OneForAll Essence 4 £18

25th Mar 2011 | 10:30

OneForAll Essence 4

Pocket-friendly and suited to users with a modest amount of AV kit

TechRadar rating:

3 stars

Like:

Affordable; Solidly built; Easy to use 'SimpleSet' option

Dislike:

Four devices only; Clumsy training mode

The OneForAll Essence 4 is a respectable entry-level offering that's solidly built, and capable of controlling four separate devices for less than £20. Its standout feature is its 'SimpleSet' option.

Like most universal remotes, this one enables you to manually enter four-digit control codes for a range of well-known electronics manufacturers.

However, the device has also been pre-programmed with a 'SimpleSet' of codes for the top 10 manufacturers in various product categories – such as Samsung, Panasonic and Sony for TVs and Sky, Humax and Philips for set-top boxes.

Provided your TV and home cinema kit are all included on the 'SimpleSet' list, you can program the Essence 4 to control them by simply entering a single-digit number for each device.

I had no trouble using the SimpleSet feature to program the handset to work with a Samsung TV and a few other devices from similar well-known brands. However, it stumbled with my Freeview HD box from FetchTV.

Its 'search' mode did allow me to find a code that provided basic controls, but I still had to use its more laborious training mode to program in one or two key commands for features such as the electronic programme guide.

Basic instinct

The Essence 4 is a good, basic universal remote control for your television and one or two other devices.

However, more experienced users who like to mix and match AV equipment from a variety of different manufacturers should probably look elsewhere for something with more sophisticated features.

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