The living room can be a busy place for the modern gadget lover – and with the TV, cable box, stereo and pretty much everything else demanding a remote control, that’s a lot of clutter. Which is perhaps why One For All have come up with an intriguing device that promises to do away with anything as archaic as “buttons”, and will enable you to control all of your infrared needs with an app.
The Nevo Wifi Bridge is a little black box that connects to your home wifi network and, as the name suggests, acts as a bridge between the wireless signals emanating from your tablet and the infrared signals needed by your TV. Size-wise, it’s about equivalent in size to an Apple TV if it were on vertical instead of flat. Helpfully too, the IR signals emanate from two places: the front of the box, but you can also plug-in an (included) IR transmitter on an extension lead, which is great if you where you position the box won’t have direct line of sight to all of your IR devices.
Getting setup is relatively straightforward. Plug the bridge into the mains, and then there’s two different methods for getting it connected to the wifi. The easiest way is by WPS – the little used method by which you hit a button on top of your router and on the device at the same time and it’ll pair them up. If you don’t have a router that supports WPS, then you can setup using an ethernet connection.
Once you’re setup on the network, it is simply a case of download of downloading the Nevo app to your tablet.
In the Nevo app, once it has found the bridge on your network, you have to go through and train it to talk to all of your devices. This should be pretty straightforward – the app has built in support for hundreds, if not thousands of devices from pretty much every brand under the sun. Setting up my Samsung TV and Bush satellite box was a piece of cake.
The only thing it struggled with – and I’m going to blame myself for this rather than One For All – is an obscure HDMI switcher that I picked up from a Chinese retailer on Amazon, so I can switch the pictures on to one of two screens at will. Even with this, after emailing the company I was told that they’re planning to support it shortly – so it is good to know that the company appear to be keeping their database of IR codes up to date too, which is good news for future-proofing.
Anyway – setting up devices on the app is a case of locating your TV (or whatever) in a list, and then going through a short test to ensure the TV reacts when on-screen buttons are pressed.
Once this is all done, you’re good to go. Using the app is simply a case of selecting the thing you want to control, and using the on-screen remote to control it. Great.
So it certainly works okay – but there are a few things that could use improvement.
Perhaps most inconsequentially, the hardware feels a little cheap. I can’t work out if this is because it is of low quality or just because the One For All brand is more commonly seen on el-cheapo universal remote controls that Argos used to sell. To be fair – it works, it hasn’t broken, and once setup it is going to sit tucked under your TV.
The bigger issue is probably the Nevo App. Frankly… it’s just ugly. Whereas Apple and other developers can produce beauty, here there’s bevels, gradients and text that doesn’t even fit on the buttons. The list for scrolling through devices is sluggish and the text doesn’t fit on it gracefully – it simply doesn’t look modern, and instead reinforces my preconceptions about the One For All brand.
More frustrating is that – inexplicably – the app is only available for tablets. Though on iOS and Android, if you’ve got a phone you’d like to use as a remote control, then you’re out of luck. The fact that they haven’t made the apps compatible with smaller screened siblings is frankly bewildering, given that many more people have phones, and development would be nearly identical. Desktop apps, for Mac & PC would be nice too – but let’s not be picky until they’ve got an app that’ll work on an iPhone.
So in conclusion, the One For All tablet remote is a one of a kind product – to my knowledge no one has produced anything similar. The execution is not quite there yet – but it could be easily improved. The important thing is that they’ve established the hardware for interacting with infrared controlled devices – so really we’re only a software update away from having something great. So I dare say it might be worth waiting until that software update.