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Beacon universal remote control system for iOS review

Sections: iDevice Accessories, iDevice Apps, iPad, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Reviews

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Griffin BeaconProvides: Turns your iOS device into a universal remote control
Developer: Griffin
Minimum Requirements: Any iDevice (excluding 1st generation iPhone and iPod touch)
Price: $79.99
Availability: Now

I’ve never used a universal remote in my life before trying Griffin’s Beacon, so I really had no idea what to expect, how everything would work, or whether my TV would even be compatible. But I was pleasantly surprised by almost everything about it. Most of all, I was amazed at how fast and easy set-up was; I expected having to make configuration changes to my TV, among other things, that I discovered weren’t necessary. Set-up was as easy as pairing the Beacon with my iPad over Bluetooth, downloading and installing the free Dijit remote control app, then selecting my TV brand and which remote configuration I’d like to use within the app. The whole process took me well under five minutes to complete.

Griffin Beacon

Once you’re all set up, using the Beacon is as simple as reconnecting it to your iDevice (iPad in my case), launching the app, and selecting which device you’d like to control. If you need to add more devices in the Dijit app, a very helpful wizard guides you through the process by allowing you to select the brand of the device and what activities you wish to perform with it (watch TV, listen to music, etc.), and it then allows you to try a variety of remote control configurations until you come across one that works or is best suited for the particular device (sometimes, more than one remote configuration works for a device, as was the case with my TV). Aside from simple remote control functions, the Dijit app also contains other features such as a TV guide (including Netflix support!) and a few settings to mess around with. The app has also recently been updated with some new features such as check-ins (think Gowalla, but for TV), and support for YouTube (to find and watch videos related to TV content), Facebook and Twitter (to share such videos).

The only real drawbacks of Griffin’s Beacon are possible lack of support for TVs and other devices (although I thankfully did not experience this) and the lack of a universal binary for the Dijit app. Having to use the scaled-down iPhone app on my iPad isn’t generally the best experience, especially when the device it’s being used with boasts support for the iPad. Once Dijit Media decides to update their app and make it universal, or perhaps release a separate iPad version, I will be fully satisfied with both Griffin’s Beacon and its Dijit app.

If you’re in need of an affordable universal remote control and have yourself an iDevice, Griffin’s Beacon is where you should be looking to fulfill that need.

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Griffin Beacon review

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  • Jeremy Toeman

    Hi – I'm the Chief Product Officer for Dijit. Glad you liked the Beacon/Dijit experience so much! Our iPad Universal binary is in the works, should be available to the public sometime next month if all is on track. We're really excited about it, can't wait to show it off!