The $39.99 Satechi Bluetooth Multi-Media Remote Control for iPhone, iPad & other Bluetooth enabled iOS devices is a handy companion. At 1.38” by 3.56” it is small. It only weighs one ounce (I’ll get back to the disadvantages of being too diminutive at the end of the post).
The remote is ideal for controlling an iPad connected to a hotel or other television set. It also offers control for an iPod or iPhone tethered to a car without an iOS interface. Basic functions include mute, play and forward and reverse. This also works with music, so it’s great for the picnic or barbeque where the iPhone or iPad provide music through external speakers.
The remote includes a home button, which doesn’t do much unless you have Siri. If I’m close enough for Siri to hear me, I’m probably close enough to push the home button directly. I would rather the home button bring up the home screen on an iPad attached to a television (which it does) and then use the controller to move between icons (which it does not). That way I could switch from videos, to YouTube to Xfinity using “Play” as enter, eliminating my need to get up to switch apps.
Setup is pretty easy. Tap the connect button in the remote’s hidden key area (slide down a panel to reveal the keys) and then find the remote on your iOS or OSX device’s Bluetooth connection area. Enter the code requested by the connecting device and you’re done. Entering codes is usually easy, but the keys on the remote are very tiny, so you need to be particularly careful if you have big fingers like mine.
If you are taking family photos, the remote shutter switch can put you in the photo without worrying about countdown timing.
On Macintoshes, the remote also controls Keynote. It is too bad it doesn’t control Keynote on the iPad, as I tend to create on the Mac these days, and deliver on the iPad.
With six months of battery life, the remote is likely going to work when you need it, even if it has been stashed away for a while. The two CR2025 batteries and its low power drain offer advantages over rechargeable devices that might not be charged enough for the moment you need them.
Overall I like the Satechi remote. As I said, I wish it was more complete in how it controlled the iPad/iPhone, in particular including Keynote and app navigation. If you watch a lot of video or music over devices that aren’t right next to you, this remote is probably a good investment.
Now about the size.
Paying attention to a new small device can be an issue. I took my Satechi remote with me on a recent trip, used it to help control the Lincoln Lawyer and Glee as they played in HD on the hotel’s LCD TV. I gathered my things and left. Remotes in hotels tend to be used in bed. Power off the TV with its remote, and with auto sleep and the HDMI adapter with power on the iPad, there is no need to leave bed at the end of the movie. It’s easy to fall asleep, as we all have, with the remote somewhere other than where it should be. Unfortunately, most likely somewhere in the comforter, the remote remained. I hadn’t yet tuned my departure check list to look for it, and its small size made it easy to slip into the folds of a sheet. If you buy one, you may want to create an immediate ritual for securing its safe return, or perhaps adhere a bit of Velcro on its back so you can attach it to something easier to see.
Bluetooth Multi-Media Remote Control for iPhone, iPad & other Bluetooth enabled iOS devices