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Review: Pronto and Peel

712GcTmIi3L._SL1500_With all the devices we have for our televisions, we become inundated with remotes. Our televisions, blu-ray/dvd players, cable boxes, AppleTVs, Rokus, etc. all come with remote controls to interface with each device. The solution is get the One Ring of remotes – one to rule them all. The Pronto and Peel app allows your smartphone to become that universal remote to control those devices.

The Pronto is a small obelisk that sits in front of the home entertainment center (in my case, I placed it on my coffee table) and can send IR signals to the different devices. The smartphone connects to the Pronto via bluetooth and is controlled by the Peel app on the phone. The signals are then sent from the phone to the different devices via the device, and it works well. There was never much lag or false signals sent when I hit buttons on the remote.

The app takes a little getting used to, but becomes easy once the user gets used to the layout. When the app is opened, it shows recommended programming that is on television now with an image of the show, as well as showing a little green bar at the bottom of each show and movie to let the user know how far along the program currently is. Tapping the image gives the option of changing channel to watch or get more info in the app. An icon in the upper right brings the user to a representation of the remote, so the app can be used more like a traditional television remote. The layout for the remote is fairly traditional, but obviously lacks the tactile feel that a physical remote imparts, so looking down at the remote to change channel or volume is required rather than being able to find the buttons by feel.

The Pronto Peel is a fantastic universal remote for people who would rather pair down their remote controls and replace it with a single device (in this case their phone), but to me it is missing a feature. As someone who has turned his home into a “smart home,” I would love to see it be able to be programmable or interact with my existing smart networks. As an example, I try to connect as many devices as I can to my Amazon Echo to voice control them. I would like to be able to just tell Alexa to turn off my tv at night, but there is no interactivity between the Pronto and the Echo, nor is there a way to utilize something like IFTTT to create recipes to programmatically control the Pronto.

I really liked the Pronto with the Peel app, and it worked well across my different devices. I just would like to see it be able to work with my other devices so that I could control it with the rest of my smart devices, from being able to lower the lights and start a movie with a single command to having my television turn off with everything else when I tell the Amazon Echo to turn everything off for the night.

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