The Xbox One Media Remote arrived today, and after just a couple of hours with it, I have to say I like it quite a bit.
For starters, the packaging: Like all the packaging for the Xbox One and it's official accessories, Microsoft is really doing things right. No plastic clamshell cases that require scissors, a crowbar, and a blowtorch to open. Just an elegant, simple box that opens with the lift of a lid, and the contents firmly ensconsed within, sitting in a molded cardboard cradle. Lift the cardboard tray, and the two included AAA batteries are attached on the underside. Beneath the tray you will find the warranty info, manual, and quickstart guide.
The first thing I noticed when holding the remote for the first time was the solidness of it. It feels very well crafted, with a nice weight to it that I wasn't expecting for such a small device. It's not heavy by any means, but it's perfectly weighted (even moreso with the batteries inserted) and doesn't feel like it will fly out of your hand while using it.
Immediately after noting the weight and construction quality, I was struck by the general feel of the materials. The entire remote has a soft rubbery feel to it, adding to the overall feel that this device isn't going anywhere once you've got it in your hand. This coating does have a tendancy to attract dust, mostly on the underside of the device.
Installing the batteries requires you to slide the entire back panel of the device down. There is no door, or clip to be seen, which is nice because it does not interfere with the design aesthetic.
The design is simple and elegant (there are those words again), with a nice curved back that feels very comfortable in the hand, and the button placement is well thought out. The smaller size of the remote ensures that one handed operation is easy, with no stretching of the fingers or thumb to hit buttons at the extreme top or bottom of the device.
The buttons themselves are very responsive, and have a nice solid feel, giving a good click/thunk when you press them. The addition of a dedicated OneGuide button is most welcome, as is the back button.
The remote has a gyroscopic sensor in it that responds when you pick it up, causing the buttons to light up for a few short seconds. A very useful feature if you are watching TV in a darkened home theater, or just surfing the couch after hours with the lights out.
If you have your cable box passing through your Xbox One, and have set your TV up in your settings, then the remote controls your volume and channels, mute function, and the play/pause/rewind/fast forward functions for your cable box, and the Xbox One's Blu-ray player.
There's not too much more to be said. This is a simple, basic remote. There are no bells and whistles to speak of. This is not a universal remote, so if you are looking for something to control all the components in your home theater, this isn't the remote for you. If your needs are simple, though, and like me, you hate using your Xbox controller for your TV or Blu-ray viewing, than this is the way to go.
This is a well made, super functional accessory that focuses on ease of use, build quality, and clean design.