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Text Link Remote

 

Text Link Remote

Platform: PS3
Category: Remote Control
 
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Features

- Sliding QWERTY Keyboard Design
- 25ft Wide Angle 2.4GHz RF signal
- Full control of movies, DVD’s, CD’s, media files and games
- Dual analog sticks and buttons
- Rechargeable NiMH battery
- Includes USB charging cable

Anyone who uses their PS3 as a multimedia machine knows that they are limited in their choices of remotes. You can either pick up the first party remote, made by Sony of course, or you can pick up a one of a few third party ones. For the more pricey option, you can buy a Logitech Harmony remote and pick up the Logitech PS3 adapter to convert to the remotes signals to be read by the PS3, but that really does add up. When it comes to third party remotes there are a few out there. One of the more innovative ones to hit the market recently is Hyperkin's Text Link remote which has quite a few features packed into the little unit.

At first glance Text Link Remote looks like any remote. Given that it is geared for the PS3, you'd expect the usual PS3 buttons, but this is a third party one so you will find that a lot of the typical PS3 markings have been replaced with different looking identifiers. The only reason I can think that this is the case is that Sony is pretty strict with their PS3 trademarks, and Hyperkin didn't want to infringe on such, or they didn't want to pay any licensing fees. Regardless, the PS button is labeled "home" and the triangle, square, circle and 'x' buttons are somewhat altered in such that they do not look like the PS3 controller ones as there are distinct differences (e.g. color) that make them different to Sony's branding. In the end this won't matter to most as all the Sony specific buttons are clearly identifiable. As for the rest of the remote, you'll find your typical 'other' buttons you'd expect on a remote used for the PS3 such as play, pause, stop, L1, L2, L3 and R1, R2, R3.

Upon closer examination of the remote, you'll notice that the bottom half can slide out. Once you do this you'll see that there is a full QWERTY keyboard and two analog sticks, as well as what look to be standard PS3 gaming controller buttons. There are even L1, L2, R1, R2 buttons where you'd expect them to be on a PS3 controller (by your index fingers when you hold it). I thought this was pretty neat given the fact you now have analog sticks and buttons on a remote that mirror the feel and usefulness of a controller.

So everything seems hunky dory right? Well not exactly. I found that after some extended time using this remote there were some issues that affected the overall experience.

Setting up the Text Link Remote is very simple. The USB IR receiver plugs into any open USB port on your PS3. Once you plug the USB receiver in the remote is ready to go. There is no need to pair it up as you have to do with other Bluetooth devices, nor is there any other programming needed. It is truly a plug and play affair. The one notable issue with this is that the Text Link Remote has no ability to power on or off your PS3. You will have to press the power button on your controller or the PS3 itself prior to using this remote. I also found that this remote had to be ‘rebooted’ so to speak after you update your firmware or when it unexplainably cuts out. The latter was more of an issue given that it does occur without warning and it will occur more than once. I cannot explain why it cuts out, but to fix this you only need to unplug and plug in the USB IR receiver to fix it which can be a nuisance.

As a remote this unit does what it is supposed to. It plays, pauses, fast forwards, rewinds and stops Blu-rays and DVDs. The biggest issue I found here is with the face buttons placements. There were many occasions of unintentional pressing of other buttons while trying to hit specific ones. The navigation ‘arrow’ buttons are very closely placed to the triangle, square, circle and ‘x’ buttons. Their placement is so close that you will have to watch closely as you press the button you desire. This can be troublesome in a dark room. As well, I become accustomed to button placement by touch, but given the close proximity of buttons to one another on this remote hitting others occurs more often than not and this can be aggravating given that the PS3 does something I don’t want it to.

As noted earlier in this review, the main draw to the Text Link Remote is the slide out QWERTY keyboard, analog sticks, and controller buttons.

As a QWERTY keyboard, used for sending messages over the PlayStation Network to friends or typing in URL addresses when surfing the web on your console, the Text Link Remote seems to struggle. The alphanumeric keys take a lot of pressure when pressing to register on screen. Now I don’t know if this is due to the size of my fingers, or the fact that I am so used to my BlackBerry, but regardless of what the issue is, it is there and it does make it somewhat difficult to type with any sense of speed. Some may be better left using a Bluetooth keyboard, but at least the comfort of typing on the Text Link Remote is better than Sony’s own keyboard which attaches to the PS3 controller. That being said, maybe some of you readers out there may not have this problem.

As for the analog joysticks, they are recessed into the keyboard’s pad and feel pretty nice. Now there is no doubt that the Text Link Remote was never meant to replace an actual PS3 Dualshock controller, but there is some credence to the fact that casual games may be alright to play with it. That being said, any games requiring precision or accuracy of a high nature may suffer from using the included analog joysticks and controller buttons of this remote. I do have to give credit to Hyperkin though for including these controls as it makes the remote more useful than for just watching movies.

At the end of the day I do applaud Hyperkin for taking an innovative approach to making a third party remote that gamers can use with their PS3. Instead of taking the lazy way out and making a generic remote, they took a look outside of the box and tried something much different than those in the past. There is no doubt that there are some issues with this remote, as noted above, but these can definitely be fixed in the next version that they could release, and I do suggest they release an improved model. All things considered, most may find something to like about this controller, but others may find the noted issues not worth the effort.

 
 

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