Peripheral Review: Xbox One Media Remote

While gaming was my primary reason for purchasing the Xbox One, I had it in the back of my mind to eventually use it as my primary media center in order to reduce the number of devices hanging out in my living room. It took me a few months but I finally got rid of my blu ray player and my Chromecast which made everyone in my house happy – so much less switching between input sources on the TV. After a year, and about a billion AA batteries, I started looking into ways to reduce the number of batteries I was using. Though my research I came up with two options: Rechargable batteries or a media remote. I was torn. Then I remembered all of the questions (read: complaints) from my wife about using the Xbox One controller and the solution became obvious.

I ended up buying the Xbox One Media Remote on Amazon for $18.99 which seemed a little bit overpriced at the time, but you can’t put a price on your significant others happiness can you?  After spending sometime with it, here are my thoughts.

Look & Feel
The remote is nice and small but still big enough not to immediately get lost in the couch. It’s matte black with white backlit buttons that light up whenever the remote is moved. It has a smooth rubbery texture that almost feels soft in your hand. It has some weight to it and feels more solid than the remote to my TV (Samsung). Some of the buttons are raised which makes it easy to feel for them in the dark (even though they’re backlit). They have a good mechanical response when clicked, without feeling cheap or fragile.

Functionality
The remote has your standard remote buttons for playing various kinds of media, like play, pause, stop, etc. It also has the menu buttons from the Xbox One controller. This allows for convenient, intuitive use by both gamers and non-gamers alike. Navigating the Xbox One menus is fairly easy despite most of the buttons on the remote not matching up with those on the controller – there are no A/B/X/Y buttons on the remote. I have only had the remote for three months so I can’t comment on the battery life yet but the remote comes with 2 AAA batteries. Even if the battery life isn’t great, it is definitely more power-friendly than the Xbox One controllers.

Jake’s Take
I ended up liking the remote more than I thought I would. The look and feel are inline with high quality remotes, with the backlighting being an unexpected surprise. The functionality is very good for both gamers and non-gamers, even if it does take a little trial-and-error to get it right. Inititally I was a little hesitant to spend $20 on another remote but, after using it for a few months, the value is certainly fair. It’s saving me batteries and, as a little bonus, I don’t have to turn the controllers on and off to use my Xbox as a way to watch movies and such. I would definitely put this on my must-own peripheral for those who use the Xbox One as a media center in addition to a game console.

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