Clear the coffee table: universal remotes reviewed

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CNET Editor

Brian Haverty is Editorial Director for CNET Networks Australia and is responsible for the company's, ZDNet Australia, GameSpot AU and Builder AU online titles. Brian has been editing and writing on an extensive range of technology subjects for 10 years in Australia but the areas he specialises in are digital publishing and production systems.

The frustration of "remote juggling" — holding three or four remote controls, and switching between them as you try to operate the required components in your home entertainment system — makes people do crazy things.

Well, OK, it's made us do crazy things — like try "universal" remote controls that turned out not to be very universal at all.

So we set out to discover if there really are any truly all-in-one remotes out there ... not one that takes the place of two or three of your remotes, but the perfect replacement for all of them.

Other criteria we looked at in our hunt for the perfect remote included: ease of programming, ease of operation and extras such as macros, which let you assign multiple operations (and even timer options) to a single button. We've also noted that many remotes, in an attempt to provide the maximum number of features, end up with page after page of options to click through to get to the desired operation. So the remotes must also be able to be configured to your specific needs.

Finally, most of the top-end remotes we looked at come with PC applications, and while this can make it easier to program and configure your remote, we also looked at these applications as having to provide an awful lot of extras to justify the extra work.

So here is our collection of top-end remote control reviews — is there one that will help you clear off that coffee table?

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alan posted a comment   

Very small list of remotes.
Should have high end and middle ground ones.
I have the Logitech 785 and this has to be the best remote there is. Very cheap too at $130, but can get for $99.


Ty Pendlebury posted a reply   

The 785 is officially out of production, but definitely worth picking up if you can still find it.


marcus posted a comment   

Is the Nevo controller not available anymore.
I was hoping to see it stacked up against these cheaper controllers.I have one and love it.


why posted a comment   

Am i the only one who finds it frustrating that to get to each "full review" link you need to navigate to each page? Is it to boost advertising? 5 thumbnails, 5 links and 5 one liners on a single page also does the job.


Reader posted a comment   

That has to be the first 'full' report I have ever seen put so succinctly. Don't get me wrong, just that I always thought a full review would actually give specs/details besides personal observation...


Pam Carroll posted a comment   

Please click through on the product link -- there are full reviews behind each one. We will be amending the design shortly to make this more obvious.


Reader posted a comment   

That's not a review, that's 5 remotes with a one line throw-away comment.

Please do an in-depth review next time.

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