1. brucep523's Avatar
    I purchased the Samsung Galaxy Tab Plus specifically to be my universal remote control for my home entertainment system (to replace my Harmony remote). The goal is to have something simple enough that anyone can use it from my grandchildren to my wife (typically us guys can work remotes better for some reason so the real litmus test is to have the females in the family being able to easily use it – this is not intended to be a sexist remark).

    So when I brought it home and was able to program my TV, my receiver, my TIVO box, and DVD player in a matter of minutes I was initially extremely impressed. It is by far easier to set up than any Harmony or for that matter, than any other universal remote control ever! It was also easy to set-up to define "activities" like, e.g., “watch TV” which turns on everything needed including selecting all of the correct inputs! So this is where the challenges begin...

    Trying to hold the tablet to use as a remote was cumbersome without a good case (too slippery). After purchasing several cases, I finally found one that was the most usable - a case with a swivel mount making sure the IR port could effectively communicate and not too bulky and also allowing quick access as well as the ability to charge easily while in the case.

    Using the Peel software has been my next challenge. I know I have received a number of updates so I will have to verify that everything at the latest and greatest version. But assuming I do have the latest, I am only moderately impressed. The software spends way too much time trying to tell you what you might want to watch based on your interests and puts less emphasis on the mechanics of being a replacement and/or a universal remote. I find it often being confused on everything already being turned on (showing the activity as “Watching TV”. This could be because things were turned on with the Tab but turned off using the standard remotes so I need to further investigate this. I am able to easily figure out how to turn on the TV and receiver manually to start viewing even when I find it in this confused state but I am not sure that all my family members could or would want to bother. I find that I have to tap the on screen options at the top to get to the controls multiple times and then it brings up a universal remote interface that is similar to my TIVO. I find that it is responsive to the buttons I press on this interface but it isn't always intuitive enough for even me to figure out so I doubt my family would/will adopt it without improvements in the UI.

    Ideally I would like the software to display each of the various remotes for each of the devices with easy to read labels but unfortunately this option doesn't exist (I plan on writing the software developer). I believe the software has tremendous potential but right now it is too TV program centric and too lacking in the controls that I need to drop this in the lap of my family to use.

    So the reason I am writing all of this is to provide my own personal review of this device for its semi-intended (Plus) purpose with IR as a universal remote. It is a good solid tablet for its size. Very responsive. I would like to see it running ICS (I much prefer ICS over Honeycomb or Gingerbread - I have the Galaxy Nexus phone and I also have the Samsung 10" tablet).

    The other reason I wrote this was to ask if anyone else knew of other, better software to run on this device for the universal remote, and to get other folks opinions on the usability as a universal remote.

    Thanks for reading!

    Take care…
    Bruce P.
    02-28-2012 05:05 PM
  2. RhinoDoc's Avatar
    I already had a Xoom and loved it, but it was a little bulky for book reading, which was the primary activity I used it for. I was looking for something smaller, and when the 7 Plus came out I debated it, and the Peel remote was one of the things that really tipped me in favor of buying it. Peel is a huge disappointment. There are shows I KNOW are on, yet I can't find them in the program guide. I pick one I want to watch, and it defaults to the non-HD version of the channel. I want to watch a basketball game but have trouble finding the one I want. I turn everything off or on, and only 2 of the 3 devices changes. It is a pain to go back and do the third one without affecting everything else. I have pretty much forgotten about it. I have seen the updates being loaded but haven't gone back to try it since my initial disappointment.
    02-29-2012 03:20 PM
  3. pkcable's Avatar
    The peel software leaves MUCH to be desired. I agree with all of the above, PLUS I had a real hard time getting it programmed right. First few times I was able to get all the settings done, but then the channels would just not be correct. I had to reset and reconfigure about 5 times to get it right.

    It's a great concept though!
    03-09-2012 08:49 AM