There’s no single “perfect” three-button remote control adapter for Apple’s current-generation iPods and iPhones, and moreover, the fact that all of the options sell for roughly $20 has precluded any meaningful pricing advantage for one model or another. In this context, Simplism’s Remote Controller for iPod ($20, aka Remote Controller 3 Buttons) is essentially just one more alternative — a design with highly similar functionality to, say, Belkin’s Headphone Adapter for iPod shuffle, just with a different design. Each one adds a remote control to any standard pair of 3.5mm earphones you want to use with your recent-model iPod or iPhone.
Whereas Belkin chose to go with a sleek, pill-shaped remote control box, marking its buttons with contrasting + and – labels for volume up and down, Simplism’s glossy casing is the exact opposite: a highly boxy enclosure with markings that can barely be seen but can be felt, with a squared-off ridge differentiating the top, bottom, and multifunction middle buttons. Like almost all of the adapters out there, this one does not include an integrated microphone, but it differs from most in offering a clip on the back for attachment to your shirt, pant pocket, or jacket.
Which article of clothing it will mount on will depend at least somewhat on the iPod or iPhone you’re carrying. It’s fully compatible with the third-generation iPod shuffle, 2008-2009 iPod classic, iPod nano 4G/5G, iPod touch 2G/3G, and iPhone 3GS, and has a headphone port connector that’s as thin as they come, ensuring compatibility with literally any case we can recall having tested.
Roughly 18 inches of rubbery, Apple-like cabling separate the top and bottom of the Remote Controller, which might be too much for iPod shuffle users to double-clip on clothing—the reason that previously-released short-cable, no-clip versions from Belkin and Scosche might serve their needs better. By contrast, this longer-cabled take would be better-suited for users of larger iPods and iPhones, which are more likely to sit inside pockets.
Functionally, there are no major surprises here. The Controller passes through audio from the connected iPod or iPhones, and the buttons do what they’re supposed to do, enabling users to multi-click on the central button to skip tracks, or press once for play/pause features. Though we’re fans of the slim, sleek Belkin style of remote, this boxy version works too, providing a large, tactile surface that’s easy to grip and use; the fact that white and black versions are both available is also appealing. Only one small caveat might limit its enjoyment by some users: the buttons click resoundingly rather than quietly. Apart from that, this is a nice little remote solution with the sort of additional cable length and tactility that some iPod and iPhone users will prize; it’s worth of our general-level recommendation.
Company and Price
Model: Remote Controller
Compatible: iPod classic 2008-2009, iPod nano 3G/4G, iPod shuffle 3G, iPod touch 2G/3G, iPhone 3GS