Peel's $99 universal remote isn't exactly a universal remote in the traditional sense of the word. It's more like an accessory--yes, it's pear-shaped--that taps into your home Wi-Fi network and interfaces with the free Peel iPhone app to turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a universal TV remote with some program recommendation features.
When you open the cylindrical packing container you'll find that pear-shaped device (the Peel Fruit) along with an Ethernet dongle (the Peel Cable) that plugs into your router--or somewhere into your home network. Once plugged in (to Ethernet and AC power), the Peel Cable communicates wirelessly with the Fruit via a wireless Zigbee connection. (Zigbee is a wireless home automation standard.)
You're supposed to set the Fruit on a coffee table (or some other flat surface) within about 15 feet of your TV (line of sight) and no more than 25 feet from the dongle for optimal performance. That pear-shaped accessory is powered by a single C battery and has an IR (infrared) blaster. Input a command on your iPhone or iPod Touch, and it's transmitted over your home Wi-Fi network to the Peel Cable, which in turn transmits it to the Peel Fruit (via Zigbee), which in turn converts it to an IR command that get blasted at your components. Got that?
Aside from the fact that we had to replace the dead battery that came with the Fruit to get the unit to work, we had little trouble setting everything up. That said, not everybody has their router located fairly close to their TV, so some setups will be more problematic than others. Also, not everybody has a good spot to leave the Fruit and if you have small children, and you leave your Fruit out, the odds of them damaging the Fruit are high. To them, it looks like something to play with and chuck around.
How's the Peel remote perform? Click here to continue reading the full review.