Griffin Beacon review
Tablets and phones have great potential to be used as advanced remote control devices for your consumer electronics devices, but there’s one big problem. Most don’t ship with integrated infrared transmitters, limiting compatibility to Wi-Fi devices or PCs.
The Griffin Beacon is designed to surmount that problem. Powered by four AA batteries, it supplies the infrared facility, with the transmitters installed in a pebble-shaped housing on top of the device’s sculpted square base, with communication to mobile devices taken care of via Bluetooth.
Once paired, you download an app called Dijit (iOS and Android are both supported), and this takes care of remote control duties, offering more than 200,000 profiles for TVs, Blu-ray devices, set-top boxes and more. (As noted in the comments below, oddly there are actually two versions of the hardware available – one for iOS devices and one for Android. We’ve reviewed the Android version in this review.
Setup is remarkably simple: a wizard takes you through the process of selecting and configuring the app for your devices, devices can be organised by room, and special macro-like ‘tasks’ can be created – to switch on two devices at once, for instance.
As with any universal remote system, there are gaps in the device database. We found our obscure German Primare stereo amplifier and WD TV Live streaming device were missing. The system’s learning features, however, allow custom controls and devices to be created very easily indeed.
The same goes for customising the appearance of the various remote control layouts. You don’t have to stick with Dijit’s own idea of what the remote for your TV looks like, you can move buttons around, delete and add, and even change the type of control – D-pad, touchpad, buttons and dials are all among the available widgets – with the only restriction the amount of screen space you have available.
In short, it’s an excellent gizmo at a very reasonable price, and a godsend for anyone with a mountain of remote controls they want to do away with.
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