Putting it to the test.
Adding the BD remote to your PlayStation 3 involves a quick one-time registration procedure that pairs its unique ID with that particular console, and then allocates it to controller port number 7. No other configuration is necessary – it’s plug-and-play (with no plugs, of course).
As expected the BD remote works exceptionally well. Command response is particularly snappy, with the system supporting a high maximum button repeat rate. This differs from my experiences with the existing infrared solutions, which tend to have some amount of processing lag and usually require a short pause between each button push. Unlike the original game controller where only the [PS] button will turn on a powered down console, with the BD remote every button push will turn it on. This sounds convenient until you realize that could mean a lot of inadvertent activations of the system – and without an actual “power off” button on the remote one needs to use the PS3’s GUI to power it off, or to physically walk up to the console and hold the power button. Of note, all infrared PS3 remotes are unable to power on the console as the PS3 does not provide standby power to its USB ports when off.
The BD remote is a Class 2 Bluetooth device, which means it is officially rated for a 30 foot (10 meter) operational range. During testing the remote managed to work reliably at far greater distances, even through walls and floors, although as with any RF technology your local environment will end up dictating performance. Sony offers no official battery life rating, however over our extend analysis it would appear to be good for at least several months of moderate use. The same 3-level on-screen battery power level reading as used for the game controllers is also shown for the BD remote, so you’ll know when power is getting low.
Unfortunately, just as no universal remote control is able to replicate the BD remote, the BD remote is similarly unable to control any home theater equipment. It features no infrared capabilities and is thus unable to turn on your television or adjust the volume on your receiver. No matter what, this particular product will be a new permanent resident on your coffee table, something that goes against every “remote consolidation” fiber in my being. Conversely, I’d rather find a place for a new remote than live with the limited capabilities offered by the alternatives!
Needless to say it’s extremely convenient to be able to easily change audio tracks, directly enter chapter numbers, show time remaining, step through various slow motion speeds and so forth, all using real buttons with real labels, and without having to bring up and hunt down the command with that cumbersome “triangle” on-screen options menu. In fact, since I started using the BD remote I haven’t needed to once use that menu – and I don’t miss it!