Keep it simple, or splurge?
At this point, some readers might be thinking – “why should I spend the money on a Bluetooth converter when I could buy a USB one for a fraction of the cost?” For many shoppers, there may very well not be a compelling reason to spend anything extra – but here are three points to consider.
First, the ability to turn the PS3 on by remote. Some readers may reason that they’ll be walking up to the PS3 to put a disc in anyways, so they could just turn it on then. But is that really true? The PS3 is more than just a game console or a Blu-ray player; it’s also a music player, a video player, a photo viewer, a web browser – think of all the content stored on the hard disk. Even BD movies that you haven’t yet finished watching. Universal remotes should be able to offer convenience, and having to get up isn’t especially convenient!
Second, more functions. Yeah, you know you want more buttons! USB-based products operate about 14 functions on the PS3, since that’s all that Sony supports – essentially the same buttons as a wired game controller. On the other hand, these Bluetooth adapters offer the full range of 51 functions as Sony originally intended for Blu-ray control. It’s true that most of these dedicated functions can also be found buried in the on-screen “Options” menu, but isn’t it more intuitive to just hit the “Audio” button on the remote when you want to change audio tracks?
Third, performance. All of the PS3 IR-to-USB converters I’ve seen have a certain amount of lag to them, meaning that normally quick and snappy functions such as navigating the Cross Media Bar can feel slower and more lethargic. The Bluetooth versions as reviewed here perform identically to the original game controllers – that is to say, fast. When testing these adapters it was impossible to tell which one I was using by “feel” or performance alone – or even that I was using something other than the original Sony Bluetooth remote!
It really is fascinating how many different ways there are to accomplish a single goal. All of these adapters were created with the singular objective of making the PlayStation 3 easier to use in a home theater system by converting infrared to Bluetooth. And yet probably the biggest surprise here is that despite the obvious similarities, no two are clones of each other.
Where they begin to differentiate themselves from each other is in price point and other value-added capabilities, and because of this there’s bound to be one that’s perfect for your budget and your needs. Just decide on which features you absolutely must have, and how much you want to spend.
Whether it’s the cheapest solution, one with external infrared input, one with hardware power monitoring, one that’s PC programmable, one with custom macros, or one where multiple adapters can be run in a single system – it’s all here, and they all work!
- Daniel Tonks (Remote Central)