There are plenty of universal remote control devices on the market, and the main difference between them tends to be split between how many different devices they can control and how much you want to spend on them. But now you can add a third dimension into the argument, literally.
Size. But rather than try and squeeze everything into a matchbox-sized nano-remote, Innovage has moved in the opposite direction and produced what we originally thought was an April Fool joke item when it first arrived.
Measuring a huge 11 x 5 inches, and with every button being around an inch squared in size, you would need the world’s largest sofa to lose this one down the back of it!
Now there are a few advantages to something this size beyond the whole ‘where did I leave the remote’ question. The oversized design makes it perfect for the very old and very young alike, the bug buttons are easy to press whether your fingers are tiny or old and stiff, and the size also means that everything is very clearly marked for those with poor vision.
But apart from the novelty value, which is as big as the device itself it has to be said, that’s where the advantages come to an end.
This 4-in-1 remote claims to be compatible with most major brands of AV equipment, but there is compatible and compatible. So although it worked OK with our Sky HD box, it could not replicate the dedicated functionality of the original Sky remote. And believe us you quickly get fed up with the lack of a backup button, TV guide button and so on.
More problematical though, is what happens if your TV, VCR, DVD or Satellite/Cable box isn’t one of the major brands with a programming code in the manual.
Although the remote is meant to have a learning function which involves pointing it at your telly and waiting for it to find a matching code signal, in practise we were unable to get this to work no matter how long we left it looking. If you are a dedicated follower of brands then you’ll have no trouble at all, but it might be worth checking with Innovage if your kit is a little more eclectic.
That said, at £14.99 it’s far from being the most expensive all-in-one remote we’ve seen, yet certainly one of the most memorable. What’s more, it feels remarkably comfortable both in the hand, and in use thanks to the soft touch buttons and the sheer size of the thing.
Real gadget lovers will probably be happier spending ten times as much on fully programmable remote with a colour LCD screen, but for sheer novelty value it’s hard to beat – especially at that price.