Despite not being major players in the remote control market, Melconi UK recently released a rather appealing universal controller in the Gumbody Light Digital 6.
You'll find the rather chunky solution offers control for up to 6 devices, and features an effective yet conventional layout that offers all of the expected support for common digital receivers such as Freeview and Sky+.
The term "Gumbody" is less of an eccentric moniker coined (or badly translated) from a Korean instruction manual and more a description of the design. The remote features a soft rubberised casing that offers antishock support as well as making it easier to grip and use, and despite being rather bulky we actually liked the solid reassuring feel. In comparison to more contemporary offerings from mainstream providers like OneForAll, this isn't what you'd call a particularly artistic design, Melconi make no bones about the fact that the Gumbody is aimed more at practicality than aesthetics.
In the case of remote controls we believe this to be the right choice, and in making it you'll find that there are few compromises on the effectiveness of the key layout. All the buttons are raised to help you find them by touch and if you still can't work out what you're doing a dedicated button switches on a soft red light which highlights each control nicely in dark environments.
As expected there are a variety of ways to "learn" IR codes and program your devices. More common codes from mainstream manufacturers such as Sky, NTL, Freeview and Apple are printed separately for speedy setup; otherwise your next best bet is to visit the Gumbody site at www.gumbodylight.com to look up the specific make and model. Alternatively you can use direct code entry by looking up the make and type of device in the supplied codebook or use a drawn out (and most of the time quite unnecessary) global search to trawl through the entire code set.
Finally you'll still find or everyone's favourite IR-learn function here to either reprogram specific buttons or to encode the remote for less common appliances by using the original to "teach" and store the command under a specific control. It's pretty faultless in this regard then, and although some of the more lengthy code searches can take some time, there are enough options to get things up and running quite quickly.
This isn't the end of a range of nice little touches that makes the Gumbody Digital 6 one of the nicest remotes we've used. Where some other controllers don't offer a "punch-through" option, or make a meal of enabling it, the Gumbody not only sets this up automatically but provides a separate set of controls just in case it doesn't work as planned.
For the unenlightened this simply means that whichever device you have selected on the remote, using the volume control always adjusts the television's volume rather than the source device (e.g., Sky box). In addition there are four duplicate keys for volume, mute and AV-selection at the bottom of the remote to ensure you can always adjust these features with ease, from our experience this is a great little addition we haven't yet seen elsewhere.
You can pick up the Gumbody Light 6 for just £29.99, quite reasonably priced for a device of this nature. Despite not being the most attractively designed from an aesthetics standpoint, this remote is one of the most usable we've had our hands on, something that most people will agree is their primary concern.
The Gumbody Light Digital 6 is well designed, great to use and reasonably priced, making it one of the most appealing all-in-ones we've used to date.