Griffin PowerMate

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Griffin PowerMate
  • Griffin PowerMate
  • Griffin PowerMate
  • Griffin PowerMate

Pros

  • Fully programmable, Looks stylish, Has various uses

Cons

  • A little expensive

Bottom Line

More than just a volume knob, the PowerMate is a fully programmable USB peripheral that has a number of useful features.

Would you buy this?

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PowerMate is the coolest volume knob your computer has ever seen.

Meet PowerMate, a sleek and stylish USB volume knob peripheral. We are guessing now is the time you read over this again and burst out into uncontrollable laughter. We did too when we first heard of this product and our advice would be not to laugh. This is a really intuitive device and it actually made us feel pretty stupid for judging it negatively in the first place.

Basically, PowerMate is a convenient volume knob and mute button for playing music through your PC or Mac, but this is just the beginning of its powers. The PowerMate is also a unique editing peripheral that can be used to scroll, click, select, cut, copy, paste and much, much more. The key to the PowerMate is that it's programmable and this means you can quickly and easily command it to execute a multitude of key commands in any application. For example, during testing we used it to scroll up and down through pages in our Internet browser, Mozilla Firefox. Doesn't sound like much, but they key is that is can synchronise with any number of applications, including image and video editing software.

In terms of design, the PowerMate does look pretty attractive. Its brushed silver finish gives the impression that it's been ripped off the front of an advanced stereo system or amplifier. The knob itself can be both rotated and clicked, and in a move which adds to the "coolness" factor of the PowerMate, the bottom of the unit emits a glowing blue light, furthering the striking design.

The PowerMate includes software which is compatible with both Windows and Mac OSX. Conveniently, it is preset to work with iMovie, GarageBand and FinalCut Pro out of the box. For all other applications though, you'll have to configure the functions yourself, although this isn't difficult at all. The software is a simple menu, similar to what you would find in your Windows Control Panel or your Mac OSX System Preferences. You simply select the setting (i.e. program) and configure each user action to correspond to the computer action you would like in that particular application.

Other options you can configure include knob sensitivity, LED pulsing, and adjusting the time of the long click length. All in all there are six actions the knob provides: Rotate Right, Rotate Left, Click, Long Click, Click and Rotate Right and Click and Rotate Left. The PowerMate is a surprisingly useful device which we can't see ourselves removing from our desks anytime soon, although the $89 price tag seems a little steep.

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