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PowerA Universal Remote Case for iPhone review

Alan Lu
24 Jun 2010
PowerA Universal Remote Case for iPhone
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
40
inc VAT

Its a clever idea, but it won't be replacing your current remotes unless you live alone.

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The Universal Remote Case turns your iPhone into a universal remote control. Once programmed it can then control almost any home entertainment device, including TVs, DVD players and set top boxes.

The kit consists of a free-to-download app and an iPhone case with a built-in infrared transmitter – which plugs into the dock connector. The case feels sturdy enough and only adds an extra 15mm in length to your iPhone. Cleverly, when you plug your iPhone into the case, it will automatically offer to download and install the app.

Up to 20 different remote controls can be replicated in the app. To replicate a remote, simply point it at the infrared transmitter, press and hold the button on the remote, then press the corresponding button in the app and the two are matched. Although straightforward, this process quickly becomes tedious and obviously won't work if you've lost or broken your existing remote.

The key advantage of the app is that you can setup customised virtual remotes, which can control multiple devices – you could adjust the volume on your TV, change the channel on your Sky box and control playback on your DVD player without switching devices. We wish we could change the layout and labelling of the onscreen buttons too, to better replicate the handy shortcut buttons on many PVR remotes.

More worryingly, we found the transmitter had a narrow range of operation, so it has to be pointed directly at devices, which is frustrating. In addition, the IR transmitter is on the bottom of the case, with app presented upside down, so you have to turn around the iPhone if you want to switch from remote control to web browsing.

Most home entertainment setups are communal and shared, but an iPhone is a very personal device. Unless you live alone then, it will be an additional remote rather than a replacement for all the others, which partly undermines the point of a universal controller. All this makes it more of a clever toy, than an essential accessory.

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Price£40
Rating***

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