Slide remote. Wireless presenter. You know, the clicker thing. While we can’t agree on a good name for the wireless, hand-held device used to advance slides during a presentation, we can agree that a good one can be a big help to your presentation. But what’s the best choice? After years of working with different slide remotes, I keep coming back to my two favorites. Here’s what they are and why I love them.
Logitech Wireless Presenter R400
Let me begin by saying that Logitech’s R400 remote is only compatible with Windows-based computers. If you use a Mac, skip down to read my review of the Kensington remote below. This remote is one of my favorites for a couple of reasons. It’s contoured design fits really well in my hand. I’ve had remotes in the past that are difficult to hold, but the design of this remote allows me to almost forget that it’s there. The intuitive placement of the buttons and the red laser pointer on this remote make all the features easy to use. Another thing I like about the Logitech R400 is that I’m able to start and stop media in my presentation from the remote. As a bonus, this remote comes with a cushioned carrying case.
I will always choose a remote that has built-in and convenient storage for the USB receiver, and this one does. I once made the mistake of purchasing a remote that stored the receiver inside the battery compartment. It was frustrating to have to open the battery door every time I used it, and that remote ultimately stopped working after only 3 months. This remote has a 2.4 GHz receiver, and it requires no setup or installation. Just plug the receiver in, and it’s ready to go. This receiver has a 50-foot wireless range which, for reference, is the width of a professional basketball court. Some of the more expensive presenters boast of longer ranges, but I’ve yet to need more than the 50 feet this remote offers. However, if you are someone who presents on very large stages or likes to move around while speaking in larger rooms, you might consider a remote with greater range.
Kensington Wireless Presenter (K33374USB)
The Kensington remote below is a little smaller, but it doesn’t feel too small like some of the remotes I’ve had in the past. The main thing I love about the Kensington model is that this little remote gets the job done without a lot of the unnecessary frills and features that you’ll find on the pricier remotes. This is the remote I have my students use as they are learning to speak with presentation media. I like that it only has 4 buttons: one for the laser pointer, one to advance the slide show forward, one to move the slide show backward, and one to blackout the screen. It’s hard to get confused and push the wrong thing with just these 4 sensibly-placed and easy-to-operate buttons.
As far as the receiver goes, this remote has a 65-foot range, which is a little bit longer than the Logitech’s range. But again, I’ve never had range issues with either of these remotes. Like the Logitech, it has a 2.4 GHz receiver that slides in and out of the bottom of the remote, storing it both conveniently and safely. While this remote doesn’t come with a carrying case, it is well-built, and I’ve never found the need for a case in the all the years I’ve been using mine.
Once you’ve chosen the right wireless presenter for you, make sure you’ve always got a set of extra batteries ready to go. And if for some reason you forget your slide remote or it stops working, you can quickly insert blank, black slides in between your graphics. Black slides will work like a screen blackout button. They allow you to minimize audience distraction by having a blank screen when you aren’t using graphics. And black slides, rather than white ones, won’t create shadows or blind you whenever you step in front of the projector light.
For more tools of the trade and tips to become a master presenter, check out our online presentation skills course.