Category: Universal Remote
TiP Rating: 5/5 stars
Requirements: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Summary: The most powerful, easiest-to-use universal remote control… ever. Powered by Dijit — Your Personal Media Assistant — Beacon uses your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to control everything in your home entertainment system. Without wires. And without networking. So put away the remotes. Stop surfing around for something to watch. Sit back and relax.
It’s time to watch better with Beacon.
Review: Most of us have some sort of entertainment equipment in our house. We have televisions and radios, sound systems and DVD players. The problem is that they all have their own remotes. You end up with a table full of remotes, and you can never find the one you are looking for (check the fridge). But what if every remote was in the same place and you could control it all with the device you already use the most–because for sure you always know where iPhone is, right? Well this is general idea behind the Griffin Beacon universal remote control.
The Beacon consolidates all of you remotes into one elegantly crafted piece of technology. The Beacon is basically two parts. There is the physical device that you set on your table and the Dijit app that does all of the controlling. When you get your device, the first thing you do is quickly pair it to your iPhone or iPod. Then, you go and download the Dijit app and set up your remotes. The Beacon has built in codes for over 200,000 devices, but if your device is not listed, you can have your Beacon “learn” the infrared codes. This process involves going button by button on your remote and teaching your device, so it can be a bit tedious, but once you’re done, you don’t have to touch that remote again.
Before I go on to the app features, I just have to take a minute to really tell you how beautiful this thing is because it is gorgeous. I mean, the words sleek and stunning come to mind, and it is not even made by Apple. It basically looks like a high-gloss black rock set on a black stand. It has no buttons, rather the whole “stone” pushes down to power on. On the flip side, there is a battery compartment that houses 4 AA batteries. This is the one thing that I do not like about the Beacon. I have plenty of outlets, but never enough batteries. If they could have just put in a rechargeable battery, that would have been great. Other than that, it looks amazing and works wonderfully. As far as range goes, it just needs to be in view of your entertainment system, as it is infrared. The connection between your iDevice and the Beacon though, is Bluetooth and has a decent range–if I forget to turn off the television, I can always do it from a different room.
Now let’s get to the user interface. The Beacon uses this little app called Dijit. It houses a T.V. guide, and all of your virtual remotes. The guide is specific to your area and service, so there is no searching through channels you don’t have and you can filter by genre, season premieres, recently watched, and movies. There is also an option for new and HD shows only. This really makes channel surfing a thing of the past. The virtual remotes are just as intuitive. Dijit allows you to customize your remotes however you like–I guess you can say they are giving you complete control. Anyways, buttons can be added, removed, or placed anywhere to suit your fancy. Lastly, Beacon lets you set up different rooms. Depending on which room you pick, you get your different remotes. This way, you can just take your Beacon with you wherever you go without mixing up your remotes.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with the Beacon. It is easily the best universal remote I have seen. It is intuitive and makes watching T.V. a thoughtless process–who wants to think about watching television anyways? Like I said, it takes batteries instead of having a rechargeable one, but in order to not drain them the Beacon does turn off automatically after a while. This is not such a bad thing as there is no internal battery that will wear out. I definitely would recommend that you give this a try if you are tired of your coffee table looking like a remote parking lot.
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