Samsung Smart Remote: Hands-on with the best TV clicker yet

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But one flaw in LG's design is the need to occasionally shake the wand to activate the cursor. Select Delete to confirm. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion. Connect mobile and TV. Enter your PIN, then select Done.

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My comments also apply to other Samsung TVs that have the remote, although higher-end TVs get the silver as opposed to all-black version, as well as a dedicated key for the Multi-Link fancier picture-in-picture function. Button configurations and capabilities will also vary for non-US markets. The Australian version, for example, has a dedicated Soccer button. Don't ask me what it does. For the last few years I've been very impressed by LG's motion remotes, which behaved a lot like a Nintendo Wii controller.

You control a cursor by waving the remote at the screen, and once you get the hang of it, navigation can happen more easily and efficiently than with the standard method of clicking from one selection to the next, especially on a large screen with a lot of icons. Much like touchscreens seem the ideal interface for phones and tablets, and a touchpad or mouse rules the PC screen, a motion controller provides in my experience the best control over a lean-back Smart TV interface.

This year Samsung copied LG's idea and then improved upon it. Like LG's system, Samsung's motion remote is remarkably precise and makes navigation of most menus and selections -- especially the browser, and the onscreen, virtual remote and keyboard -- swift and even kinda fun. But one flaw in LG's design is the need to occasionally shake the wand to activate the cursor. On Samsung's new remote, simply resting your thumb on the little concave touchpad wakes up motion control and summons the cursor.

Conversely, removing it from the pad deactivates the functionality. It's a remarkably simple arrangement that takes about 10 seconds to assimilate and works beautifully in practice. Unlike the kind found on a laptop or some other remotes, that little touchpad isn't used to move the cursor at all.

Its only other major functions are to enable scrolling, particularly on the Web browser, and to serve as the main "OK" or "Select" command with a downward click, which feels sort of like a mouse button.

I loved the vibe of the small-but-not-too-small Smart Remote, especially its subtly curved shape and ribbed backside. Every key lives within easy thumb-reach, and for those apps and menus that don't support motion control, you drive between selections with a standard four-way cursor placed around the edges of the pad.

The touch-to-activate-motion system is a boon here too, because menus that don't support touch become instantly recognizable: Like many new remotes the Smart Control uses Bluetooth to communicate with the TV, so you don't need line-of-sight or even to aim it at the television for it to work.

As usual Samsung sacrificed a bunch of direct-access keys available on its traditional clicker to make the Smart Remote smaller and more ergonomic. Major ones include the numeric keypad, a few set-top box controls, and the Tools shortcut menu. I did appreciate that dedicated transport keys play, pause, fast-forward and rewind are present on the Smart Remote.

This addition alone makes it superior to LG's remote, which makes you resort to a menu for those functions. I was also miffed at the remote's lack of backlighting. Commands that aren't granted a dedicated key are available via an onscreen remote, which pops up when you press the Smart Remote's "Keypad" button. It's more of a pain than direct-access keys, but a heck of a lot easier than on Samsung's TVs , thanks to motion control.

How much of a pain depends on what you want to do; if you frequently type in channel numbers directly, for example, that virtual numeric keypad might soon become your hated nemesis. Beyond great ergonomics and the ability to command the TV's many functions itself, a good remote should also be able to control other gear.

The Smart Remote can, although it doesn't work as well as my favorite Logitech. Since the Smart Remote relies on Bluetooth between itself and the TV, infrared commands for other gear are transmitted from the TV to the rest of your entertainment system through the included IR blaster below. I didn't like the system quite as much in practice as I did LG's system from , which is being largely carried over this year.

That's because LG's remote sends the IR commands itself, without needing an external blaster. On the other hand, Samsung it roundly beats Sony's system. When controlling the cable box, the very slight delay between pressing a button and seeing the results onscreen was almost unnoticeable; the H seemed seemed faster than on the H That said it's still not as responsive as direct control via a universal or included cable box remote, especially when moving around the box's guide or menus.

If you do decide to use the TV to control your cable box, you'll find yourself visiting the onscreen remote a lot.

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