X10 iconRemote RF Universal Remote ReviewS

X10, whose website is the only place where animated gifs still remain king, just released a universal remote that can handle both X10's home appliance controls as well as all your A/V gear in your home theater.

The Price:

$100

The Verdict:

Actually a good deal.

X10 iconRemote RF Universal Remote ReviewS

There are two components of the remote that, depending on your habits, you may use more or less of. There's the "universal remote" part of the iconRemote RF, which acts similar to the Logitech Harmony remotes in that it controls all your electronics, but it doesn't have the fancy software programming suite to back it up. And there's the X10 part of the remote, which acts as a wireless control—via the included wireless receiver and appliance/lamp modules—to various appliances around your house.

The Remote:

The iconRemote RF is a so-so universal remote, and you program it like you do the old style ones you buy at Radio Shack; you point it at your TV and you stop cycling when the TV turns on. Repeat as many times as you have A/V equipment you want to control.

This method makes initial setup actually easier than the Logitech Harmony remotes, but limits you to how much fine-grained control you have. The remote may "know" how to turn on and off your receiver, but it doesn't understand how many HDMI inputs there are or how to switch between them. So it's a universal remote only for more simple systems with just a TV and maybe a DVD player.

X10 iconRemote RF Universal Remote ReviewS

One nice feature the iconRemote introduces is the semi-hard coded favorites, which has network logos on screen that you can click to jump to. And, as the name of the remote implies, it has an RF to IR blaster included, so you can eschew line-of-sight and put your equipment in a cabinet and still be able to change channels.

X10 iconRemote RF Universal Remote Review

Package includes an RF to IR blaster

X10 iconRemote RF Universal Remote Review

It's only a rudimentary universal remote

X10 iconRemote RF Universal Remote Review

Also, it's kind of gigantic

The X10 Wireless Control:

X10 has dialed down their popup ads in recent years, but their product is the same: home automation via light, appliance and electronics controls. The package includes one wireless transceiver, one lamp module and one appliance module. The transceiver takes the wireless signals and shoots them over your powerline, which them gets interpreted by your lamp or appliance module to turn on/off whatever's plugged in.

X10 iconRemote RF Universal Remote ReviewS

Its major flaw is the fact that the whole transceiver + module has to be on the same circuit. A transceiver upstairs wouldn't control a lamp downstairs, for example, because they weren't able to talk to each other over the electrical system. You'll have to go and buy more transceivers to control every room of your house this way.

X10 iconRemote RF Universal Remote ReviewS

But, once you do have everything set up, being able to dim lights, turn on and off appliances, and otherwise interact with other X10 home automation devices, is a pretty valuable thing to have in your universal remote.

X10 iconRemote RF Universal Remote Review

Controls X10's home automation modules

X10 iconRemote RF Universal Remote Review

Comes with one transceiver and two control modules

X10 iconRemote RF Universal Remote Review

You'll have to buy a lot more to control your entire house

At $100, the iconRemote RF is a pretty interesting package. It's not great enough of a remote to replace a Logitech Harmony for hardcore users, but it is decent enough to be a step up from those cheaper universal remotes you may have. Coupled with the fact that it's an X10 remote, it's a very handy thing to have at all times.

To get the package, add both the iconRemote RF and the Remote-Controlled Dimmable Theater Lighting to your cart before checkout. [X10]