No one likes a lost remote control, I certainly hate it when it’s really hot and I can’t find that pesky AC remote. Thankfully there are apps like Smart IR Remote which makes life easier. While these universal remote apps are not magic they certainly make magic happen. Once I lost my TV remote and there was a great match going on, I simply used a TV remote app for Android and switched the channel back. Theoretically I could have gotten up, walked like a thousand miles and change the channel like a primitive but thankfully Android was there to save the day once more.
Smart IR Remote is one of the best remote apps for Android; in fact it was the number one on our Universal remote apps list too. The way this app handles things is really impressive. I would go as far as to say that this is the best universal remote app you can find on the Google Play Store.
Note: The app was tested on a Samsung Galaxy Note III smartphone and a Samsung HD TV. The smartphone comes with a dedicated infra-red blaster which makes it easier to control almost every TV. I also tested the app on a Hitachi AC and even controlled my HP Laptop (it comes with an IR receiver). It works flawlessly with almost every device.
Our Rating: 4.9 out of 5 Stars
Google Play Rating: 4.6 out of 5 Stars
Right from the moment you start the app, you will know this is a premium one. The instructions and the execution, while a little bit complicated, are executed extremely well. Despite seeming like a pretty much locked down experience, the app is fully customizable. This amazing customization ability along with the very flexible widgets made me an instant fan of the app.
The only thing “bad” about the app is that there are a lot of options. I know for most of us this is a plus point but hand this app to a simple user and see them get confused. First off, the data mining features are displayed right when you first start the app. You can obviously opt out of any such program but this diminishes the value of the app in my opinion. The developer explains the reason in deep detail but still, I don’t want to convey my personal usage data anywhere, even if it will be used to improve the app. I guess it is nice of the developer to actually ask your permission about that.
The Bottom Line
If you have multiple devices at home that need a remote control for usage, get this amazing universal remote application as soon as you can. The app worked on any device I tested. It is suffice to say that I’m mighty impressed by the power and flexibility of this remote app for Android. If you have the cash, purchase this app and you will never regret this decision.
Starting the App – 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Getting the app from the Google Play Store is the standard affair. You just need to purchase the app and download it on your Android device. A point to be noted here is that the app appears as “Smart Remote” in the app drawer not Smart IR Remote. After the installation has been completed simply tap on the icon in the app drawer and you will be taken straight to this screen:
If you want you can send some usage data to the developers which will help them make the app better. If you are like me who never wants to send any kind of data to anyone, you can opt out of that offer too. Then there will be another information pop up asking about another type of data collection.
This is the only quirk I found while using the app, well other than some complicated options, that is. After you have chosen your decision, you can proceed to the app itself.
Selecting Your Device – 5 out of 5 Stars
This is where the Smart IR Remote really shines. The app clearly shows you a wide array of devices it can control. Simply select the device you want to make your slave and proceed onwards. For the sake of simplicity and ease, I selected a TV.
Now you will need to select the manufacturer of the device. Usually you know the name of the OEM (original electronic manufacture) but if you don’t, try to look at the device’s front and back.
Now the app will ask you for the model of your TV. Well I don’t know the model so what do I do? The app has an answer for that too. It nudged me towards using a generic Samsung Remote. Here is a screenshot of the process:
And to my wonder my TV worked with the remote I selected.
Interface and Design – 5 out of 5 Stars
Now that we are on the topic, I would like to say there are some elements of the design I didn’t really appreciate at first. The big directional buttons smack dab in the middle of the remote are 90 percent of the time useless for me.
Thankfully the app allows me to modify everything about any remote I want. Yes, this remote app for Android comes with a dedicated remote designer with deep customization abilities. Want to make the volume buttons huge? You can resize them. Want to place the power button on the bottom of the screen for easier access? Yep Smart IR Remote can do that too.
Widget Wonder – 5 out of 5 Stars
The stellar customization abilities which come with the app also extend towards the widget side. The widgets come is every size imaginable as you can see in the screen cap below. This is a great way to ensure your home screen looks exactly how you want it to be. I personally keep utility widgets hidden on secondary home screens while my main screen looks as pristine as possible.
After the size selection you can easily modify what you want the widgets to do. This is where they get a little complicated. You need to manually select a function for each button, it will take a while but once you are done, you will have a highly personalized remote control widget.
Permissions –4.5 out of 5 Stars
Smart IR Remote can access your accounts. This is the only concern we have about this otherwise amazing Android remote app. The way the developers ask you about data sharing and how they are straightforward in their approach instils a weird sense of trust in me. While I’m in no way going to share any data with them, it is always nice to be asked. If a developer is this honest, I highly doubt that they will misuse the trust we give them by paying for their app. Still anything is possible in this day and age.
Smart IR Remote is the best remote app available on the Play Store today. There are many good free apps which come close, like the one I reviewed a few days back called the Easy Universal TV Remote but Smart IR Remote is still the king. I personally love how much customization options are there to make any remote your own. Not every TV needs plethora of buttons to function properly and you can reflect that by moulding a minimalistic remote. This app requires a little time for adjustment but once you get the hang of it, there is no turning back. This is perhaps the best $7 I have spent in a long while.