The home automation world has come to rely on mobile devices for monitoring, managing, and controlling electronic devices, but there are still valid reasons for using a trusty ’ol “clicker.” The tactile feel of the buttons, the ergonomic comfort and, recently, the sexiness of the styling, are bringing the handheld remote control full circle. A device that just a few years ago was considered old-fashioned and out of style is now back en vogue. Here are eight of some of our favorite, fashionable, highly functional remotes. They’re so brainy and beautiful you’ll definitely want one for the coffee table.
The Elan gHR200 is an intuitive remote that includes backlit hard buttons and a 2.4-inch touchscreen, making the operation of a home entertainment system a breeze. Weighing only 6.4 ounces, the artistically sculpted ergonomic design of the gHR200 feels at home in your hand with a meticulously balanced grip. Triggered by a built-in accelerometer, the remote activates instantly when you pick it up, meaning you’re never more than nanoseconds away from full control.
While effortlessly channel surfing with the gHR200, you can also check the status of your security system, lock and unlock doors, dim the lights, and adjust the thermostats. Additionally, its Lithium Polymer battery powers the remote for 10 hours with the display on and 14 days in standby mode. When charging is necessary, a stylish charging base keeps the gHR200 in a handy upright position, ready to grab and go at any time. $870 www.elanhomesystems.com
The TRC-820 is URC’s newest Total Control feature-packed handheld remote that provides instant monitoring, access, and full control of everything in the house.
Combining top-notch performance and competitive pricing, the TRC-820 is the culmination of URC’s 25 years as a leading manufacturer of handheld remote controls. The TRC-820 features a fresh ergonomic design and a brilliant, 2-inch color, high-resolution LCD screen for displaying custom buttons, icons, and functions—all of which are easily tailored by a home system integrator—to suit the needs of its users. The touchscreen can be used to launch commands to lights, motorized shades, thermostats, and more, while hard buttons handle common commands like channel up/down and volume up/down.
One of the coolest features included is access to real-time video from wireless cameras. You can see who’s at the door or what’s happening in and around the house right on the remote’s high-resolution screen. You can also use the remote to monitor the status of what music is playing, which lights are on in another part of the house, and more. When the remote is coupled with URC’s new MRX-8 Compact Controller, users can enjoy full home automation, unlimited mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, plus the featured-rich TRC-820—all for less than $1,000 (the TRC-820 purchased by itself is $399) www.universalremote.com
Crestron redefines handheld control with the TSR-302 remote, which combines an elegant, ergonomic design with intuitive navigation to elevate the comfort, convenience, and style of handheld control. The TSR-302 offers a refined look and feel with a silky matte finish, perfectly balanced weight, backlit buttons, and a 3-inch capacitive touchscreen. Extended Range RF technology drives this high-performance, ultra-fast, and responsive remote that is always available and never needs to connect to an often finicky Wi-Fi network to control lights, motorized shades, thermostats, TVs, music, electronic door locks, security systems, and more. A built-in microphone and speakers enable the remote to function as an intercom and enables users to issue voice commands, such as All Off to smart home devices. Thanks to Lithium Polymer battery technology and intelligent power management, you can get several days of typical use from the TSR-302 without charging. $1,300 www.crestron.com
T3x Wireless Control Interface
RTI’s sleek and elegant T3x remote control combines a vivid 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen and programmable hard buttons. The controller’s dual wireless RF platform provides installation flexibility, while support for Wi-Fi enables advanced capabilities such as viewing IP security cameras and wireless programming updates. For the ultimate user experience, the remote control also has a built-in camera and microphone, which means it can be used as an intercom. An accelerometer provides instant-on control, and a touchscreen with haptic feedback emits a subtle vibration when the touchscreen is pressed so that you know your command was issued. Contact a local dealer or distributor for pricing www.rticorp.com
Pro Control Pro24.z Two-Way Controller
Sporting a sleek, sophisticated design, the Pro24.z controller features a high-resolution 2.4-inch TFT LCD touchscreen display, programmable five-way joystick, and backlit hard buttons to enable intuitive operation even in a darkened room. When paired with Pro Control’s ProLink.z processor, the remote can launch macro commands, where one press of a button transmits several individual commands to a variety of smart home devices. Contact a local dealer or distributor for pricing www.procontrol.com
Just tell the Savant Remote what you want to watch and, presto, it appears on the TV screen. Maybe it’s the Food Network or The Walking Dead, or maybe you want to access content through Apple TV, dim the lights, or turn on some music. Whatever it is, you can speak your mind and the Savant remote will carry out the commands wirelessly via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to the appropriate smart devices. According to Savant, the remote can manage the operation of more than 380,000 entertainment devices, and can be programmed easily by homeowners via an app-guided set-up process. The remote is part of a complete entertainment package that also includes a Host, which enables the remote to operate devices other than A/V equipment, and a Blaster, which enables signals to travel through cabinet doors. $499 for complete package www.savant.com
Ray Enterprises Ray Super Remote
Dubbed the “touchscreen universal remote control for the Internet generation,” the Ray Super Remote combines the classic control features of a traditional remote control with the advanced content search and discovery experience of a touchscreen. It is designed to be compatible with all pay television services: the first being a partnership with Dish Network. Users will be able to use the remote to view and control the Dish Hopper DVR. From the 4.8-inch high-res touchscreen, users can search for content, view recommendations, and seen what’s trending. In addition to controlling the Dish Hopper, the remote employs Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, infrared, and ZigBee technology to connect to and control a variety of smart home devices. $199 www.ray.co
The SR260 System Remote expands on the simplicity found in the tremendously popular SR250 by refining the button layout for the most commonly used functions. Buttons are arranged in a circular pattern, which results in easier one-handed use without having to look at the remote itself. You can choose to have the buttons labeled in English or with icons—either way, the remote vibrates slightly when you press a button to indicate that your command was successfully transmitted. The SR260 sports a built-in screen that comes in handy for controlling devices other than A/V equipment. The on-screen List Navigator provides easy access to networked equipment, including lighting control and security systems, thermostats, garage door openers, and other devices. Signals are dispatched from the SR260 to smart devices via wireless ZigBee communications, which can travel through walls and other structures in a home. $200 www.control4.com EH