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Samsung’s Eco Remote is cool, but that’s it

When it comes to electronics — anything with a battery, really — there is but a single thing we need to remember. The less you have to worry about charging it, the better off everyone is going to be. You’re going to be happier with the experience. The device in question is going to work better and longer. (Batteries, after all, are organic devices and will, eventually, die.) And that means the company that produces the product can do so at a slightly lower cost.

Samsung Eco Remote 2022.

Enter Samsung’s new Eco Remote, announced this week at CES. Samsung bills the Eco Remote as a way for customers to “take a literal hands-on approach to reducing their eco footprint.” That’s due in part to it using recycled materials, but also because it uses solar power and what’s known as “RF Harvesting” to give what it calls “a battery-free experience.”

Never mind the fact that there certainly is some sort of energy storage device inside — Samsung says as much. What Samsung really means is that this isn’t a remote you’ll have to worry about charging. Which … is fine?

I’ve spent more than my fair share of time poring over remote controls, particularly so many for so long that have been pretty awful. Even the most prevalent of the bunch don’t do a whole lot to inspire. Roku’s remotes work fine. Once a year or so I might have to swap out the batteries. No big deal. Apple TV finally has a remote control that doesn’t make me want to use something (anything!) else, and every now and then it tells me to plug it in to charge, which is simple enough to do. My favorite remote, which is end-of-life at this point, is years old but only on its second battery.

In other words, have we devolved so much as a society that we cannot handle charging a remote control for a half-hour a couple times a year? Or swapping out a couple batteries? It’s just not that hard to do.

We’ll have to wait until we’ve got Samsung’s new Eco Remote on hand for some long-term testing before we know whether this solar power/RF Harvesting thing is worth its weight in press releases and blogger headlines. It might well be. If you never have to worry about charging the remote, that’s certainly a good thing. On the other hand, if you’re constantly worried about whether you’re going to have to charge the remote because it’s using this newfangled technology from the sun combined with the same thing that powers those potentially problematic 5G networks and whether your copper 5G chest protector might get in the way — well, we can’t help you there.

Oh, and it does come in white. So there’s that.

Samsung may well have just made life a tiny bit easier with the new Eco Remote. But it’s just that — a tiny bit easier. We’ll take what we can get, but we’ll try to keep it in context. Even during CES week. Now, Samsung’s upcoming QD-OLED TVs? That’s worth crowing about.

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Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
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