Mine came in yesterday afternoon and after the initial setup I started getting an activity setup for my use case.
Fit and finish wise I’m pretty happy with the remote. It looks great, others noted some button deformation issues but mine seems to be fine. The buttons have a nice feel and are clicky enough.
I do wish there was a big more of a 3D form to the direction pad to help your thumb keep itself in place but it’s a minor issue and I’ll get used to it like I did with the NEEO remote.
The screen looks beautiful head on but I do wish it were closer to the glass as off axis you can end up obscuring the screen a bit which feels weird when you’re use to how phone screens look.
I was happy to see that it’s also very responsive when the remote is awake and already connected button presses result in an action immediately which has always been my main complaint with Harmony remotes which have always had a weird deli between a button press and something actually happening.
This level of responsiveness is what I missed most about my NEEO remote.
The activity stuff is also nice and fast and setting them up was pretty straightforward. I like the interface for it.
So all good stuff…
Now the bad stuff or things that seem to need some work.
The haptic motor is WAY to week. I didn’t even notice it had one at first. Now that I do I can faintly feel it but it’s so week it might as well not be on. At least on my remote.
The available icons are a bit of a mess and also very limited. It’s weird for instance that the play pause icon looks completely different than the actual play pause button icon on the remote itself. Why not make them match?
The selection is also so limited that for most needs you’re probably not going to find an icon in the existing set for your needs. Even relatively basic stuff like an input selection button, or a game system, DVD player, generic av unit, etc… none of it is available.
Adding your own icons is also hit/miss. Some guidelines for what line thickness works best and how big the icon inside the 90x90 bounds should be would be helpful as it’s not clear at all and icons uploaded to fill the 90x90 grid look absolutely massive inside the UI of the remote. I’m also wondering if perhaps some SVG support might make sense? They’re generally smaller and resize easily/nicely.
A possible partial solution for the icon sizing issue might be having an icon size slider available whenever choosing an icon for something so you can adjust its appearance vs. the other icons in the interface so things feel like they match.
I haven’t yet had the issue where button presses get repeated 1000 times instead of once per click, but I have had numerous occasions where I’d set the remote down and then clicked a button and nothing happened at all because the remote was not awake and a little communication error notice appeared.
I fully understand the need for the remote to sleep when it’s been idle for awhile but there must be a way to keep the connection alive enough or responsive enough that you can click a button after the remote has been idle for awhile and have the button press registered and then sent to the device. A small delay for things to fully wakeup seems reasonable but just an error and no actual action taken doesn’t.
Beyond being able to resize icons while placing them in the interface I do have a few other ideas or possible feature requests.
I understand why Activities are independent of each other by default. This provides way more flexibility than the modal style that Harmony remotes used.
But at least for some of us, that modal style of activity is what we actually need. Part of why I use a remote like this is to get our AV interface simple enough that my wife and kids can use it without needing to call me. Perhaps a modal toggle for activities and/or even a way to link them. So you could have a Watch TV activity a Play Xbox activity, and a Watch a DVD activity all linked so you could switch between them and then using the power off button you could turn them all off together?
When customizing the user interface you have icon button and text button options.
I think a third option of just “text” would be useful for putting text/instructions that aren’t clickable.
You can just put a text button and not assign it a value currently but it still clicks like a button which is confusing.
On a similar note, a way to rerun the on sequence inside of an activity would be nice so you could provide a Fix button in the UI when needed. Sometimes our TV puts itself into some sort of deep sleep mode and it doesn’t wake up in time to switch inputs for instance and a way to just rerun the on commands for the activity solves that issue. Something like the Harmony Fix functionality essentially.
The fact that the Hub needed an update wasn’t immediately clear to me. Perhaps if it were possible to trigger an update for the hub via the remote in the same place the remote software update happens?
Pie in the sky wishes:
I’d love if the Apple TV integration at some point were capable of working with Siri. I imagine that’s a tough one but I’ve seen third party remotes coming out more recently that can do this so I’m guessing it’s now possible.
Please don’t let my big list of requests and issues color what you’re hearing. I totally psyched by what I’m already seeing and it’s early days.
I was a funder of the Remote 1 and I enjoyed tinkering with it and putting it together was a ton of fun but It was never something I could see the rest of my family being able to use comfortably and the quality of buttons never felt good enough either.
This one feels like a real product, it’s fast, responsive, feels nice in your hand and the dock with 2 IR blaster ports (a necessity for myself and I imagine others) is really nicely made as well and was a big missing piece on the first remote.
Super excited to see the improvements continue to roll out and for this to get to a point I can replace my Harmony with it completely.