Review: Griffin Beacon – Is This Worth Turning Your Android Phone into a Universal Remote?

Griffin Beacon is a receiver for your Android phone, turning it into a universal remote for home theater appliances. The receiver converts your phone’s Bluetooth signal to Infrared signal by turning it into a remote. But is it worth replacing the one you currently own? To tell you the truth, my answer is no. At least, at its current version of its application. The idea of using your phone as a remote control is a great idea, but to actually put it into use is another. This is where this device fails, in its implementation.

Design:

The beacon looks like a black polished pebble on top of a small table. Its design is magnificent and brilliant. The top (pebble) is where the receiver part of the beacon is. When pushed down for a prolonged time, the top will enable the pairing feature to the Bluetooth. The device is small enough for it to be hidden in plain sight and no one would be the wiser.

Usage:

As I said in the beginning, everything up to the implementation of this idea is great. Now this is not my first time having a universal remote. I currently own and love my Logitech Harmony One. That is a beast of a universal remote. Anyway, back to the Beacon, after pairing the device with your android phone you will need to download the app (Dijit) and install it. You must do it in this order or the app will not recognize the connection and you will need to reconnect it again. Again, this is where it fails. It goes back to the implementation of the idea.

After it is connected to the Dijit app, it is pretty much easy to set up. Choose the type of TV set, cable box/receiver unit, and your zip code for the local listings. It pretty much gets worse after this. The app has some of the weirdest bugs I’ve seen. The app would just randomly drop its connection and then you are forced to reconnect it. That was very annoying when you are watching and trying to control the TV and to find out that your remote is not working. Also, every time that happened my original TV remote would lose its function until I manually turn off my TV and have to turn it on by my original TV remote. It seems to lose its connection when you turn off your screen.

Keep in mind that this uses four AA batteries, so you will need to keep some in hand. So far it has not died yet. But since it runs on batteries, you will want to have some on reserve.

Final Reaction:

This would have been a great app and tool for Android users. But unfortunately the utilization of the application to the device was not done well. Hopefully there will be updates in the near future to fix some of these issues. But for now this is not the one to get at its current version.

Grade: D

And don’t forget to check out our Griffin Beacon review for Apple phones, which got an A.

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