Say goodbye to the clutter of remote controls on your living room table. Gear4’s latest innovation UnityRemote will turn your existing iOS devices like your iPhone into a universal remote control.
This is a common problem at most houses. There are different remotes for the TV, Blu-Ray or DVD Player, Home Theater and so on. Some home theater systems do come with programmable remotes while some families get themselves the Logitech Harmony. However, at the end something is usually amiss and we keep asking for more. I have.
So enter UnityRemote. At $99.99 for the package you get an aesthetically designed IR emitter sized smaller than a tennis ball, which communicates with your iPod or iPhone via Bluetooth. After the break, you learn how it works and why it may be the last remote you will ever use.
The whole line of iOS devices have a great touch enabled display, no doubt about that. All we needed was an intuitive interface for the app that will take care of our remote control needs. And I think UnityRemote has nothing but stellar stuff there.
The emitter which is the UnityRemote itself works on 3 AA batteries and has no wires. No dongles or dock to place your iPhone. You walk into the room and it connects over Bluetooth. Sweet right? Also, the round design of the UnityRemote makes sure your devices work fine no matter where it is placed in the room. Since this device has a very minimalistic design you won’t find a need to hide it very far away from the eyes.
Setting up the remote for the first time is outright simple. In all likelihood you can select your products from the existing list of devices in the Unity Database. This is possible with most home theater remote controls however where they lack is at the ability to learn from your old remote. You can program UnityRemote by pointing your original remote at it.
Another novel feature I liked was Unity Actions. Remember, how we need to sometimes perform multiple actions one after another. Let’s say I’m watching a TV show on the DTH and I would like to now watch a Blu-Ray Movie. This will require the TV to switch source to Bluray Player, switch on BluRay Player and set Home Theater audio source to BluRay player. Unity Remote can do all of this at once when you tap on Watch Movie on the homescreen.
And if you thought that was all, you’re going to be surprised again when you hear about the custom gestures and configurable buttons. You don’t have to keep switching between devices on your iPhone that you are currently controlling. You can command multiple devices at the same time. All buttons on the screen can be configured and rearranged according to your custom needs.
UnityRemote works with both iPad 1 and iPad 2 and iPhone 3GS or later and iPod Touch 3rd Generation or Later. As for iOS compatibility, except for a known issue with iOS 4.1.2, it works fine with most versions including those going back to iOS 3.1.3. I’m not sure why iPhone 3G is not listed under the list of compatible products on the website.
Personally, I really am going to use this a lot but I can also think of some reasons why not. I wouldn’t be leaving behind my iOS device in the room for others to use unless it is an iPod Touch and if I have kids around at home I would really prefer they use a remote. A real remote!
Megha Bassi has a strong fascination for all things Apple. Not only does she religiously follow Mac and iPhone news, but also loves writing about everything pertaining to it, be it publishing useful tutorials or app reviews.