For many, all-in-one remote controls are an essential addition to a modern home cinema setup, effectively replacing what can soon become a veritable mess of magic sticks. OneForAll has been one of the most active contributors to this market and the Smart Control Motion represents the latest update to its range, building on an already extensive set of features with the addition of motion control.
Design and build
The device feels very solid in the hand, combining an attractive mix of gloss black plastic with a rubberised underbelly, and is finished with a chrome lining that adds a bit of finesse to what is an otherwise no-nonsense design. The button layout is very effective, with just about every function you could think of covered. Each rubberised key offers a reassuring tactile response and these are grouped into intuitive categories to make everything easy to find. Backlighting makes operation easy in dark environments and it can control up to six devices, labelled by default as “TV”, “Set Top Box”, “DVD”, “AMP”, “MP3” and “Audio”.
Setup and remote learning
Despite the inherent benefits on offer from all-in-ones, no manufacturer has truly found a way to take the hassle out of the setup process. OneForAll makes this as straightforward as possible though and users will want to run through a selection of setup attempts in the correct order, as the procedure is significantly easier if you benefit from supported devices. SimpleSet offers one-button setup for the most common makes in each device category, the supplied code book provides most of the rest and if your device isn’t detected it’s possible to email OneForAll to be sent a code if it exists in the remote’s database. Failing this, the “learning mode” is your last resort, which involves pointing the device at the original remote and teaching each key one by one. This is by far the most awkward of the setup routines, and after emailing OneForAll for a code for a specific set top box, only to find out it wasn’t included, we had to go through this procedure ourselves. Incidentally, OneForAll does supply a range of remotes under the X-sight branding that allow you to customise the included code set yourself via a computer. We tried this and it worked seamlessly – something those with older or more obscure equipment may want to consider.
Features and motion control
Once the remote is correctly configured you’ll find a range of useful features such as the ability to combine multiple devices onto a single remote layout using SmartControl, which saves you having to switch between active devices manually, while you can also create macros to execute a string of commands with a single button press. Volume control can be merged to a single key audio component (eg: surround sound system) for all other devices, and three SmartControl keys that can intuitively execute commands across all selected devices to, for example, switch on a TV, set top box and amplifier with a single press.
In terms of the headline motion controls, these are limited to a set number of movements. Flicking to the left or right can fast forward or rewind, flicking up or down will play or pause, a double tap with a finger on the side can mute and flipping the remote over can initiate a “power off” command to a series of devices, which we found particularly useful. After a little practice to get used to the speed and degree of movement required we found these worked quite well, but ended up with mixed feelings as to whether this genuinely enhances operation or is simply a bit of a gimmick. In addition, the chrome sides of the remote don’t offer a lot of grip, so we can see it flying out of the hand without due care.
- Solid design with responsive, well organised keys. Macro functionality is genuinely useful
- Motion controls may not appeal to everyone, and expect to spend a bit of time setting things up
Despite the fact that motion controls may not appeal to everyone, we were very impressed by the solid build, range of time-saving macros available and the effective layout and operation on offer from the SmartControl Motion. At £35 it’s well priced, and for those not willing to invest in a high-end device, this is an impressive mid-range solution.