Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the most fun ever controlling my television with no remote, just by lifting my finger, and it’s all courtesy of the Singlecue.
Created by Eyesight, I originally saw the Singlecue while visiting various booths at CES 2016, but what struck my eye is the line of people all attempting to control a staged television with nothing but their finger. The gesture-based device is pretty simple, eliminating your need for added remotes, with the only expense being possibly a tired finger. When it arrived at my doorstep I couldn’t get it open any faster.
The Singlecue is like the Xbox Kinect for your entire television and the devices that you have plugged into it. It does need to be plugged into a wall since there’s no battery option and can be mounted to the top of your television or in front of it according to how you’d like it setup. Once you’ve found out your arrangement, you used Singlecue’s companion app to get yourself through the process of adding everything from your cable box, to your smart TV, Roku, and any other device you can think of. No really, this thing can control over 10,000 different devices, and to be honest, in partnership with the Amazon Echo this might be one of my favorite “adult gadgets” I have in my place. Think of it as Alexa without a voice. A remote with no buttons. A way to really impress your friends at a house party. It’s all of that.
On the Singlecue you get an LCD display which will read like your “main menu” of sorts when you’ve gone through the setup process and added all of your third-party accessories. To the right of that is the camera which will read your gestures and movements accordingly. At the rear of the Singlecue, you’ll get the speaker as well as the AC adapter port.
Inside of the box, you get the second generation Singlecue Gen2 Remote control, an AC adapter with an extension cord (if the adapter is too short for your taste), and an instruction manual in different languages.
The Singlecue doesn’t need any fancy hubs, or any additional junk to clutter up your home like most smart home products do these days which is welcomed with open arms by me.
Using only the Singlecue app I was able to set up everything from my AppleTV, Roku, Chromecast, as well as my Xbox One (yeah, I have a lot of thing I know). If you are an owner of Phillips Hue lights, you can even set those up if you choose to.
Once you’ve gotten through the process of setting up your various devices you come to the tutorial which is pretty simple, teaching you the basic commands such as finger placement for the Singlecue, how to navigate your main menu, and how to mute the device (and the companion accessories) when you need to. Lifting your index finger at a reasonable height will signal the Singlecue to start up. Raising your index finger above your mouth but right under your nose (mimicking “shh”) mutes your television (but you should be careful to distinguish the two, because I often found myself muting the television thinking I was just raiding my finger, but the Singlecue saw it as me attempting to silence the television.) Maneuvering around the Singlecue takes a motion of the finger left or right to get around on the menu, and once you’ve decided what you will pick just required a flick of your index in a downward motion to selection (similar to pressing on a physical remote).
Our friend Julie from The Gadgeteer also reviewed the Singlecue and posted a video displaying it live in action. Check it out:
Using the gestures wasn’t completely fluid out of the gate. As I stated above, it took a while getting used to not putting my finger in front of my face to make the commands. Setting your finger off to the side a bit takes some getting used to, and to be honest, holding your finger in the air to scroll through your Apple TV’s menu can actually make your arm (and finger) a bit tired with the circumstances. Singlecue advises a well illuminated room, and I agree with them. The Singlecue has worked for me with my living room lights off, but the issue is it recognized one of every three commands I made, and that could be due to only being able to see my finger when the television itself had a light background and could account for the lack of natural light (or an illuminated room).
Another hit or miss actually was actually unlocking the Singlecue on first boot up. Now I thought that I was the only one who had an issue with the Singlecue not unlocking on the first gesture but after reading on Twitter, it seems to be common thing that may just be users poorly placing our gestures, and I think that’s truly the case in this regard.
But the good outweighs the bad in terms of the Singlecue because not only does it work, it does so in amazing fashion. Way too many times have I searched for my FiOS remote, then my Apple TV remote soon after, only to realize I can actually just go ahead and do it all without it. These “duh” moments are few and far between because everyone’s initial reaction is to reach for a physical remote, but once you get into a pattern of misplacing your remote, using your finger pretty much becomes second nature. Singlecue knows that we lose remotes in between couch cushions, but somehow we are never without our phone, so they actually took an already awesome app and made it even better by integrating their “remote” feature which allows you to control your television directly from within the app if you dread using your finger. So essentially you are getting not just a gesture-based gadget, but a universal remote at the same time!
Overall, though, the Singlecue is one accessory that while most won’t use over time (just like the Xbox Kinect), it’s certainly a delight to have when you can’t find your remote or you want to show off to your friends, “Look at this coolness”. It’s already on my television now, so I won’t be removing it, and to be completely honest, it looks like it belongs.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review unit
What I Like: Awesome interface; the ability to gesture with one finger is nifty
What Needs Improvement: Unlocking Singlecue on the first boot up can be hit or miss; It took a while to get used to not putting my finger in front of my face to make the commands