What is it?
This is another one of those versatile products we absolutely love. It packs in a universal remote, a Bluetooth keyboard and a gaming headset.
Look and feel
The iPega looks like a thicker remote than most remotes. The remote looks fairly normal as far as remotes go, in fact it may look even simpler than they normally look. An LED on top lets you know when the remote is being used, and on the side you have buttons labelled L1, L2, R1 and R2, which are used in gaming.
Slide the universal remote open, and you feel exposed to a keyboard, a couple of gaming joysticks, a set of buttons, and a lot of functional keys. It also features function keys that will go with both Apple as well as Android products.
Generally, the buttons have bit of a rubbery feel, and the plastic is not the most premium. However, the main focus of this product is functionality over looks, and it kind of shows. You do get all of this at a fairly good price, a lot cheaper than any 1 of these products, let alone all three of these.
Lets begin with the remote. The remote is compatible with most leading brands of TV, but it only works with televisions, and not media players such as DVD Players etc.
The instructions are not the best written ones, so it takes a little while to set it to your television. However, once set, you are pretty much good to go. There are other instructions that don’t make much sense, but hopefully you won’t need them, because I didn’t.
Once set, you have the usual CH+, CH-, Volume, Menu, Sleep, etc buttons, but of course not all buttons will be applicable to every television.
Slide the remote control open, and you will notice a Bluetooth Keyboard. The pairing is a bit complex. You have to hold either of the GamePad/iCade/Mouse buttons together with the Home button, and then the Keyboard/gaming joystick enters pairing mode.
While the keyboard works as well as you’d expect it to, it did take me some time to find the Shift key. Till I found the CAPS key, and realized you have to access the Shift key by using the Caps key as an alternative way to enter capital letters. While using it as a Keyboard, you can use all the functional keys as per your device’s settings and OS. You can also use arrow keys.
The one thing I have noticed is because you have the gaming controls on the extreme left and right edges, you have to reach out with your thumbs when you type. As mentioned above, the buttons are a bit rubbery, and need to be pressed properly, so this isn’t a device that you will use for touch typing, but once you get used to it, it could be fairly useful.
On the gaming front, the pairing is the same as that of the Keyboard. In fact, if it is already paired, you don’t need to pair it again.
The gaming control offers the following features:
Gamepad Mode – It works with most Android game simulators.
iCade Mode – The iCade is designed for iOS games, such as Temple Run, Helium Boy, etc.
Mouse Mode – This is designed for only Android games, such as Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, etc.
The gaming probably provides a better experience than the Keyboard, because it is more comfortable to control. It is definitely quite interesting to play something like Angry Birds with a mouse, even though that feature is available in browsers such as Chrome.
It really comes in on its own once you start playing more intensive games, and that is where this device really pays off.
It may seem like a Jack of all Trades, Master of none, but to package all that into such a cost effective device takes some doing. There may have been some corner cutting in the look and feel, but if pure functionality is what you’re going for, this is the device to go for.