Clicking Applications gives you direct access to a list of apps currently installed on your computer. Web sites gives you one-button access to dozens of preprogrammed bookmarks, complete with each site's respective company logo. Search the Internet will bring up an oversize onscreen keyboard that allows you to manually type your search term and choose which engine you'd like to use. You can also bring up the search window via the search button on the right side of the Navigator itself. The Settings software button allows you to customize the content of the other categories in addition to exposing other options. The onscreen keyboard allows simple text-entry as well. Accessing these features is easy enough, and we liked the fact that GlideTV designed these options to be read on a TV screen. You can also customize the software icons that appear, though most Web site additions won't carry over their associated icons.
As we mentioned earlier, a handful of buttons surrounds the Navigator's touch pad. The functionality of these buttons depends on which operating system you're using. You can use the function button (bottom left corner) to allow for more commands when you press it together with the others that surround the touch pad.
Unfortunately, you cannot customize the hardware button commands. Instead, GlideTV recommends changing keyboard shortcut settings in the operating system of your choice. This is hardly a reasonable workaround for what should be a very basic capability of the device's software.
Although we found it easy to get around the primary sections of the Navigator software during our testing, we ultimately found the Navigator's software shell cumbersome and less intuitive compared with a mouse and keyboard or something like the Logitech diNovo Mini Keyboard, a similar compact PC input device designed with the living room in mind.
We used our GlideTV Navigator regularly for more than a week, but we never really got the hang of controlling our Macbook Pro with it. Typing with the onscreen keyboard was very time-consuming, and we had big issues with mouse actions like click-and-dragging. There isn't a lot of touch pad real estate to work with, so actions like that really suffer. It's here we really would have preferred the accuracy of a trackball or a BlackBerry-style physical keyboard to use in combination with the touch pad like the diNovo Mini.
While using the Navigator with a Mac and PC provided generally the same controls, using it with a PlayStation 3 was a much different experience. The Navigator can recreate any of the commands a PS3 controller can perform, so technically you could play a game with it, though we'd advise heavily against doing so. Instead, we found it much easier browsing through our PS3's unique XMB (cross media bar) menu, viewing media, and Web sites. The Navigator also makes for a decent Blu-ray/DVD remote when watching with your PS3.
While the Navigator focuses on delivering the content on your computer in an easy-to-use on-TV experience, we still have a tough time recommending it over the diNovo Mini Keyboard. Its physical buttons and touch pad trump the Navigator in every aspect in terms of replicating basic input. We should note, though, the diNovo doesn't play nicely with Macs.