The trusty handset which came with my Pioneer Freeview box failed some time ago. A great feature of the Pioneer's handset was that it had separate buttons all the major controls on most TV sets as well as for the Freview box itself. There is no exact replacement available and the nearest I could find is quite pricey and works only with a specific model of TV.
For a time I used a universal controller which works almost any device but had to remember to keep switching between TV and set top box functions and often forgot which device I was using. The One-For-All Simple 2 is currently on offer at Morrisons for £10 so I thought I would give that a try.
Physically the controller is a nice shape and very easy to use. It is substantially built in heavy plastic with rubberised edges and base. Some of the buttons have an attractive silver surround and a positive click action. The remainder do not and the overall black colour scheme is a bit dated these days. Incredibly in this day and age there is no dedicated subtitle button! Despite the considerable size of the handset it is powered by a pair of tiny AAA batteries. I found these run down fairly quickly with regular use and would much prefer it could take AA batteries instead.
The instruction manual is appalling! The ambiguously worded booklet suggests doing a device scan by manufacturer (if that is known) or or random search if the manufacturer is not known. I found that to be very tedious. It is possible to enter a code for a specific device but that is not even mentioned, the company's website was a lot more helpful in that respect. The same few instructions are repeated in twenty different languages which makes the booklet much bigger than it need be. A "quick start" guide of the kind issued by many other manufacturers with a list of popular codes would have been a lot more helpful.
Contrary to its name the handset cannot work all the controls of two separate devices. Only a limited number of TV functions are available, volume, mute, input selection and power-off. You cannot for example call up the TV's own menu and make adjustments. You also cannot change channels on the TV itself. In one respect this is an advantage as it stops you from disconnecting the input from a set top box by mistake. However, many TV sets do not have a power-on button and can only be turned on by selecting a TV channel.
Mercifully the One-For-All does have the ability to reprogram any button to perform a different function, provided you still have the device's original handset
. I picked a button I was hardly ever likely to use and reprogrammed that to select a channel which also turns on the TV set. It is also possible to reprogram any button to select subtitles but that should not have been made necessary in the first place.
This particular model does not have record and playback controls so is useless for recording devices, for that you need a more expensive One-For-All model. These can often be found at knock-down prices so shop around and you'll probably find one.
Easy to use
Helpful websiteBad points:
Limited TV functionality
No dedicated subtitle button
No spare buttons which can be used to add missing functions
No record/playback controls
Battery compartment is too small