Designed to control up to eight pieces of AV kit, the Genius Remote 815 can learn and store functions from the original handsets, and even boasts seven backlight colours to distinguish between each device. The first stage with any new remote control is usually fitting the batteries.

Unfortunately, the supposedly simple battery cover release button stubbornly refused to work as easily as promised. Following the help of several colleagues, a screwdriver and a substantial amount of swearing, the batteries were finally in place.

Chunky remote

It's motion-sensitive, so as soon as you pick it up its ready for action, but it turns itself off after a few minutes of inactivity in order to save the battery life.

Despite its reassuringly chunky design, the Genius 815 is slightly uncomfortable to hold, feeling rather heavy and lacking an easy-to-grip surface.

The handset can be programmed manually using the provided list of manufacturer codes or set-up using the automatic function. The latter involved simply pointing the remote at the piece of kit for a few minutes and letting the set-up mode run through the codes stored in the remote until the right one was found – indicated by the product turning off.

Simple programming

Beyond the basic command buttons, such as the numbers and channel scrolling keys, basic functions, can be programmed into the remote simply by placing it end to end with the original handset while more complicated sequences can be programmed as macros so that they operate at the touch of a button.

For example, you can set a macro to turn the TV to DVD, turn on the DVD player, and play the DVD, just by pressing one button.

Overall it's not at all bad, but we think that there are other remotes out there which are superior in terms of usability.