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Best Universal Remote apps for Android

There’s no better way to get rid of remote control clutter than to get a universal remote app on your phone. We take a look at four top Android remote apps and reveal our best all-rounder.

Best Universal Remote apps for Android: Set-up

Peel Smart Remote (free)

When you first login to Peel’s Smart Remote, you’ll need to select your regional TV provider from the list. It’ll use your location to find the most likely option or you can just choose the national options if you’re unsure which service you have.

Next up, choose your gender and age bracket for TV recommendations and then it’s time to connect your TV. You’ll need to turn it off to do this, then choose the manufacturer of your TV and test each of the controls to see if they respond. When your TV turns on, it’s set up and time to do the same for your TV set top box (if you have one) and any other devices you want to configure. 

Peel Smart Remote - Google Play link

Galaxy Universal Remote (£2.39)

When the Galaxy Universal Remote is first launched, you’re taken instantly to the device listings screen, where you can choose the type of device you want to control from tabs along the top and then the manufacturer of your equipment. 

As is the case with the Peel Smart Remote, you’ll need to go through a number of configurations, checking the buttons work with your model and then saving them to My Devices when you’re happy they work.

Galaxy Universal Remote - Google Play link

Tekoia SURE Universal Remote (Free)

When you first launch Tekoia’s SURE Universal Remote, you’re invited to add devices by tapping on the flashing Devices button and then Add. Choose whether it’s an IR device or a WiFi device, tap next and choose the type of device you’re adding.

Find the brand by scrolling through the list or search for it to speed the process up and then start testing the remotes by tapping a button presented - you can choose between power, menu or volume keys. We used the menu option so it wasn’t too disruptive to our viewing experience.

Tekoia SURE Universal Remote - Google Play link

Color Tiger Smart IR Remote - AnyMote (£5.62)

When you first launch AnyMote, you’ll need to accept an extensive list of terms and conditions and then you can choose from the wide selection of devices to configure. Like the other apps, you’ll then need to choose the manufacturer and then if you know the model number, you can just type that in to find the right remote. 

If you don’t know it, you can go through the options in the same way as the other apps, by trying out the different remotes.

Color Tiger Smart IR Remote - AnyMote

Best Universal Remote apps for Android

Best Universal Remote apps for Android: Ease of use and UI

Peel Smart Remote

Peel seems to be built around presenting TV listings rather than as a remote and for this reason, most of its development seems to have been focussed on making the listings look good with thumbnail images and an easy to navigate UI rather than controlling the TV. 

However, the remote UI is clean and it’s easy to turn the volume up and down and switch between channels, but it’s possibly too simple for most, offering far fewer options than your TV remote boasts.

Galaxy Universal Remote

The Galaxy Universal Remote is one of the easiest remote controls to use, with a huge number of options for controlling the devices around your home. What is disappointing to see though is the bland UI.

It works well and logically, making it one of the more intuitive apps we tested, but the design certainly needs a spruce up because different shades of grey will never be pleasing on the eye.

Tekoia SURE Universal Remote

The icons are better organised on the screen compared to other options, with the devices listed on the left side of the screen and the buttons in the main area of the screen, although the picture at the top of the screen could probably be better utilised to make the buttons bigger.

Along the bottom, there are tabs to switch between different parts of the standard remote - on the set top box remote, for example, we could easily switch between the most used buttons (volume, channel up/down etc), while the second tab includes the controls for the DVR functionality and the third numbers to type in the channel number. It’s well thought-out and looks good too, favouring a pink and blue colour scheme rather than greys.

Color Tiger Smart IR Remote - AnyMote

AnyMote’s UI is clear, with nice big buttons to press in order to control your TV, set top box, air conditioner or anything else you want to use the app for - as long as you want to use the standard buttons.

However, for anything else, including to input channel numbers manually (yes, we have all our favourite channel numbers memorised), you’ll need to tap the subtle arrows at the bottom of the screen to find additional options. At first, we didn’t think they even existed.

Again the UI tries to mimic the look of a hardware remote control, so could do with a touch of design inspiration to make it more appealing.

Best Universal Remote apps for Android

Best Universal Remote apps for Android: Features 

Peel Smart Remote

As previously mentioned, the Peel Smart Remote was built with TV listings in mind and, it would seem, as a remote second. Whether you’re in the remote control mode or on the main listings screen, you can browse what’s on and tap on the cover art to switch to that TV channel. 

There is a bit of lag when choosing programming in comparison to changing channels or adjusting the volume using the remote control screen, so you may want to stick to using your hardware remote control if you want to do anything more advanced than just browsing through the channels and changing the volume.

Like the Tekoia SURE Universal Remote, when the Peel Smart Remote is active, an icon will appear in the toolbar for quick access and in addition, there’s a quick remote that will randomly pop up like a ghost on the screen (including the lock screen) so you can easily control your TV or other devices as soon as you pick up your phone.

Galaxy Universal Remote

The Galaxy Universal Remote is one of the better-featured remotes here, with the ability to change the channel by inputting numbers as well as browsing up and down, change the volume and also, you can browse through the menus with the dedicated menu button. 

Input is also supported if you want to switch between your set top box, games console and Blu-ray player for example and there are also the DVR options for pausing, fast forwarding and skipping backwards and forwards.

You can also configure your own remote control set ups to put the buttons you use most from your saved devices in one place, rather than having to switch between the full remote controls. It’s pretty smart.

Tekoia SURE Universal Remote

Everything can be controlled on the SURE Universal Remote, whether you want to access the full menu on your TV, view the guide or do anything else, making it the best free option we’ve looked at here. As detailed above, tabs along the bottom of the screen mean you can easily find all the navigation options you need to scrap your standard remotes.

You can also set up systems, so if you have devices in different rooms, you can create profiles to include all the different devices in that specific room and the quick remote will always stay in your notifications bar so you don’t have to open the app at all.

SURE Universal Remote also supports devices that work on your WiFi network too, so if you have a smart TV or connected media streaming device, you can control it via WiFi instead, providing your smartphone is using the same network. If connected to your smart TV via WiFi, you can stream your photos and videos to your TV too.

Color Tiger Smart IR Remote - AnyMote

Color Tiger has the most features packed in compared to any of the other apps we tested. For starters, the remote can set your device to mute when the phone rings, when you make a call or use pre-set gestures, which is a very handy feature indeed.

You can also record your own remote control to make the setup process even easier. However, our test device (LG G3) didn’t have this feature enabled so we were unable to make use of it.

Best Universal Remote apps for Android: Compatibility

Peel Smart Remote

The Peel Smart Remote is compatible with most TV makes and set top boxes, but we were disappointed to find our Humax-branded YouView set-top box couldn’t be found. You have an option to request a code, but this doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use it straight away, instead you’ll have to wait for Peel to find the fix. 

However, the range of devices overall supported by the Peel Smart Remote is extensive and includes DVD and Blu-ray players, AV receivers, streaming media players, air conditioners and sound bars, as long as they can be controlled via IR, because Peel doesn’t allow you to control devices attached to your network using WiFi.

Galaxy Universal Remote

The Galaxy Universal Remote doesn’t support WiFi-connected devices like Sonos or networked storage, but the number of devices it does support is pretty extensive, including DVD/Blu-Ray players, climate control devices, projectors, media streaming boxes and DSLR cameras, which many of the other apps we tested doesn’t control. 

It’s available for both Android tablets and smartphones with slightly different interfaces for both (the tablet configuration uses larger buttons and a landscape mode that makes visibility of options a little clearer, for example).

Tekoia SURE Universal Remote

The Tekoia SURE Universal Remote supports more than a million devices across both IR-enabled devices and those supported on WiFi. However, only the Roku 3, ChromeCast and Apple TV are supported over WiFi alongside smart TVs, which is a little disappointing for those using music streaming systems like Sonos.

Tekoia has recently added the ability to control air conditioning systems in addition to AV receivers, media streamers, disc players and projectors. It also supports home automation systems, such as iRobot and LED lamps.

Color Tiger Smart IR Remote - AnyMote

Color Tiger’s Smart IR Remote covers the most types of device, including air conditioning and heating, audio video  systems, DSLR cameras, games and media managers, connected hoe equipment, projectors, set top boxes, TVs, video processors and switchers.

You can also add WiFi systems to the remote and these cover a huge array of devices too - pretty much every WiFi-enabled device on the market including Sonos, Philips Hue, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Boxee and much more. However, our Sony Bravia smart TV wasn’t supported, which came as a disappointment.

Best Universal Remote apps for Android: Pros and Cons

  Pros Cons
Peel Smart Remote
  • Compatible with a wide range of devices, 
  • Includes TV listings and recommendations
  • UI is very simple, with few controller options
  • There’s some lag when choosing a programme
Galaxy Universal Remote
  • Customisable controls
  • Wide range of device compatibility including DSLRs
  • Very responsive
  • Uninspiring UI
  • Costs £2.39
Tekoia SURE Universal Remote
  • Easy to use and set up
  • Supports WiFi devices
  • Can stream photos and videos to TVs
  • Screen space could be better utilised
Color Tiger Smart IR Remote - AnyMote
  • Can control more devices than any other remote 
  • Clear and easy to use UI
  • Packed to the brim with extra features
  • Full version is expensive
  • Some features weren’t compatible

Best Universal Remote apps for Android: Verdict 

Although the Peel Smart Remote has the most features, with the ability to browse listings and get recommendations about what to watch, its universal remote controls are one of the most basic and it took us longer to set up than some of the other remotes on test. 

The Galaxy Universal Remote was easy to set up and was very responsive, but we’re not sure it was worth the £2.39 when the SURE Universal Remote and Peel Smart Remote are available for free and its interface is very bland in comparison.

Tekoia SURE Universal Remote has an attractive, easy to use interface and allows you to control more devices than its other free competitor thanks to its WiFi compatibility. 

The Color Tiger Smart Remote - Anymote is a great app, but not worth over a fiver. With the widest selection of options, including the ability to mute your devices when a call comes in or you make a call, remote recording and much more, we just wish this version was free. 

The Tekoia SURE Universal Remote takes the crown here. It’s free, controls a whole array of devices including those on your WiFi network, is simple to use and allows you to carry out more actions than its rivals, without a lag or hiccups along the way.

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