Has remote control overload got you down? Would you trade a handful of remotes for your TV, cable box, satellite box, Roku, AV receiver, DVD and more for one universal remote that you can control just by raising your finger? The Singlecue is the touchless remote control of the future. But does it work better than traditional battery powered remotes? Let’s find out.
What is it?
The Singlecue is a universal remote control that recognizes gestures to control your TV, DVR, other home theater devices, lighting and more without pressing any buttons or using your voice.
What’s in the box?
Singlecue Gen2 remote control
Power extension cord
Design and features
The Singlecue looks like a soundbar or some type of speaker, but it’s a gesture sensing remote control that has a camera and an LCD display on the front.
On the bottom of the Singlecue is a micro USB connector that is not for customer use, a status LED / IR blaster, and a pairing button.
On the back of the Singlecue you’ll find the power port and speaker.
Attached to the Singlecue sensor is an adjustable base that unfolds if you want to mount the sensor on the top edge of a TV instead of placing it on a shelf above or below the TV.
The Singlecue needs to be mounted facing where you normally sit up to 13 feet (4m) away.
Since my Vizio M50-D1 TV is mounted on the wall, I mounted the Singlecue on the top edge of the TV and routed the power cable behind the TV and through the wall where I have a small room with all the cables and power connections.
Once placed, the rest of the setup is done through the Singlecue app. I used my Nexus 6P for this task. You really only need the app for setup and adding new devices and activities. Once those setups are done, you do NOT need your phone or the app to use the Singlecue remote. All you need is your finger.
The app allows you to add all your home theater devices and even other devices like connected lights and the Nest thermostat. The app leads you through setting up your devices and testing to make sure they work with the Singlecue remote.
I added a Vizio TV, my Onkyo AV receiver, DirecTV satellite box, Nest thermostat and a standalone Roku streaming device.
After the devices are added, you then create activities which are like macros that connect several devices so that you can turn everything on with one gesture and then you will have the various device commands available to you while in that mode.
Using the Singlecue remote
There are only 4 basic gestures that are recognized by the Singlecue remote. To “wake” up Singlecue, you raise your index finger like you’re pointing to the ceiling or are trying to get the attention of a waiter at a restaurant. That gesture will show a lock on the Singlecue’s display and then you use the thumb and index finger pinch motion to “select” or unlock the remote.
From there you can navigate left or right through the Singlecue menus by “swiping” your hand left or right while still pointing up with your index finger. The other gesture is the “shhhh” gesture where you bring your index finger to your lips. When you do this, Singlecue will toggle mute on and off.
The Singlecue’s LCD isn’t very big, so some of the onscreen icons/commands can be tough to recognize. The image above shows all the different icons. I mainly had trouble seeing if I was selecting volume up or volume down because the only difference in the icons are the small + and – signs.
See it in action
Adjusting volume, switching activities and muting are all pretty easy to do with the Singlecue. Where things get a little tougher and more frustrating is when you try to use Singlecue to navigate onscreen menus. In the video above, you can skip to around the 1:10 mark to see how tough it is just to play a video in Netflix on my Roku. Navigating menus is a real hassle and not worth the effort if you have a regular remote control next to me.
It’s also important to note that the Singlecue remote times out very quickly, so you have to wake it up with the finger pointing up gesture followed by the pinch gesture to unlock it before you can do anything else including the muting gesture.
I’ve been testing the Singlecue for a couple of weeks and sometimes it works great and other days I want to pull what little hair I have out when trying to use it. Sometimes I have to do the pointing up gesture 3 or 4 times before the Singlecue wakes up and sometimes I won’t be doing any gestures at all and something will trigger the Singlecue to change the channel.
I like the tech behind the Singlecue remote, but in practice, I found that it took more time to wake it up, and navigate to the command than it did to just press a button on the physical remote next to me on the couch. The only time I found the Singlecue remote to be “better” than my physical remote was when my fingers were greasy from eating food or snacks in front of the TV and I didn’t want to touch the remote to get it dirty. Being able to use gestures was a handy alternative in that case. But instead of paying $149 for the Singlecue, I think I’ll just make sure I always have clean hands or a napkin near by.