The idea of having a universal remote like the RedEye Mini on your iPad/iPhone/iPod touch seems to make perfect sense. After all, long - and frequently frustrating - experience suggests that the best universal remotes are those that feature some sort of screen display to help you keep track of what you’re trying to achieve on which device. And models with touchscreens take the vital sense of control immediacy to a whole new level.
Add to this the RedEye Mini’s support for gesture-based controls on its iPod/iPad/iPhone home, as well as the extra-large screen area available on an iPad, and you really could be talking about the universal remote to end all universal remotes.
This potential becomes all the more exciting when you consider that at £44.99, the RedEye Mini costs peanuts relative to typical touchscreen universal remote controls. (Assuming you already have a suitable iDevice, obviously!)
Android fans will doubtless be feeling pretty cheesed off around now by the RedEye’s current iOS exclusivity - if they’re even still reading the article at all. Hopefully they are, though, for ThinkFlood, the people behind the RedEye Mini, promises that an Android-capable system is ‘coming soon’.
As its name suggests, the RedEye Mini doesn’t physically consist of very much. Its little box contains just a RedEye IR ‘dongle’, and a reasonably handy little holder for the dongle that’s attached to a key ring.
The dongle is around an inch long and a cm or so wide, with a 360-degree IR transmitter on one end and a plug for pushing into your iDevice’s headphone slot on the other. The necessary free app for driving the dongle has to be downloaded from iTunes.
With an infrared transmission range of between 20kHz and 60kHz, practically all home entertainment devices should be controllable via the RedEye Mini, a fact which seems backed up by the gargantuan list of manufacturers you get when you start adding a new device to the RedEye’s system.
The RedEye also supports infrared ‘learning’ - a key feature for any universal remote - and it appears that the amount of devices, control functions and ‘activity’ macro lists you can program is restricted only by the available memory in your iDevice.
The claimed active range for the RedEye Mini IR dongle is 30 feet, while the software provides the facility to program different rooms into your iDevice (for more streamlined and advanced control systems).
A further nice touch is that you can set your RedEye Mini application up to download TV guide information for any broadcaster you like, be it Freeview, Freesat or Sky. You can then call this guide up at the touch of a virtual button and access the usual programme information just as you would via a digital TV’s Electronic Programme Guide. Plus, of course, you can hit the Watch Now button once you’ve selected a program and the TV will switch over to it. In theory, at least... More on this later.