential features your presentation remote control should have
Odds are you’ll be using the remote for reasonable durations, depending on how long your presentation will be. So the size of the remote and the ease with which it can fit in your hand definitely matters. Don’t be like my dream-self and buy a chunky monster.
2) Easy to use
Nowadays, most ergonomic remotes are easy to use – but its still prudent to check if your fingers/thumb can access each button/control on the remote easily. Sometimes, to keep the remote small, accessing a feature might mean pressing two buttons, simultaneously. In that case, make sure you can trigger that feature without unwarranted delays in your presentation.
3) Visible Laser Pointer
Laser pointers are a great addition to your presentation arsenal. You can direct your audience’s attention to a certain point on your slide with the laser, making it easier for them to follow you. Choose a remote with a bright laser, and a wider beam, so that its clearly visible to your audience.
4) Transmit distance
Presentation remotes operate on 2 different technologies: Bluetooth and RF (wireless radio frequency). Once connected to your presentation device, a Bluetooth remote can wander to about 30 feet without losing its connection, while an RF remote can manage a range of 50 to 100 feet. Whether you want to deliver the speech from the podium (relatively in the same place) or while moving around within the audience, you must choose a remote that best matches your presentation style.
The best presentation remote controls 2018
Now that we’ve covered some of the basic features you need to look for in your presentation remote, based on your preferences, let’s take a look at three of the most talked about remotes in 2018.
1) Canon PR10-G
Smartly designed with an ergonomic layout, it places the buttons within easy reach of the thumb. It boasts intuitive slideshow controls with a bright green laser that’s 8 times more visible than others. Lets you move around the room, freely with its 100 feet range. Even when you’re beyond the 100 ft range, it doesn’t stop working outright, instead its response becomes sluggish giving you the indication that you need to move back in range. It has a greater battery life compared to its competitors, making it a favourite among presenters. It’s compatible with both Mac and Window, and doesn’t need any additional software. All you need to do is plug the receiver into your laptop and you’re ready to go. It also sports a clear backlit LCD Display that gives you the time, battery level and signal strength.
2) DinoFire DR100
Snappy and slim in its design, it fits comfortably into your hand. Because of its basic features, it comes in at a bargain price of $35. With a range of 100 feet, it gives you the freedom to work the room. Its red laser, although better than most, loses some of its definition after around 80 feet. On top of that, the laser is absorbed by backlit displays, only making it suitable for a projector screen. Works with Excel, Ms Word, PowerPOint, iWork (Keynote), ACD See and Google Slides. Like the Canon PR10-G, you only need connect its receiver into your laptop’s USB port for it to work – no additional software is needed.
3) Logitech Spotlight
A bit pricey ($105), which is the only reason it’s not number one on this list. It sports a sleek high end, premium look which makes it a perfect companion for your executive boardroom presentations. It doesn’t have a laser, it has something even better – the ability to highlight or magnify specific content directly from the remote, almost like a remote cursor. It lets you track presentation time, and set vibration alerts for timing each slide according to your preference. It’s universally compatible with all devices, because unlike the other two on this list, this remote needs a bespoke software to be downloaded. Although, this might seem like a con, it certainly isn’t. The custom software lends the remote pinpoint accuracy and higher efficiency. Works seamlessly with all major presentation software. It comes with a built in battery you can easily recharge.
Presentation Guru’s co-founder John Zimmer put it to the test and you can find out what he thought after he’d been using the Logitech Spotlight for a couple of months in his detailed review.
Whether you’re a university professor or a business executive, if presentations are a regular occurrence for you, then a presentation remote control is a sound investment. Not only will it make your presentations easier to deliver, it’ll make them more intuitive – making you a true guru in the eyes of your audience.
Just remember to practise with your new presentation remote control until it becomes second nature to you, to avoid my nightmare scenario. (If you head over to Manner of Speaking you will find great advice for handling a remote when presenting.)