Setting up the Pronto to work with my cable box, television, and Apple TV took less than 10 minutes. I downloaded the Peel app to my iPhone, provided my location and cable-company information (so that it can deliver a customized schedule for the channels I subscribe to), and selected which pieces of hardware I wanted to control. That’s it.
The Pronto provides support for Apple TV and Roku streaming boxes as well as a seemingly endless list of DVD and Blu-ray players, televisions, HDMI switchers, home-theater speakers and sound bars, and A/V receivers. And as an added bonus, it’s even possible to set up the Peel app to work with additional hubs in other rooms inside your home. Not bad for 50 bucks.
Not without its faults
For starters, while the Peel app was able to download the channel guide for my cable provider, it doesn’t take service tiers into account. This means that you’ll have content from channels you don’t pay for packed in with the rest of the stuff in your program guide. Cord-cutters who rely on an over-the-air antenna are even more out of luck. This can make finding something to watch a huge pain.
You can pair the Pronto with only one iPhone, iPod, or iPad at a time, so you won’t be able to substitute one device for the other (although you can use an Apple Watch instead). There is also no iPad-specific version of the app, the UI just scales up when you run the iPhone app on an iPad.
And while the list of devices that the Pronto can control is impressive, it supports the Xbox One only as a Blu-ray player (not a Netflix streamer), and it doesn’t support the PlayStation 4 at all. You can’t control an Amazon Fire TV either, as that streamer relies on Wi-Fi Direct, not infrared. Finally, while the Peel app’s user interface for each device is functional, it’s far from attractive and you can’t customize the look beyond changing the function of a few on-screen soft buttons.
The Pronto Peel is one of the least-expensive universal remotes you’ll find, but keep in mind that it leans heavily on your iOS device to function. Peel should also produce a version of the app that takes better advantage of the larger screen sizes that the iPad allows.
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