Are you a control freak? Do you like shiny objects? Does the thought of having a pulsating blue light attached to your PC appeal to you? Then you just might be a candidate for Griffin Technology's PowerMate
. We live in a society based on needs and wants. There are things that we need and there are things that we want. Well I’m here to tell you that if you WANT to have the coolest rig in town, you absolutely NEED the Griffin Technology's PowerMate.
What the hell is the PowerMate exactly? Well it just might be the coolest device that you’ve never heard about. In terms of style this thing ranks far off of the charts and probes into uber-cool territory. When the creators are touting its pulsating base as opposed to its supposed functionality, you know you’re in for a real techno treat. Yes it’s a volume knob, but it’s not just any volume knob. It’s a volume knob capable of scrolling pages in Internet Explorer, advancing movies frame-by-frame and perhaps most importantly, lending an authentic feel to the MAME versions of Breakout
While Griffin Technology
markets predominantly Macintosh-compatible products, it had the foresight to provide multi-platform synchronicity for the PowerMate
and as a result, everyone wins. To get it up and running all you have to do is plug the device into an empty USB port, install the included software and you’re set. Also included in the package is an extension that adds a few more feet just in case you want to place the device away from your PC. It requires no external power and runs entirely on your PC’s juice.
Let’s face it the star of the show is the look and design of the unit itself. The stainless steel finish is just the beginning of this product’s appeal. Touching it lends that nice metallic feel that really enhances the product. As an unexpected bonus, the product seamlessly matches the finish of my Logitech MX700
and the dark plastic finish of my Logitech Z-680s control unit. To make the package even more attractive, the color of the glowing light in the base of the unit is the same color as the backlit LED of the Z-680s. That’s right; this puppy comes fully equipped with a glowing base.
An awful lot of thought must have been put into the base because it actually comprises a large portion of the online manual. What’s nice is that it dims and brightens accordingly with the volume of your PC. As you turn the volume up you’ll see the light get brighter. Turning it down will dim the light and muting the volume (by suppressing the unit) will turn off the light entirely. If that’s not your bag, you can set the light to pulse at varying rates. These settings range from soothingly slow to seizure-inducing madness.
All of these settings can be adjusted via the included software application. In it, you can assign various functions to the unit in regards to various programs. You can assign single keystrokes, macros or other pre-sets such as scroll-up, scroll-down or cursor up. In all you can assign up to six different functions, turn left, turn right, click, long click, click and turn right and click and turn left. While it’s definitely not practical for use with games that require quick inputs, it comes in handy in regards to strategy games. In Command & Conquer Generals
, I set it so that the unit controlled the rotation and zoom on my perspective. Was it necessary? Not really. But was it cool? You bet.
While all of this might sound silly I will admit that I got more usage out of the device than I thought I would. I found myself using it as my primary means for controlling my system’s audio. I would only touch the audio setting on my Logitech Z-680 set when I needed to really crank up the tunes, other than that I would refer to my handy PowerMate
. I also liked the feel of the unit on my skin as the steel really gave a cold and satisfying feeling when touched. If you want that nice feeling against your skin then I suggest you head on over to Griffin Technology's website
to check out the product for yourself.
All of this comes at a price though. The device is being sold for $45 at retail value. It’s a little pricey for a volume knob but if you’re trying to build the most stylish rig in town you can afford to splurge a little extra on this puppy. If you’ve got a bachelor pad, or you live in your mother’s basement and would like to think you have a bachelor’s pad, you simply must own the PowerMate. Even if you can’t score with the ladies, the pulsating light will keep you entertained for hours.