Got an iPhone or iPod? You'll pay £100 for a remote
Review Universal remote controls always sound like a good idea – one handy little remote to control all the digital gadgets cluttering up your front room – but they never quite seem to live up to the hype. The cheaper ones tend to be a finger-tangling clutter of buttons, while the more expensive models, such as Logitech’s touchscreen Harmony, can cost as much as £300-£400.
The zappy couple: Gear4 UnityRemote and iPhone
However, Gear4’s new UnityRemote strikes a good balance, allowing you to use the touch-screen controls of an iPhone or iPod Touch to control your devices for a somewhat more affordable 100 quid.
The Unity consists of a small cylindrical infra-red transmitter that also has the ability to pair with your iPhone/iPod using Bluetooth. The transmitter runs off three AA batteries, rather than mains power, so it can be positioned pretty much anywhere within line of sight of your TV. Gear4 suggests that it should run for about four or five months per set of batteries.
The company also acknowledges that the Bluetooth connection adds “a little more” to the drain on the iPhone/iPod battery, but it didn’t seem to have a particularly noticeable effect on my iPhone’s battery during my tests.
Once you’ve set up the Bluetooth connection you then download the Unity app from the App Store and use it to configure the Unity transmitter to control your TV and other devices Even though the Gear4 web site only lists the iPhone and iPod Touch as compatible devices, the app seemed to run fine on my iPad.
What a complete load of rubbish
Firstly, universal remotes start at about £15. Mine cost £35 and controls five devices with ease (the wife and a four year-old cope fine). So the £100 already looks pricey assuming you already have the required iPod or iPhone.
But then what happens when I go out and take my iPhone with me? Either no-one can use any of the electronics in the living room OR you have to have all five remotes sitting around AS WELL. Or another universal remote control.
I remember when all Windows Mobile devices had IR transceivers built-in and Universal remote software was available. Even then, when free, it was a pointless waste of time/brief "wow. Look at that" distraction because of the need to have another means available to change channels.
This is genuinely the most pointless piece of tech I've ever come across for £100. To see it score so well is flabbergasting. What were you thinking Reg? Has the eggnog season come early to Vulture towers?
"Thanks for making the effort to INFORM us early on it was for crapple only."
Er, look at the title of the article -
"Got an iPhone or iPod? You'll pay £100 for a remote"
Seems clear to me
Flawed on so many levels
Touch screen remotes seem like a good idea but in reality knowing the exact location of the buttons on the remote by feel is much more useful. I can navigate my basic logitech harmony purely by touch. I owned one of the one4all chameleon remotes and it was a pig to use.
You come home from work fancy watching a bit of TV but you can't because your partner is out and the remote is their phone/ipod (that's a good system isn't it)
Haven't charged your phone for a bit, no TV for you
when the iPhone is no longer the coolest phone around and you want an Android that £100 is down the pan.
The bottom end logitech harmony remotes are amazing, I think mine was £35. It controls everything I own that has an IR sensor even my dSLR.
Hm, the app-idea sounds nice...
But my Logitech harmony is in reality better suited for the living room, as my mother could pick it up and use our AV-setup without any troubles. A dedicated remote control is also better suited for sharing as I don't like to lend my phone to others...
until Jobs decides to block hardware interface apps from the AppStore.
Hope they come up with Symbian & Android editions of the software, but they do seem to be a Cupertino-only shop...