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One For All Kameleon 8 Review

Highs

  • Motion activated; controls up to eight devices; innovative interface and look

Rating

Our Score 7.5
User Score 7

Lows

  • Poor battery life when using motion sensor; no USB interface; supports only simple macros
For someone just looking to simplify their television-watching experience, the Kameleon is the definitive choice.

The Kameleon remote control, made by One For All, is one of the best remote controls out there. This is a dynamic controller with a changing overlay that displays controls for whatever device you’re using. You can switch among eight devices and control them individually. The Kameleon should be considered by anyone with a lot of home theater or home audio equipment; it will give you a more enjoyable movie watching experience. Besides, you’ll almost never have to leave the couch again.

Features and Design

When inactive, the Kameleon remote sits on your table as a mysterious blue device. When you pick it up, it automatically turns on. Immediately, bright, crisp controls pop up and the selected device will be animated. You’re then free to use the remote. When you’re done, just place it on a flat surface, wait a second, and the remote turns off. This feature is not only great for party tricks, but helps conserve the 4 AAA batteries needed to power it.

How long do the AAA batteries last? It depends on how you use the Kameleon remote. The above-mentioned feature can be turned off so that the remote doesn’t turn on until pressed, or it can be on all the time. If you decide to use the motion-sensing feature, take care of the remote by putting it on a side table. Putting the remote on your sofa, where it will turn on every time you plop down to watch TV, is a bad idea. However, if you use this remote carefully, you’ll find yourself getting over a month of use from the batteries.

The buttons for the selected devices can be changed around to your liking. For instance, if you select the Cable Box option, the remote displays a setup very similar to that of the remote given to me by my cable company, Comcast. Comcast offers On-Demand programming that allows me to pause and rewind films and shows–and Kameleon knows this. By pressing a little button marked PVR VOD, a set of playback controls magically appears. There are even programmable macro buttons.

Kameleon also helps you use devices together. When watching a DVD, I use my home theater setup to get a great sound experience. However, sometimes the sound is too loud in certain parts and I’ll want to turn it down. I can use this one remote to pause the DVD, switch to my stereo receiver, and turn down the volume. Kameleon even lets you control surround sound with a unique button that lets you adjust each individual speaker. Very cool.

One drawback with the Kameleon, however, is the lack of an “Eject” button. Having to get up and manually eject CDs and DVDs can be a pain. However, since the Kameleon otherwise enables me to never have to get up, I view it only as a minor infraction. Perhaps this is Kameleon’s way of saying we should get outside for an hour and take a walk.

Setup and Use

The top of the remote features eight devices: Auxiliary, Cable Box, CD Player, Television, DVD Player, Stereo Receiver, VCR, and PVR. Just below is a huge Power button that does a great job of reminding you to turn off your devices.

No more worrying about the codes and troubles that usually come with universal remotes. Kameleon is smart. It comes with a booklet full of codes for all manufactures for all devices. You have an extremely good chance of the code working right out of the book. In my case, however, my cable box was a new type from Motorola. I used the Kameleon auto-search feature to keep trying codes; when it found one, I saved it. Since then, everything has worked without a hitch. The auto-search feature should rarely have to be used, but when you do need it, it’s great.

As for software-related options, the Kameleon has none. At times, having the ability to download codes via USB would be nice, but the Kameleon does just fine without it. Perhaps One For All in the future will make a Kameleon with this feature.

When you initially set up the remote, things can be a bit tricky. You’ll have to go through many button sequences to get to the setup menu; once you’ve reached it, the instructions occasionally are a bit vague regarding which step to perform and how to do it properly. Still, 15 minutes after opening the Kameleon, I was able to get it running with a few of my devices. Just make sure you read the instruction manual carefully so that you get it right the first time. Overall, though, the process is similar to other universal remotes, so if you’re used to this process, don’t fret.

Performance

As far as performance, you won’t have to worry. The Kameleon is a strong performer that sends out great IR signals to your devices. An animated icon at the top of the remote shows you when it’s sending out the signal, and it will flash if there is a problem.

Battery life, as I mentioned above, is good if you treat the remote well. Do not leave it on the floor, so that it turns on and off whenever you walk by. The price of batteries can add up, and since this remote is a keeper, consider investing in a rechargeable set of AAA batteries. You can usually pick up a set of four with a charger for less than $20.00. If you do plan to use the motion sensor expect to get about two weeks of battery life between charges – just a warning.

Conclusion

The Kameleon handily beats other universal remotes, whether it’s the $9.99 universal remote at your local K-Mart or something like your cable box’s remote. You’ll love its extra features. These little things make the Kameleon highly worthwhile. Even against other remotes like the Logitech Harmony Remotes, the Kameleon seems to be the better choice. Sure, it may not have the ability to download codes via USB, but being priced at $100 less will make the Kameleon consumers’ first choice. A wise choice.

For someone just looking to simplify their television-watching experience, the Kameleon is the definitive choice. A great price, customizable features, and good looks make it a buy you’ll never regret. Users will never have to go back to multiple remotes again. The motion-sensing feature is a huge turn-on for lots of users.

For those truly serious about their home theater there are more customizable remotes that you would probably want to use instead. These include: Logitech’s Harmony 880, Philip’s TSU3000, or Sony’s AV2500.

Pros:

  • Senses motion
  • Controls eight devices with one remote
  • Features a bright interface

Cons:

  • Does not include an Eject button
  • Entails an occasionally lengthy setup
  • Poor battery life when using the motion sensor
  • No software, USB interface for extensive macro-programming

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