Griffin Beacon Universal Remote: Hey This iPhone Universal Remote Doesn't Suck

Remotes are stupid. Stupid stupid and/or stupid expensive. So why bother dealing with stupidity when you already have the perfect device to control your system: an iPhone. See, smartphones are not stupid. With the Griffin Beacon, you can control everything with your phone.

Like the Peel before it, the Griffin Beacon is an IR blaster that converts actions from your iPhone into signals all media boxes can understand. But unlike the Peel, the Beacon does what it promises to do and then gets the hell out of your way so you can focus on what you want to do: burn time and watch the boob tube.

Like

The Beacon actually looks like it belongs on your coffee table. Sleek. Inoffensively decorative. Imagine a polished stone sitting on top of an Apple TV—that's pretty much what the Beacon is. Inside that 'polished stone' (which is actually slightly translucent) is the IR blaster which has a 180 degree shooting angle. The Beacon connects with the iPhone over Bluetooth, but needs the free third-party Dijit remote app to control everything. Which sounds sketch, but it's not because Dijit is fantastic: dead easy to setup, completely user customizable and it includes a solid TV guide and excellent Netflix management within the app. There's also an 'Activities' options which is a single button for customized series of actions, like pressing your Xbox button will turn on your TV, switch the input and then turn on your Xbox, etc. (a lot like how Harmony Remotes handle 'em).

I've tossed my old remote behind me. I don't need that sucker, using the iPhone and Beacon is just as fast.

No Like

It's fingerprint friendly. And though you'll never move it around, people who come over will inevitably pick up the Beacon and ask what it is, leaving their grubby prints all over it. Setting up a custom remote (one that's not in their 200,000 supported devices) takes thousands of years. I wish it was rechargeable instead of battery powered and that the icons in Dijit were a little bigger. Biggest gripe: not having an iPad-optimized app.


Griffin Beacon Universal Remote Control System
Price: $80
Requires: Dijit App, 4 AA Batteries (lasts 2 months)
For: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (not optimized)
Griffin Technology

View gallery »


You can keep up with Casey Chan, the author of this post, on Twitter or Facebook.