The universal remote control market seems to be undergoing a period of transformation with purpose-built and often pricey multi-function handsets under threat from a new wave of control solutions that use Apple and Android devices instead.

The RedEye Mini from Thinkflood works with Apple's iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad and has a big brother, the RedEye, which allows for control of multiple devices in the home using Wi-Fi by slotting said kit into a cradle.

The Mini package has two parts – a 290mm-long infrared adapter (for which a keyring-attachable case is provided) with a 30ft range, which attaches to your device's headphone output and the RedEye Mini control app, which is a free download from the iTunes app store.

Net access needed

Setting it up requires internet access and isn't too complex. You pick your equipment from a list of manufacturers (Sky+ appears as an option) and then the type (e.g. satellite receiver). You're then presented with a choice of IR code sets and proceed to test them out before downloading one that works.

The remote control interface isn't especially pretty but for generic remotes (e.g. Sky) each button is labelled corresponding with their match on the target. You can use the touchscreen to slide from one emulated remote to another, move buttons around, rename them and change the icon used.

An additional learning function involves placing the remote you want to mimic in front of the adapter and pressing the buttons you wish to ape.

Macro commands ('activities') can be set up and mapped to buttons you create. We could control our Sky+ and Virgin box in seconds, but the RedEye wouldn't turn on our Panasonic plasma TV.

A recent addition is a downloadable EPG which covers Sky, Freeview, Freesat and Virgin. A conventional grid-style EPG shows data up to seven days in advance including channel logos. This can be used to change channel but not schedule timed recordings.

Easy to use and potentially future-proof, thanks to the apps' internet updatability and learning function, this nifty Apple add-on isn't cheap but remains an elegant way to control multiple devices with minimal fuss.

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