Griffin’s Beacon is a
Bluetooth infrared transmitter that can make any phone or tablet using Android
2.3 operating system become universal remote controll via Dijit remote control
app. When you set up it, Diji sends remote control commands to Beacon, which
sends them via infrared to home entertainment kits such as TV, AV, receiver,
decoder box, or DVD player.
Beacon looks like a
small astray with a cobble stone above. The cobble stone is a button; to
connect to phone, press it until the light starts flashing, and then look for
Beacon from Bluetooth menu of Android device and combine with it.
After downloading Dijit
from Android Market, you need to program it to send the right signal to your AV
device via Beacon. When adding device, enter the brand name, and then the app
takes you to a wizard that tries to look for the right model.
We tested Beacon with
two TVs - Regza 46WL863B of Toshiba and KDL-46NX723 of Sony. With a Sony
Ericsson Xperia Arc S running Dijit, we succeeded in making Toshiba work at
basic level with supports to change channel and volume, turn on and turn off
TV, and mutilate sound. On Sony’s TV, we also had access to menu and were able
to change the input port. The app also let you determine an activity including
sending signal to more than one device at the same time. Certainly, you will
use it to turn on TV, Blu-ray player, and AV amplifier with a single press.
Unfortunately, we could
not make Onkyo TX-SR308 work, and this was where we started to be against the
biggest fault when combining Beacon and Dijit: we could not make it learn the
commands. When you first add a device to the app, it gives you many commands on
the screen of tablet or phone, and then you can add preset or custom buttons to
layout. For instant, we wanted to add a button to TV’s EPG. When you add the
button, point the device’s control at Beacon’s back, and press the button you
want it to learn. However, we could not make it work; the app refused to learn
what we were doing regardless of which remote function we wanted it to learn.
Besides Sony Ericsson
Xperia S, we also tested the learning function on Defy+ and Samsung Galaxy
Nexus, but we were still unlucky. This means while proving to be promising at
first, the products can only be used for basic functions. We prefer to use a
universal remote control such as Logitech’s Harmony; Harmony 600 costing £45 is
the cheapest model that can control many AV devices at the same time, and it is
a snip that worths buying.
Verdict. Beacon is an interesting product, but bad at