Novel control system
Kids will love it
Maximum of 13 commands only
Not great for PVR use/precise control
No macro provision
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If the Kymera Magic Wand seems familiar it may be because it was featured on Dragon's Den, where it received the blessing of gruff Scot Duncan Bannatyne.
To use a Hollywood term, it's very 'high concept' – potentially appealing both to Harry Potter/Lord Of The Rings/fantasy fans as well as to those technophiles who wish they could control their telly using, well, a magic wand rather than having to get to grips with sometimes confusing, button-heavy modern remotes.
Light but sturdy
Incorporating a three-axis accelerometer, it comes in a 'dragon skin' and silk presentation box accompanied by a cute instruction booklet with faux parchment-like stylings, and is made from lightweight (most heft comes from adding batteries) if sturdy plastic. There are no buttons, but a green indicator light sits at the bottom end.
As you'd expect, the control method is gesture-based (you can incant 'spells' if you must) using pre-determined moves which can be mapped to replicate functions on an existing remote control.
These include flicking the wand up and down, twisting it slowly left or right, jabbing it back and forth or tapping it on the lower end. These take some practice (and memorising) but are aided by a built-in feedback system where the successful completion of a move is rewarded by a set number of pulses assigned to each emanating from the lower end.
Remote functions are learned by placing your zapper of choice in front of the wand, putting it in learning mode and carrying out a sequence of moves including performing the gesture you want to use and pressing the corresponding button on the remote you want to mimic.
You are limited to using a maximum of 13 gestures/commands in all, which is just enough to gain a fair degree of control over a TV and PVR – particularly if you want full control of the latter's recording transport functions. Any more than that is pushing it and there's no macro functionality for controlling multiple devices at the same time to make life a little easier.
The wand stopped short of turning on our Panasonic TV but controlled it otherwise alongside our Sky+ and Virgin V+ HD box.
Pausing briefly between performing each move gives best results but using PVR functions proves frustratingly imprecise if you want to, say, quickly skip around a recording or timeshift – we reverted to using our trusty Sky+ remote instead.
The Magic Wand isn't a 'just a toy' but it is best suited to quite basic TV setups and it is children – 'muggles' though they may be – who will be most likely to overlook its shortcomings in favour of its fun factor.
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