Although we said the RedEye Mini supports learning, you may well find you don’t need to use this feature since the system includes an extensive IR code database you can access for no extra cost.
So far, the RedEye Mini has ticked plenty of the right boxes. Shame, then, that it falls down pretty heavily when it comes to that age old universal remote problem of ease of use. For frankly, we found the process of getting a RedEye Mini up and running pretty darned horrendous.
Physically inserting the IR dongle into your iDevice’s headphone jack isn’t a problem, and the software installs easily enough. Your first stop after that should be ensuring that your iDevice’s headphone volume is set to max, to deliver the maximum power possible to the IR transmitter. This could, of course, require you to turn the volume down again when listening to music via headphones. This could become a bit tedious if you have to keep adjusting the headphone volume a lot, but it’s not really a big deal.
Definitely a big deal, though, are the difficulties you come across when simply wanting to add devices to your RedEye database. Press the set up button, and you’re presented with a daunting looking series of options. Having located the ‘add new device’ option, things get more straightforward for a bit as you just tap in the brand and model name of the device you want to add.
However, this doesn’t lead to the device immediately finding just one set of correct commands from the RedEye database. Instead you get a long list of command database options, all unhelpfully distinguished by a large ‘catalogue’ number, which have to be manually tested with your device one by one until you find one that works. This can be very time consuming and tedious, especially as the software doesn’t track which options on a database list you’ve already tried, meaning you have to remember yourself the long number of the last one you’ve just tried.
To be fair, with around two-thirds of the devices we tried to add to the RedEye Mini, the first or second options on the list of command sets turned out to be the right one. But in other cases we ended up getting way down the list before we stumbled on the right option. You can’t help but think that the RedEye Mini could have streamlined this process, especially as it lets you input the exact model number of the device you want to add to its control database.
The potential for confusion grows, moreover, once you’ve actually found the right command set for your device, as you’re faced with a rather bewildering and time consuming process of manually tweaking the long list of commands associated with your chosen command set into something that fits more precisely with your particular device.
The good news is that your efforts are fairly handsomely rewarded. For touching the Navigation button on your iDevice screen after going through all the stages just described presents you with a virtual button layout that approximates handsomely to a normal remote control.