The aptly named One For All lets you control four sources with a single remote and shut them all down with a single button
A familiar sight in most lounges is a coffee table wilting under the strain of seven different remote controls. But there are ways to give it a longer and healthier life – this universal remote, for example, can take the place of four existing zappers and, thanks to its energy saving AC adaptor, save you a small fortune in energy bills.
It offers another big advantage too. Over the last few years, kit like TVs, set top boxes and DVD players have lost their on/off switches to ‘standby’. This may help them get up and running a tiny bit faster, but also means they’re using electricity needlessly while in ‘sleep’ mode, which isn’t good news for the planet’s C02 levels, or your leccie bill. Hit the One For All’s green button, though, and all four components will plunge not into standby mode, but a deep energy-saving sleep.
The handset itself is a simple affair, with no fancy LCD screen and switching for just four components: DVD player, amplifier, TV and set top box. But that does make it relatively easy to use and light on batteries – just two AAAs in this case.
It’s an appealing design too, with 48 rubber buttons that are almost a flush fit and gently tapered body. The layout of the controls feels familiar, with numeric keys in a pad at the top and standard DVD player controls at the bottom, just like any other conventional design. The cursors are in the centre and in pride of place above that is the green button, which cuts the power to everything that’s plugged into the One For All wall plug.
As with all universal remotes, the amount of time and perspiration required to set it up depends on how common or exotic your kit is. Sometimes it’s as simple as typing in a manufacturer’s serial code using the numeric keypad. Other times it’s as painful and time consuming as pointing the two remotes at each other and ‘learning’ every single command individually.
For example, the One For All was quite happy to take charge of our Sony Bravia TV, and Denon DVD player, but needed some coaching to take the reigns of our BT Vision box and Denon receiver.
Command and conquer
A certain sense of power comes with having a single remote that can control everything in the room, especially when you program in a particularly complicated macro. This is when you program the remote to carry out a series of commands with the press of a single button, such as switching on the TV, tuning it to a specific channel and switching the amp audio on at the same time.
Occasionally you’ll need to go back to the original remotes for the more subtle operations like changing the settings on a BT V-box, but at least they can be consigned to a drawer – or that gap at the back of the sofa – until called for.
Plus, the energy saving button is a no-brainer As it's RF, you can control it through walls, ceilings and doors, and you can also buy extra nodes to control even more kit. Saving the world has never been so convenient.