One For All Kameleon 6-in-1 £95
1st Mar 2005 | 00:00
Have One For All's cosmetic efforts been worth it?
The Kameleon 6-in-1 is the latest remote from stalwart One For All. The company has made a real effort to improve the aesthetics of its products over the last two generations, with this one featuring an enormous touchscreen and aluminium-like (but plastic) casing.
Despite looking Star Trek-esque, the plastic and screen discolours from fingerprints very quickly, and the backlight is sometimes difficult to see in normal lighting conditions, even though you can adjust it. The touchscreen also requires some forceful balletic thumb movement to operate, and the lack of definition between buttons means you can't learn the layout as easily as most remotes.
So how does it work in practice? The interface is mostly icon-based, making it simple to switch between devices. Once you've chosen what you want to control, the rest of the GUI changes accordingly - 'Eject' and 'Subtitles' buttons alter to 'Info' and 'Guide' when changing from DVD to satellite box. It's a simple approach which would be even better if the buttons weren't so tightly packed together. Despite it being clear when the remote is sending a signal to the device, bigger thumbs will often accidentally press two buttons at the same time.
At least setup is simple with plenty of options. Firstly, you can simply look up the manufacturers of your devices at the back of the manual and key in the code - there are a number of codes for the big manufacturers but it's no more than a 10 minute job. If you get really stuck, the remote can also learn a few codes from each device by receiving the IR signal from the old remote, but as this takes up a lot of memory, it's not recommended.
The functions available on the One For All Kameleon 6-in-1 are more comprehensive than on the Logitech Harmony 655. For example, the main button in the centre of the remote can change the output level of your rear and centre speakers. Thanks to the dynamic fascia for each device, there aren't many commands that are not easily accessible by default on the Kameleon. While mega amps with thousands of DSP modes might be an exception to this, you can still use the 'Learning mode' to add commands to the already impressive roster.
The Kameleon might feel like a more dated approach to multicomponent control, but it's more immediate for those with a basic idea of how their home cinema setup works. If you want to program a macro so that DVD viewing is only a button press away, then it's also possible, albeit without the 'intelligence' of the Harmony 655, which remembers what devices are activated. Basically, if you're looking to amalgamate six controllers into one and don't require too much hand-holding, then the Kameleon 6-in-1 is the ideal budget device.