Reviewed: August 19, 2004
Type: PC Remote Control
As modern video cards and PC’s are becoming more multimedia-focused, there are those (such as myself) who are using their PC’s to watch TV shows and DVD’s more than their actual TV’s. As such, the convenience of having a remote control for your PC becomes evident. Enter Streamzap’s PC Remote, which, as the name so cleverly implies, is a remote control for your PC.
Acting both as a standard remote and mouse, the PC Remote gives the user control over all functions provided by the PC. DVD control, MP3 playback, TV functionality (assuming your PC is correctly equipped) and all other multimedia features are now at your finger tips no matter where you may be in relation to the computer.
Installation - 9
Installing Streamzap’s PC Remote was a cinch. After installing the included software, I simply plugged in the IR receiver into a free USB port and was ready to go. The software itself was easily configured to start Window’s Media Player, Winamp and ATI’s DVD Player with the press of a button. The last “hotkey” buttons could be programmed to start pretty much anything on your PC but also come with presets for switching between windows and other conveniences.
Aesthetics - 7
There is very little say here, really. Both the controller and receiver are a near-matte black with sleek curves that are pleasant on the eye. The controller itself is largely indistinguishable from a standard TV/DVD remote. The IR receiver is small enough to go unnoticed once placed somewhere convenient. In short, they are attractive, unassuming and probably look exactly what you’d expect them to.
Durability - 8
Again, there is little to say here. Although I stopped short of smashing the remote against the desk, it happily endured the abuse I dished out and the IR receiver showed no signs of breaking after my not-so-intentional “step on it” test. Ultimately, the PC Remote appears to be a solid product.
Performance - 8
Thus far, I’ve really been impressed with the PC Remote. At first a was a bit concerned that I’d have little use for the device but after the first few times I switched songs being played in Windows Media Player my worries were cast aside. The reality of the matter is that Streamzap’s remote could easily become indispensable to multimedia enthusiasts.
The PC Remote most basic functions had me running MP3’s, slideshows and even switching my PC into sleep mode in no time. The remote includes all of the standard buttons you’d expect and need. Fast-forward, mute, next track, and so on are all present and worked flawlessly for me in the programs I tried. The PC Remote is all the more useful for those with TV-out capability since they can run standard PC functions with the remote from their TV set.
The PC remote will even double as a mouse. Using the standard navigation keys, one can manipulate the curser around the screen and open, close, and manipulate icons. Although it is only four-way control, it is still a welcome and highly useful addition.
My only major complaint is the the PC Remote still uses IR technology. In a world of wireless PC’s, IR is pretty much at the bottom of the food chain. Having to ensure a direct line of sight between myself and the IR receiver is a walk down nostalgia road I could have easily done without. Hopefully Streamzap will see fit to use more current technology such as Bluetooth in the later models.
Another niggling concern is that I was unable to set up short cuts using the hotkeys to open folders. It would have been a welcome convenience if I had been able to jump directly to my “My Music” folder with the press of a button.
Still, my overall experience with Streamzap’s PC Remote has been a very good one. I hadn’t expected it to be so useful but it has now almost become a required component of my PC.
Value - 8
For all that it provides, Streamzap’s PC Remote’s $40 price tag is quite wallet-friendly. In reality, it comes down to what you need for your PC but if a remote is one of those things, the PC Remote’s price is certainly welcoming.
Overall – 8.0
Again, if you need a remote for your PC, it is hard to go wrong with Streamzap’s PC Remote. Providing excellent functionality, ease of use and the convenience of being able to control MP3 playback from a distance, the PC Remote is a cost-friendly choice. The PC Remote is a solid product all around and comes highly recommended for anyone who uses their PCs for multimedia applications.