This clone of Apple’s earlier wired iPod Remote lacks a Hold switch but includes a Dock Connector and headphone connector for connection to newer iPods. A pair of “bonus” retractable headphones is also in the box.
Though Apple developed a wired remote control for 3G, 4G, and mini iPods several years ago, that accessory – and many others – became incompatible with newer 5G and nano models when Apple dropped the extended headphone port from iPods late last year. Unfortunately, there aren’t many wired remote controls for today’s iPods – iPDA makes an inexpensive solution that we tested some months ago (iLounge rating: B-), and companies such as Apple (iPod Radio Remote, iLounge rating: A-) and Griffin (iFM, iLounge rating: B+) sell iPod remotes with integrated FM radio tuners. That’s pretty much it.
Now Logiix has released The Remote+ ($25), an alternative that looks virtually identical to Apple’s original iPod remote, but like iPDA’s option, works with today’s Dock Connector iPods.
And when we say that it looks virtually identical, it’s actually a straight clone of Apple’s original remote, from front to back, except for three key differences – none of them especially positive.
The first: in addition to its five face buttons (play/pause, track backward/forward, volume up/down), Apple’s Remote had a hold switch, and The Remote+ has no such switch, allowing accidental button presses to affect iPod playback. Second, like Apple’s remote, Logiix’s option includes a pair of spare headphones, but Logiix’s aren’t quite as impressive. The buds are a little larger than Apple’s, which are already considered by many to be too large to fit comfortably in some ears, and though they sound similar to Apple’s when properly inserted, they are harder to fully insert, and lack a little for bass when not. They also look cheap, which is only acceptable here to the extent that they actually are, though they do include the standard OEM retractable cord mechanism we see from many companies.
What really stinks about The Remote+, however, is the way it connects to your iPod.
Rather than coming up with a single-cable solution – a remote that connects via one cable to your iPod – Remote+ uses two, one for the Dock Connector to send data (play/track/volume) commands, and one for the headphone plug to provide audio. Because the distance between headphone and Dock Connector ports varies from 5G iPod to iPod nano, the cable length is long and dangly, too. This was third-rate engineering when the first no-name companies introduced similar remotes six months ago; today, given that there are other options that figured out how to do this with a single cable, it borders on the unacceptable.
Overall, The Remote+ strikes us as a so-so solution: a not especially impressive remote combined with a passable pair of earphones. It basically bites off of Apple’s design without making any improvements, and in fact does worse in most regards than the original.