Impatica Showmate for BlackBerry

So you've got a BlackBerry, do loads of presentations and are tired of having to lug your laptop around with you wherever you go to do those presentations. In steps the Impatica Showmate for "Presentations on the Move" as it says on the box.

Come again? Well the aim of the small box of tricks, is to allow you give presentations in PowerPoint via your BlackBerry handheld and negate the need to carry around your laptop.

The rather unimaginative black box, which is the size of a large box of matches, has a USB cable going in one and a SVGA monitor out socket on the other that you connect to your projector.

Setting up is very easy. Once you've loaded the software on to your BlackBerry all that is left to do is connect one end to the projector and the other end to your BlackBerry. Everything is pretty much plug-and-play.

On screen, and the software allows presenters the chance to view a full list of slides in the presentation or even the speaker's notes extracted directly from PowerPoint.

Although not mentioned on the box, it seems that Impatica has added a Bluetooth adapter since the product packaging had been printed. What this means is that rather having a wire trailing from your BlackBerry as you walk around using it as a remote to control your presentation you can now walk wire-free making a huge difference to the usability of the device in a boardroom situation.

Our only gripe is that you can only use the box of tricks to display the ShowMate software rather than using it to display your home screen or emails - effectively making and screening the display for your BlackBerry. It's a shame and a feature that for us would have made this an almost must for anyone - presentations to give or not.

Verdict

For those who do presentations a lot, this is a simple device that works really well.

The fact that it allows you to ditch the laptop all together is great for those who've managed to do so already for all there other office needs.

If we were to improve the unit, we would have to say that it would have been nice if it looked a bit more the part, rather than a simple box that looks like it should belong behind a computer rather than on show in the boardroom, but then its performance far outweighs its looks.