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PN Tech Blog - November 11 - Can the FLPR dongle for Iphone/Ipod replace your remotes?

Being sold at Bestbuy.ca for $59
Bumped: Nov 20, 2010
unrated.
edwardk said Nov 11, 2010

The FLPR is a little dongle that plugs into your Iphone or Ipod's dock connector and turns it into a universal remote.

flpr_ls_TV_940x300.jpg


I bought mine from Best Buy for $59.99  as a cheaper alternative to the Logitech universal remotes. After having used it for about 2 months, I wanted to share my thoughts with you about it.

Summary of Opinion
The device does work but has a couple of really annoying issues which prevent me from recommending it.


My Testing
I tested the device with 2 Bell ExpressVu receivers (a 4200 series HD PVR and the 4100 standard def), a Videotron cable box,  2 Toshiba televisions, about 4 different DVD/BR players, Sony and Panasonic Amplifiers.

I really wanted to give the device a run for its money.

Setup
The setup has 2 components: The dongle and configuring the app.

Installing the dongle is as simple as connecting it to the dock connector. You then download the free application from itunes. So far so good.

The next step is to configure your various devices...

flpr_setup_940x300.jpg

I spent hours trying to find the right pre-configuration for each of my devices. The company claims to have 45000+ remote codes configured in their software and there does seem to be a lot but finding the right one was a challenge. As an example there was no reference to any of the Bell or Videotron boxes. I had to search the web for American provider models that looked similar enough and then had to test them one by one until I found the right one. Once I found it, it worked like a charm but it took way too much time.

Because I was using close American equivalent devices, some of the pre-programmed buttons did not work as labeled so I had to use the "learn" feature to teach the app the correct remote codes using the product's original remote. Again not a show stopper but a big annoyance.

Sometimes you narrow down the list by clicking on TV, then the brands (Toshiba) and then you have a list of 6 possible codes without any idea which one will work for your TV. Chances are it already has all of the codes for your products but again you may have to spend some time to choose the right one.


Once I found all of the codes, I created Macros. A Macro is a series of actions you want the product to perform sequentially. As an example, I created a Macro to watch satellite TV. I programmed it to turn on all of the required devices, switch the TV to the correct input, switch the amp to the correct input. This was actually really easy to do, you basically press the buttons you want it to press and then click save.

If you make a mistake while creating a macro, you have to delete and recreate it. There was no option to edit it.


Usage
Once everything was setup, using the product was super easy. Controls were immediate (like the original remote) and it didnt really drain the iPhone's battery.

Support
When I was trying to figure out what configuration to use for my devices, I sent a desperate plea for help to the company and their response basically said their product contains the codes for my devices. Not a really helpful response. I had recommended that they add a conversion grid on their site to help customers but as of this writing, nothing was posted.

Also tones of new devices are released each week and I have only seen 1 product update so far. Comparing it to Logitech, there should be many more updates.

I sent a complaint to the company about the fact that the interface to their app is very web 1.0. Box based graphics with very little customization options. I never received a response.

Conclusion
I had high hopes for this device. I really wanted it to work better, be easier to configure and have a better look and feel. Unfortunately their support is spotty at best and there doesn't seem to be any push to improve the app.

My recommendation is therefore DO NOT BUY

If the company does improve the product, I will be sure to post an update.









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