Control home entertainment gadgets – including Sony’s PS3 console
The One For All Smartcontrol PS3 (model URC-7960) is designed to replace the various remote controls for up to six devices such as television sets, digital receivers, DVD players and hi-fis.
It's an extended version of the Smartcontrol model we looked at recently. As well as the remote this one comes with an adapter that links it to Sony's Playstation 3 games console.
It's not for playing games but can be used to control the PS3's Blu-ray drive for watching high-definition films – something the standard PS3 wireless gaming controller does badly because knowing which button to press is largely a matter of guesswork.
Like all ‘universal' remote controls, this one needs to be programmed to transmit commands to your devices. A list of brands and codes for a wide range of devices is provided in the printed manual: tap the short number into the control's keypad and it automatically sets up basic functions such as play, pause and volume.
If your TV or set-top-box isn't listed, the Smartcontrol can be taught specific functions manually: tap a ‘learn' code in, aim the two controls at each other and press the key you want to assign along with the key on the other control.
The instruction manual provides illustrations to guide users through the process, although we felt some captions would have helped. Initially we found it confusing but after a few tries we got the hang of it.
Connecting the Playstation 3 adapter was simple. The supplied Bluetooth wireless adapter connects to the console and the instructions for changing settings required to link the console to the adapter were crystal clear – it worked for us on the first attempt.
From there we could switch the console on and off, navigate its menu and play Blu-ray discs.
Should Sony change any video functions of the console, there is a dedicated website from which an update for the remote control can be obtained.
You can tell the controller which device to command by tapping keys to scroll through devices you have set up, with the name of each, such as TV, Game and Amp, lit up in blue to indicate which is currently selected. We thought this was a bit awkward and would have preferred a dedicated key for each.
To get the full benefit of the Smartcontrol PS3 it's necessary to put some time into setting it up, but Playstation 3 owners who are frustrated by using the console's controller to play, pause and skip scenes in Blu-ray discs will find this product very useful.
However, the £50 price is high given that the original Smartcontrol without the console adapter costs as little as £15 online.
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