VooMote Zapper Universal Remote Appcessory: One Remote To Rule Them All! [Review]

VooMote Zapper Universal Remote Appcessory: One Remote To Rule Them All! [Review]

Oh, sure. The idea of being able to reach out from across the room and dramatically direct your mighty will to zap stuff on, off, up, down, or cause the very Air to shimmer with Play is intoxicating — that is, until those nine remotes you’ve been using to control all your magical devices become horribly unruly; perhaps they no longer bow to your commands, or maybe they’re off chasing hobbits under a couch somewhere. Whatever the reason, it’s time to harness the VooMote Zapper ($70), and make them all submit to your will!

(WARNING: Tossing the Zapper into a giant pit of lava under a mountain is not advised and will undoubtedly void the warranty, ‘mkay?)

The Good:

Plug the attractive, unassuming key into any iDevice, download the free VooMote Zapper app and that iDevice transforms into a universal remote. The key to this powerful little guy is in how flexible the software is — besides the standard complement of preloaded remotes, the Zapper can learn a remote’s commands simply by pointing the remote at the Voomote and moving through a few steps on the app — a process that worked, for the most part.

Still not happy with the way things are laid out? Customize to your heart’s content: add, delete and re-arrange buttons, make custom commands for those buttons and even change their colors. If you have the time to sit through the whole process, the editing functions are a powerful tool.

Swiping between remotes was easy. There’s even a really cool swipe-controlled screen that, as you’ve guessed, allows you to control functions like volume and channel simply by swiping. Bummer: It’s not customizable.

Range wasn’t bad — powerful enough to more or less reach across a medium-sized livingroom, and about the same strength as the Apple TV’s remote. But my Sharp flatscreen’s original remote bested it from the far corners of the room.

The Bad:

Really, VooMote? The number of models available for selection under the brand my TV belongs to (Sharp, not a small manufacturer) was exactly: one. Needless to say, it wasn’t my model. Luckily, as noted above, creating a remote from scratch is a straightforward, if laborious, process.

I was unable to get the Zapper to learn certain buttons, like the power and mute commands from a remote belonging to a set of Monster speakers.

One of the Zapper’s star features allow the user to control viewing from within a TV Guide-like app — but that app hasn’t arrived yet.

Surely the pool of starving English majors out there is large enough the German company behind the Zapper can hire one to edit the damn copy in the manual and app. It’s not quite the level of Japanese photocopier instructions from the ’70s, but it isn’t pretty, either.

Verdict:

Ambitious features in search of a badly needed software update; when that update comes, it should transform this gadget into the powerful ruler it wants to be.

Rating: ★★★½☆

VooMote Zapper Universal Remote Appcessory: One Remote To Rule Them All! [Review]                    VooMote Zapper Universal Remote Appcessory: One Remote To Rule Them All! [Review]

VooMote Zapper Universal Remote Appcessory: One Remote To Rule Them All! [Review]                    VooMote Zapper Universal Remote Appcessory: One Remote To Rule Them All! [Review]

VooMote Zapper Universal Remote Appcessory: One Remote To Rule Them All! [Review]

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  • AaronBushell

    Yes, because if I lost the $10 remotes, I surely won’t lose the $70 dongle that is no bigger than a quarter.

  • ZeeKazim

    logetich harmony universal remote – nuff said!

  • elimilchman

    Actually, you’d be surprised how much easier it is to keep track of one small thing over half a dozen somewhat larger (but still easily losable) things. Also, I tend to pick up remotes, use them, then put them down somewhere completely illogical and lose them. The iPhone, on the other hand, goes straight into my pocket, dongle attached.

  • Alfred Abraham

    Just to add to this review…. (caveat: I just picked it up today…. and these are comments following limited use) :

    Quick review :

    Pros: This is an extremely straightforward system., simple layout, responsive,

    Cons: No ipad-specific app, limited control, could easily add additional features to the app (see below)

    Design of Hardware:  The dongle is simple, does maintain a bit of a gap between the body and the dongle – I believe this is to accommodate those with a case on the backs of their phones / ipads..so i believe it is a “necessary” design implementation

    Function of Hardware: Transmits well from the side, from the front etc…. have difficulty finding blind spots – but I am using it in a relatively small living room.  However, very happy with the quick responses – something I was worried about using “wifi-based” solutions on the market.

    Software Layout: Extremely straightforward, intuitive and quick.  As far as the advanced features, I haven’t poured into them extensively (such as creating multiple automated device actions – called “OneView”)… but what I have seen, is that it isnt as straightforward and intuitive as it could be.  I have a philips prestigo remote for these automated kind of functions, while that takes a moderate amount of learning, it allows infinitely more control)….. so, I guess the biggest issue is lack of specific controls over the automated remote command funcitons (example: hitting a button to turn on TV, turn on blu-ray, set the volume, set the picture mode, then play the blu-ray player….. Philips has no problem with this)(side note: Philips doesn’t play really well with apple remote functions on an apple TV…other than that, it is pretty good at what it does)

    Features that are “Missing” or need to be addressed :
    1. Biggest complaint is that there is no separate iPad app version – this is a huge oversight.  If  you are like me, you would want to have more control or see more buttons (not just larger “mr. magoo size” buttons)…. in addition, of course there SHOULD be a landscape mode….. holding an ipad in portrait mode while controlling your devices just looks and feels silly.

    2. Second Feature request: ability to turn on a “haptic-like” vibration response when pressing the buttons… also should have an ability to emit “tones” when tapping a button – currently it only gives a visual response to “button” presses.

    3. Third Feature request: should be able to have a “night” or “dark room” mode… 

    4. There should be an easy way to “share” your settings and layout between one device in another.  For example, if I setup my phone, and also want to setup my iPad, or iPod Touch, I should not have to do the entire process over…. this makes no sense !

    These are just obvious requests…. and should all be implemented easily and rapidly.I gave it “4 stars” because it has a lot of potential, and the features I am mentioning could easily be implemented…..I would be surprised if the developers dont implement them…. so I plan on keeping this system… if I have additional comments. I will add them here

  • bethangeles1979

    check this out, if you really want to have an extra income!! just sit back and relax!! while watching video. Most people just can’t believe it. But this can make $337 in an HOUR, the http://kharl17.quickcomm.hop.c

About the author

Eli MilchmanWhen he was eight, Eli Milchman came home from frolicking in the Veld one day and was given an Atari 400. Since then, his fascination with technology has made him an intrepid early adopter of whatever charming new contraption crosses his path — which explains why he's Cult of Mac's test editor-at-large. He calls San Francisco home, where he works as a journalist and photographer. Eli has contributed to the pages of Wired.com and BIKE Magazine, among others. Hang with him on Twitter.

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