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Lifewire / Yoona Wagener
Roku and other streaming support built in
Simple initial device setup
Takes time to program more advanced commands
Learning inconsistent at times
Incompatible with Amazon Fire TV streaming devices
No way to turn off backlighting
The Inteset 4-in-1 Universal Backlit IR Learning Remote is a plain but powerful device that’s good for streaming, but you’ll need a little patience to get it up and running.
If you’re building out a home entertainment system, chances are you’ve amassed a collection of remotes. If you’re hoping to clear the clutter, the Inteset 4-in-1 Universal Backlit IR Learning Remote may fit the bill. It’s affordable, lightweight, and boasts the ability to program 32 commands to one button.
We tested this remote’s learning ability and its viability as a streaming-friendly device.
As far as remote controls go, the Inteset 4-in-1’s design is nothing out of the ordinary. It’s typically long and rectangular at 9 x 3 x 2 inches, and it weighs just 9 ounces. The shape is sort of cinched near the middle of the remote, which lends to an ergonomic and lightweight feel in the hand, and there’s a nice indent in the middle of the back of the remote for an easier grip.
These design details may be more helpful for larger hands, however—those with smaller hands will find the directional buttons, located at the top of the remote, a little awkward to reach. In fact, we noticed that most of the buttons we ended up interacting with happened to be toward the top of the remote, in part because we use streaming devices exclusively and don’t have antenna or cable TV.
It’s affordable, lightweight, and boasts the ability to program 32 commands to one button.
The buttons are relatively responsive, but they’re quite squishy and don’t spring back. This was most obvious when we were programming the remote—sometimes it felt like we had to press down really hard on a button to make sure it registered what we were asking for.
If there’s ever a doubt, the backlighting and the handy LED are helpful indicators to let you know that the remote is working and responding.
Inteset boasts an extensive database that includes the IR (infrared) codes for over 100,000 devices. It’s easy to access this database, which you’ll need to do in order to set up your media devices, by visiting universalremotes.net.
Once you get to the site and navigate to the Code Lookup page, you can select your device type from the available list based on your Inteset remote. There are just two remotes in the INT-422 series, and the device number is also labeled on the back of the remote itself. Once you select a device type, you’ll be prompted to choose your manufacturer from another list to grab the codes you need.
We lucked out and chose the first device setup code on the list for Toshiba smart TV, which happened to be the right one. Within a minute we had our TV set up using the five-step device programming instructions. This process can be repeated for three other devices, which you can assign to the other remaining letters.
But before you proceed with that, you may not have to lift a finger if you have a supported streaming device. The remote’s marketed as being streaming device friendly, and it backs that claim up with presets for Xbox, Apple TV, Roku, or Windows Media Center/Kodi. Of course, you can override any of these device controls by obtaining the setup code for your specific equipment.
But if you’re looking for a remote to use with a Fire TV or second-generation NVIDIA SHIELD, you’ll have to purchase an IReTV IR Receiver. And if you use a Roku stick, you won’t be able to use this remote at all. All in all, though, the initial device programming proved to be straightforward and in line with the user manual.
Another perk of this remote is its learning ability. Inteset claims that this remote can learn between 42-75 buttons, but the exact range also depends on “the IR code length of the buttons,” according to the user manual.
Even though Roku is already programmed into the remote, we tested the ability to learn, unlearn, and override buttons. There’s a row of four buttons in the upper middle portion of the remote that are identifiable by color: red, green, yellow, and blue. The Roku device presets already assigned these colors specific shortcut functions, similar to the way the Roku remote has a quick-select button for Hulu or other specific apps.
The Inteset 422-3 is a bargain at $27, especially compared with more expensive smart remotes on the market.
What we found was a bit surprising. While the manual says that the head of the Inteset remote should face the head of the remote from which it’s learning at a distance of about 2 inches, we found that distance needed to be much shorter. In fact, in order to successfully override three of the four color-coded buttons, the Intset remote need to be touching the “teaching” remote. We couldn’t seem to get the Yellow button to budge no matter how many times we followed the steps to override the button. This could be because of memory capacity. The user manual does say that if you see a long flash instead of a quick double flash of the LED light, memory or battery power could be low. We swapped the provided batteries with a new pair, but still encountered the same problem.
This extended to our attempts to program a macro for a multi-step process of switching inputs and turning on the Roku. The instructions indicate that we had to make sure to point the remote toward our AV equipment until all commands were finished. But we never saw the flashing LED light to indicate that any information was transmitted.
While basic button learning was relatively easy to execute, we experienced less-than-consistent performance when trying to program more involved learning queues.
The Inteset 422-3 is a bargain at $27, especially compared with more expensive smart remotes on the market. The Logitech Harmony Elite retails for nearly 13 times the price at $350. Of course, that’s a model that also incorporates smart-home functionality, but if you’re not looking for quite such a robust controller, the Inteset 4-in-1 remote is clever and affordable. And while it’s possible to spend $10 or less on a universal remote, the Inteset isn’t just a cheap solution to remote clutter. It comes with streaming device support and the potential for personalization with programming and IR learning—if you have the patience and the right equipment.
If you were to consider leveling up to a smarter remote, the Logitech Harmony 665 might be a good starting point. While it’s more expensive at about $70, it comes with a full-color screen that provides more insight into what you’ve programmed, and also features the easy-to-use Harmony desktop software. Plus, the Harmony 665 provides troubleshooting and support if you run into problems, which the INT-422-3 is sorely lacking, and NVIDIA SHIELD support without the need for additional equipment. Throw in the ability to control 10 devices total, and be able to take advantage of the Harmony 665’s library of over 270,000 devices, and the 665 looks more and more attractive. Both remotes lack Amazon Fire TV compatibility or Wi-Fi and aren’t truly “smart,” however, and both will require a fair amount of patience and tech know-how to use.
A good bargain for the tech-savvy user.
The Inteset 4-in-1 Universal Backlit IR Learning Remote is an inexpensive option for users who have a well-rounded entertainment system that includes some streaming activity. While it’s speedy to set up the four devices you’d like to use this remote to control, expect to spend some time with the learning component.