If impressing your colleagues and basking in the grow of showmanship is a priority, especially for those trapped in the endless drudgery of meetings and presentations, Genius aims to help liven things up a bit with their Ring Presenter, the world’s first ring-style touch cursor controller as the company puts it. There’s certainly no shortage of similar pointing devices on the market (including Logitech’s Air Mouse), all vying to become the minimalist pointer-of-choice for all your presentation needs, but none have the sheer ‘geek chic’ of the Ring Presenter. This is indeed wearable technology that looks and plays the part, much like early Bluetooth headsets did when hands-free calls become fashionable.
It may not give you Green Lantern-style powers or replace your favorite terrestrial mouse, but as a way to stylishly add a little spark to an otherwise dull office presentation it’s an intriguing idea.
You might be asking why would anyone need the convenience of having both hands available at such a time, especially when a simple mouse of gyro-pointer would suffice. Gesticulating, for starters. The Ring Presenter easily and stylishly frees up your pointing hand that might otherwise be preoccupied with an older, bulkier pointing device. Slip one of these babies on and you’re free to wave both your hands around, grab objects, and feign sincerity like you’re the next Steve Jobs.
Design-wise the Ring Presenter is pretty straightforward (save for a rainbow of available colors) with a comfortable plastic hoop designed to fit snugly around the index finger and controlled with you thumb, the main area hosting four function buttons that surround a touch-sensitive cursor. A red colored laser beam emits from the top when you need a quick pointer, and a handy switch on the side quickly changes the Ring from a micro PowerPoint remote to nifty mini-mouse on the fly.
The Ring Presenter probably won’t appeal to those looking for a suitable replacement mouse but that doesn’t seem to be its intention. For those interested in trying anyway, mouse mode makes sure all of the essential buttons are accounted for (right/middle clicks) while the touch cursor controls the pointer and left-click presses. You’re also able to alternate between cursor and page scrolling, although the execution could use some work, as the center cursor is much too small and makes getting from one end to the desktop to the other quite a chore even with scrolling enabled. In fairness I wouldn’t confuse the ring for being unresponsive; it’s just that the approach is quite unconventional for everyday use.
Using the Ring for PowerPoint (the intended purpose) works considerably better, especially when you flip that switch on the side. The device changes its button functions to provide left/right page navigation or to simply start/stop your slide show presentation. Admittedly, the controls are pretty basic but a little bit of freedom is given when you realize that there is a limited amount of cursor control and left clicks with the center button. It doesn’t take long to get acquainted with this streamlined setup and you’ll be styling like a big shot in no time when those quarterly reviews need a little spicing up, at least when presenting them.
Because the Ring is wireless (via a 2.4 GHz dongle) battery life varied during our tests, which averaged a solid 4-6 hours between charges; not too shabby in the business world, unless your bosses want you to endure a Dilbert-style marathon of slides and whatnot. You’ll charge it using the included micro-USB cable, though the Ring takes a surprising amount of time to juice itself back to life (roughly an hour or so). I was disappointed at first by how weak the battery life was, as a wireless device simply shouldn’t have this type of battery drainage, until I realized the real culprit is the blinding laser pointer, which probably bleeds most of its precious battery life away during use. For charts and slides the pointer has its uses, but for messing around with your buddies this feature is invaluable.
The only real issue I had with the Ring Presenter was, after the presentation concludes and the all-important after party starts, there’s little reason to keep wearing it, apart from the off chance of it helping start a conversation with fellow tech types. This isn’t fundamentally different than other pointing devices, most of which are relegated back to the suitcase until needed again, except the Ring Presenter is designed to be weared.
Genius’ Ring Presenter may be a bit of a novelty, but it’s still a fun novelty when used for its true purpose, which is to help free up your pointing hand during an otherwise stodgy presentation. As a hands-free, wearable tech it gets the job done with accurate pointing, streamlined controls, and the undeniable geek chic that all futuristic devices share. I wouldn’t recommend using it as a replacement mouse as the tracking is simply too slow and cumbersome to replicate spot-on pointing, although the built-in laser pointer feature has lots of potential (apart from pranking your friends). While the design could be a tad less Original Star Trek and surreal, the Ring Presenter is still a comfy way to liven up those endless PowerPoint marathons for everyone involved.