In our ongoing quest to discover the best technology and gadgets to help us give better presentations, we think we’ve found the perfect wireless remote control. Here’s what we thought about the Logitech Spotlight Presentation Remote.
It goes without saying that when giving a presentation it’s important to focus all your energy on what you’re saying and on your audience. If you constantly keep reaching over for your laptop to tap the button for the next slide, those watching you will get distracted. That’s the last thing you want.
Regular and professional presenters tend to use a wireless remote control of some kind, and we definitely recommend you get yourself one if you’re serious about your presentations. The Spotlight from Logitech should definitely rank highly in your considerations thanks to some unique features and excellent build quality.
The Spotlight has a very appropriate name, because as well as you being in the spotlight while giving your presentation (literally, if you’re playing to a big crowd) the remote features a unique spotlight highlighting effect, as well as other ways of drawing your audience’s attention to specific things in your slide deck.
The device itself is made from touch-friendly and very smooth aluminium with large buttons that are easy for your fingers to find. Fortunately that smoothness is countered by a large transmitter panel on the back of the remote which grips to skin far better than the metal. Even with grand, sweeping gestures, the Spotlight should stay in your hand and not be accidentally flung out to crack an audience member in the face. Phew.
To connect to a laptop or computer (Windows and Mac OS both work fine) simply yank out the detachable USB dongle that lives in the base of the device and plug it into your machine. You’ll be instantly ready to go as all computers we’ve tried it on recognised it immediately. The large central button activates the next-slide function in all presentation programmes, while the smaller button takes you back a slide. Most presenters will be using PowerPoint, with which it is beautifully compatible, but Keynote users will also enjoy smooth operation.
Double tap the Spotlight button on top and you’ll toggle between the three highlighting modes. These unique features are what really sets the Logitech Spotlight apart from other presentation remotes. There’s laser dot mode, creating a small circle around your cursor; magnify, which acts like a zoom lens; and spotlight, which dims all but a small area of your screen.
Changing modes is as quick and as easy as tapping that button, taking a second or so to change. Once you’ve learnt the order of the three modes you can tap through to get what you want without having to look at the screen. Also, moving the highlighted cursor around on screen takes only a few seconds of practice to master. If you’ve ever played a Nintendo Wii game, you’ll quickly get a feel for the motion controls.
In use, while actually presenting, we found the laser dot mode to be the more useful. It essentially replaces the need to have an actual laser dot pen, which can be fiddly, dangerous (oops, just blinded someone in the audience, there), and tend to wobble about in your hand, potentially revealing a nervous shake. Being able to quickly bring up a smooth-moving dot (the colour and size of which can be modified – see below) was great, and very handy for pointing something out.
While we think the spotlight and magnify modes are impressive, they might only be useful during very specific types of presentations. Hey, if you present regularly about very small things… go for it.
All these features can be configured and tweaked in the included software. In the small app, which will spring to life when you plug in the dongle, you can adjust the size and outline colours of the spotlight circles, changing them to your personal taste or requirements. One exceptionally handy function is the ability to set a timer. If you’re presenting to a strict time limit, as most people would be, it means you no longer have to keep checking your watch or a clock. Instead you get a vibration alert from the Spotlight itself when your time is coming to an end – again, keeping your focus where it needs to be.
The vibration for the timer alert is strong enough for you to notice, even while in full presentation flow, but not so strong to be a surprise. After all, receiving a sudden shocking jerk to your hand at the vital moment of a speech would be less than ideal.
It’s a great feature, but set the timer going and a countdown clock will pop up on your screen. This can’t be minimised, annoyingly, only moved around or enlarged. If your screen real estate is already crammed with slides and speaker notes, it can get quite distracting. Our advice is to close the timer all together and rely just on the subtle vibration alert.
If you’re no fan of devices with tiny detachable dongles, probably because of their tendency to go missing, or if you have a laptop that doesn’t possess a full-sized USB port (MacBook Pro owners suddenly look up), you’ll be happy to hear that the Logitech Spotlight supports Bluetooth.
This is a great addition as the feature acts like a safety back-up in case of connection issues with the dongle. Plus, if the damn thing does indeed go missing, you can still hook up the remote via Bluetooth and enjoy all the same capabilities. We never used it in the first instance, preferring the dongle, but it’s nice to know that there is another way to connect. Nice work, Logitech.
The Spotlight charges via the included USB-C wire, into a connector hidden inside the dongle port. That connector is quite deep inside, requiring Logitech to supply the Spotlight with a wire with an extra-long casing to help you get it in there. If you lose that wire, or forget to take it to your presentation, you might struggle to get a normal USB-C wire in. We managed it after some degree of fiddling and cursing, but it is something to keep in mind.
That said, the remote has such a good low-energy rating that we found that after only a few minutes plugged in and charging, there was enough juice for hours. Even after an hour long presentation with plenty of slide changes and spotlight modes, the remote was only depleted by 20%. That’s great for those of us who tend to have to present for longer or give back-to-back presentations, and also for those who keeping forgetting to charge their tech. You know who you are.
The Logitech Spotlight Presentation Remote feels great in the hand, it’s light, and the additional features are actually useful for a wide range of presentations. The Spotlight feels like it could last for years, is robust and firm, and the included pouch will help keep it safe and dust free in your bag. Oh, we do love an included pouch for our expensive gadgets. On that note…
For pro presenters, it’s a must buy. However, for everyone else it might be a bit pricey, especially for people who only have to present once in a blue moon. At the time of this review going live the Spotlight will set you back around £120. That isn’t a small amount for a device that might see only infrequent use, and there are certainly cheaper alternatives out there.
But (and this is a significant ‘but’) Logitech is a solid name in the presentation industry with a great history of reliability and support. This is an expensive bit of tech, but it definitely feels like you’re getting what you pay for.
Purchase, and find out more, right here.*
*no affiliate link. We’re not receiving any kind of commission for this review or link. This is the genuine opinion of a member of the Buffalo 7 team.