Let’s begin this review with a summary of it:
Do you need this Bluetooth accessory? NO!
Do you want this Bluetooth accessory? MAYBE!
Do I recommend you purchase this Bluetooth accessory? ABSOLUTELY!
When I first saw the Satechi Bluetooth MediaRemote I really didn’t understand why I would want to having something like this. After using it for a time however I really find it to be one of the more useful accessories I have purchased in a quite some time. Yes, this was no review sample. This is something I purchased on a whim and am glad I did. As noted in the summary you certainly don’t need something like this but if you do purchase one I suspect you will find it quite useful.
So let’s run down what it can do and then you can determine if this is something you might want you your wish list.
Compact and lightweight, Satechi BT Media Remote is the ultimate multi-media companion for your Bluetooth iOS device. Enjoy the convenience of controlling your iPhone or iPad media wirelessly whether it is connected to your TV, dock station or car stereo.
Let’s run down the features and add some commentary to each.
Compact and lightweight: Satechi BT Media Remote is the ultimate multi-media companion for your Bluetooth iOS device. Enjoy the convenience of controlling your iPhone or iPad media wirelessly whether it is connected to your TV, dock station or car stereo.
Multi Media Remote Control: Connected to your TV, a dock station or car stereo you can, play, pause, forward, rewind and mute or adjust the volume of music or video content on your iPhone or iPad from up to 33 ft. away.
I’ve used my iOS devices as remotes for other media players for some time now. The iPhone works well as a control for my Apple TV, my Mac or any number of other devices. Until getting this remote, however, I hadn’t used a separate accessory to control my iOS device. (The exception of course is the Bluetooth keyboard which has both media controls and the ability to fire off a picture in iOS 5.0 and higher, but let’s face it — you don’t carry around a keyboard all the time, do you?) This little remote lets me control my iPhone when it is docked in a media player, control it while driving without fumbling around and much more.
My iOS devices have slowly moved from being “the accessory to another device” and taken on the role of “media hub”; this little remote helps that process move forward. Plus, it does so quite well thanks to the simple and familiar interface.
Camera Remote Shutter: The volume up button on BT Media Remote will trigger the Camera app to take a photo just like a camera remote shutter. This means you can place the iPhone on a tripod or stand, and snap a blur-free shot. The remote is also perfect for group shots, where you can be included!!
In iOS 5.0, Apple introduced the ability to use the volume control to trigger the shutter. That make sense since the iPhone 4S has a terrific camera. Moreover this feature was long overdue since tapping on the screen to take a picture introduces unnecessary movement and can ruin an otherwise good the shot. Using the volume button to take a picture means you can use ANY volume button and a picture will be fired off. That means this will work with a Bluetooth keyboard and, apparently, even some headsets (although I have not tried it). But as previously noted, who carries a Bluetooth keyboard around in order to take pictures? Certainly not me. This little remote is small, handy, and has the potential to be ready whenever you need it. I’ve found myself using the remote and the Joby GorillaPod more than I ever expected!!!
Siri Activation: Thanks to the Home button on BT Media Remote, you do not need to reach your iPhone to activate Siri while you are driving or jogging. Just long press the Home button on the remote and it works.
I’ve been rather disappointed with Siri until now. While I LOVE, and often use, the global voice recognition it introduced the actual process of using Siri has been too limited and slow for me. That is changing a bit with iOS 6.0 and its ability to launch apps with Siri. (I’m running iOS 6.0 Beta on a new iPad and the app-launching is AWESOME.) This remote makes it possible to launch Siri without having direct access to your iOS device. That means my iPad can be some distance away, and I can still do a great deal with it by simply tapping a button on the remote. It may not be obvious, but this is a HUGE convenience.
Presentation Remote: BT Presentation Remote works with Keynote on Bluetooth enabled Mac computers. You can start the presentation with play button, and go to next and previous slides with forward and rewind buttons.
When I give a talk, I no longer give out handouts. I put my notes on a large screen (we had a few introduced in strategic location in the synagogue including our new worship space) and use Keynote. That means we save paper AND everyone’s attention is directed in the same place. The result is a far more interactive talk, and I like that. Until now, I used an iOS device as the source of the notes and a different one as the remote. It wasn’t ideal, and there would often be issues with one device or the other disconnecting. With this remote I simply need one iOS device, and I am good to go.
Bluetooth 3.0: BT Media Remote supports Bluetooth 3.0 HID, Class II profile. It is compatible with: iPhone, iPad & other OS compatible devices (iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, etc.)
6 Months Battery Life: BT Media Remote powers via two CR-2025 coin cell batteries and boasts up to 6 months battery life.
I wish this had BT 4.0 since it would take the 6 month battery life and increase it significantly. Unfortunately it doesn’t and… well it isn’t much of an issue. My guess is that the next version will go 4.0 compatible!
So in short, with this one simple accessory you get:
A remote control for iPhone, iPad and other Bluetooth devices
The ability to control playback of your music and video
The ability to take photos without leaving yourself out and eliminate any camera instability
The ability to activate Siri
A presenter for MAC PCs.
It all works well. And yes, as you can see in the pictures, there is a keyboard that become accessible when you slide down the lower half of the remote, but the button are so tiny that I have only used them in the pairing process. They really aren’t worth much of anything from a functional standpoint, but they aren’t in the way so it isn’t worth mentioning.
In all, the $40 remote is a great little device for anyone who is fully invested in iOS and wants the added convenience and flexibility it offers. The keyboard is a waste, and the lack of BT 4.0 is a bummer, but for $40 you get a rather useful accessory. I’m glad I bought one!
What I Like: Works well; Easy to use; Controls media, launches Siri, can take remote pictures; Let’s you use your iOS device as a media hub which is great thanks to AirPlay’s functionality
What Needs Improvement: Keyboard is too small to be useful; BT 3.0 not higher