Elago R4 Retro review: Silicone case 'fixes' Apple TV's Siri Remote

This silicone case ‘fixes’ Apple TV’s accursed Siri Remote [Review]


With the Elago R4 Retro silicone case, you can say goodbye to losing your Apple TV Siri Remote.
Say goodbye to losing your Apple TV Siri Remote.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

In pictures, the Apple TV’s sleek Siri Remote looks like a total winner. In practice, it’s a bit of a disaster. Luckily, the fix is in: Elago’s inexpensive R4 Retro case makes the Siri Remote easier to use and harder to lose.

Plus, the silicone sleeve looks sporty and provides some protection to the surprisingly fragile Apple TV remote.

Elago R4 Retro review

Like many of Elago’s products, the R4 Retro evokes a vintage vibe. The company makes AirPods cases that look like classic Macs and silicone skins that make your Apple TV look like a Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

The R4 Retro pairs particularly well with the latter, because it’s inspired by an SNES controller. Just sliding the silicone sleeve onto your Siri Remote should conjure some old-school gaming fantasies.

Why put a cover on your Apple TV remote?

Elago R4 Retro review: That ghostly Apple logo is one of the only disappointments.
That ghostly Apple logo is one of the only disappointments.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

OK, enough with the vintage gaming nostalgia. Your thoroughly modern Apple TV remote needs a silicone sleeve like this for two big reasons:

  1. It’s so slim and slippery that it slides between couch cushions like an eel.
  2. Its design is so perfectly minimalist that it can be difficult to tell which end is up.

Prior to wrapping my remote in an R4 Retro, I found myself fishing for the stupid Siri Remote all the time. Even worse, I perpetually pressed the wrong end of the remote, confusing the slightly clickable top with the totally unresponsive bottom.

Upon adding an R4 Retro, both of these problems mercifully disappeared. The thin silicone skin adds just enough grippiness to keep the Siri Remote from disappearing into the crummy bowels of my couch.

Even better, that firm-fitting silicone sheath conveniently covers the bottom half of the Siri Remote. There’s never any chance of trying to control the TV by sliding your finger futilely over that stubbornly dispassionate portion of the remote.

Streaming endless hours of TV during COVID-19 lockdown already made me feel stupid. I don’t need a confounding remote control to compound the problem.

(Admittedly, the second-gen Siri Remote’s slightly tweaked design — love that little white circle! — made things a bit less problematic than with the original. But with the R4 Retro, this is not even close to confusing. And the silicone cover’s removable wrist strap makes a mixup even less conceivable.)

Elago R4 Retro comes in multiple colors

Elago’s silicone Apple TV remote case comes in several colors, including black, blue, red, light gray and something called “Nightglow Blue.” That last one looks whitish and slightly opaque, and is supposed to glow in the dark.

I figured that glow would give me an extra advantage in my frequent searches for my lost Apple TV remote. However, the cover never emitted that strong of a glow. Luckily, I didn’t really need it to glow in the dark because my Siri Remote stopped disappearing into my couch.

Also, you can see the faint outline of the Siri Remote’s Apple logo through the Nightglow Blue case, which isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing thing ever. If I had to do it again, I’d go with the hot red color option.

All in all, the subdued glow was the only disappointing aspect of the R4 Retro. The case maintained its snug fit after months of lockdown streaming binges. It in no way adversely affects the operation of the Siri Remote. And you don’t even need to remove it to charge the remote, because the case’s perfectly aligned cutout allows easy access to the Lightning port.

At $15, the Elago R4 Retro might not seem like a total bargain. You likely can find a cheaper, flimsier option without the vintage gaming vibe. But keep in mind that if you drop your Siri Remote and crack that accursed glass trackpad, Apple will charge you $59 for a replacement. And frankly, I’d pay 15 bucks never to find myself fruitlessly fingering the wrong end of my Apple TV remote again.

Price: $14.99

Buy from: Cult of Mac Store

Elago provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out other in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.