Home » Review: Spin remote – the remote of the future?
Reviews

Review: Spin remote – the remote of the future?

Review: Spin remote (SDC-1), a remote control without buttons but with sensors that control everything by means of movements and gestures.
4.6/5 - (65 votes)

Spin remote

In this review we look at the Spin remote (SDC-1), a remote control without buttons but with sensors that let you control everything by means of movements and gestures.

The remote control has been subject to change for years, but there is not really one successor to the remote control as we know it. We now see many apps appear, but for this you always have to have your smartphone at hand. Manufacturers are also trying out new versions with touchpads, motion sensors and speech recognition. What will the remote control of the future look like? Maybe it is the Spin remote, a remote control that is far from what we are used to, does not have any physical buttons and lets you control other devices in the house in addition to your TV. In this review we look at the Spin remote (SDC-1), a product from Dutch soil.

What is the Spin remote?

The Spin remote is a kind of rotary knob with which you can operate various devices in the house. The remote control comes without physical buttons, but instead you can program the movements you make with the device to perform certain actions. You can turn the remote control in different ways and in addition, the underside can be used as a touchpad and you can also set what they should do for the parts of this touchpad. Various sensors in the device register what you are doing and ensure that the movement is linked to a command that you have set yourself in the accompanying app. Thanks to a ring with LEDs, the Spin remote gives each profile (every device you want to operate) its own color. The Spin remote can be used in the Netherlands at Coolblue, among others can be bought for a price of 99 euros.

Spin remote: Design

The Spin remote looks particularly chic and sleek with a brushed aluminum finish and a beautiful ring with LEDs. It is a device that you can put on the table without getting in the way. The top has the Spin logo, which also lights up when you use the remote control. The device lies comfortably in the hand, both in shape and weight.

Spin remote

Installation and configuration

We have used various universal remote controls in the past, but nine out of ten times we immediately fell over the installation. Some things were not possible, or you had to have quite a bit of technical knowledge. However, that is a thing of the past with the Spin remote. The remote control is completely focused on ease of use; a child must be able to do the laundry and a child must be able to set and use the remote control.

The first step is to place the batteries in the Spin remote and download the Spin remote app for iOS or Android. Then turn on Bluetooth on your smartphone and start the app. Within a few seconds the Spin remote will be found (if it is nearby) and you can start with the configuration. The app is also very simplistic and sleek, without bells and whistles. No advanced options; the focus is on the profiles you can create for the different devices you want to operate. It is nice that you can find videos in the (small) menu about how to connect devices and set the profile for them.

Creating a profile is very easy, but before you do that it is good to know what the Spin remote is compatible with. The device has infrared transmitters that transmit the signal 360 degrees and can therefore operate all devices that work on infrared (take your TV or decoder). You can therefore link these devices. In addition, the developers of Spin offer remote integration with smart home devices. You are dependent on the devices they (want and can) support and at the moment they are Sonos, Philips Hue and LIFX. Nest will also be added to this range soon.

Please note; the Spin remote does not support RF signals. Some TVs and decoders (for example from Ziggo) work with a remote control that sends out signals via RF. These cannot be replaced by the Spin remote.

When you create a profile, for example for your TV or your Hue lamps, you first have the choice of a color (the color in which the LEDs of the Spin remote also change) and an icon (only visible in the app) . Then you choose a name for the profile and you can set the profile to your own liking. Please note; the developers of Spin remote determine which setting options you have per profile (infrared, Nest, Hue, etc.). For example, with infrared devices you can only change channels or determine the volume by turning the remote. The touchpad on the back can be used for further functions. For Hue lamps, you can only determine the light intensity and color, but you cannot choose a scene.

If you have created a profile, you can get started with setting every movement (rotation) that you can make with the Spin remote. The image below shows the options you have. Only the scroll function does not work at the moment (will be added later this year) and the swipe functions are limited in the possibilities for which you can use them. Presets have been created for the touchpad (for Sonos, Hue and infrared) that you must use. The touchpad will be released later this year so that you can attach other functions to parts of the touchpad yourself.

So, you choose a profile, choose a movement (or a touchpad action), select the function you want to link (lighting brightness, TV channel change, lighting color, music number, volume, etc.) and choose the device on which this function must be performed (infrared, Hue, Sonos, LIFX, etc). Then it depends on the device you have chosen which options you get. If you choose infrared, the Spin Remote has to learn which infrared signal should be sent. You do this by pressing and holding the button of the relevant function on the original remote control of the product, pointing at the Spin remote and thus teaching it which signal to send. If you have chosen Philips Hue, you can still select the lamps that must respond to this specific function.

Spin remote

It is quite a story, but without a manual or technical knowledge, the Spin Remote can be set up by anyone. It is just as good to see what options the Spin Remote offers you and which functions of the infrared devices you want to take over. For example – in addition to the function to change the channel by turning – we have put all menu functions of the KPN decoder on the touchpad. This way we can immediately call up the menu and navigate in it.

 Use of Spin remote 

The simple setting of the remote control and the various options that you get are of course ideal on paper. However, it all depends on the operation and convenience whether the device really invites to be used. Fortunately, the Spin remote is also a simple device in terms of use that is even fun to use.

Thanks to the integration of various sensors, the Spin remote knows exactly how to hold it and what movement you make. Not once is the movement not or badly registered. In the beginning, however, it was the case that we sometimes ‘overshot’ it when playing. For example, it was difficult to achieve the desired color of the Hue lamps or we shot a number of TV channels too far. Fortunately, there is the option in the app to adjust the sensitivity of the rotation which makes this problem go away. In addition, the remote provides solid and clear feedback thanks to vibrations. So you also feel what you are doing.

Spin remote

The Spin remote indicates which profile is activated by means of colors. For example, TV is green, and Philips Hue is orange. We also created Nest, but compatibility with the Nest will only be added later this year. You select the desired profile by tapping the logo on the top twice. You can then have assignments performed by means of various movements and rotations. In our case, turning the spider on the table is responsible for the brightness of the Hue lamp behind the sofa (orange) and changing the TV channel (green). If we turn the Spider upside down and turn it, we scroll through the colors of the Hue lamp behind the TV.

With the touchpad at the bottom (in the green TV profile) we enter the menu of the set-top box and can, for example, browse through the guide. In rare cases it is not possible to program a certain function on the Spin remote. Think especially of advanced functions of, for example, AV receivers. In such a case there is simply no button available and the function cannot be created. Incidentally, it is also a pity that the scroll function does not work yet. For now you have to rely on the arrow keys that you set on the touchpad. This touchpad does not have any instructions or descriptions, it is purely based on feeling and with what you have programmed in mind. Still, it would be nice if something lights up or appears here (a small display?) So that you know where left, right, middle, top and bottom for serving in each profile. Especially for people who have not programmed the app and want to do something, unfortunately it is haphazard touch and see where we end.

Devices respond nicely to the remote control, and thanks to the many infrared transmitters, it doesn’t really matter how you hold the device, the TV, the console or the set-top box reacts almost immediately. A downside that we have experienced is the bluetooth connection that regularly drops out or needs to be restored. However, this turns out to be a major drawback for iOS users, as we explain in a section later in this article. Incidentally, the bluetooth connection is only necessary when communicating with devices via the smartphone, which is the case with Philips Hue and Sonos, among others. It can also happen that the Spider is sometimes lost for a while, for example if you put it down too hard. Then the profile changes automatically and you have to tap twice again to find your desired profile.

But what do you do with several people in the house? You will encounter two problems here: firstly, you can set the Spin remote entirely to your own liking and since there is no description at all on the device itself, operation by someone else will not go smoothly (without clear instructions). In addition, some devices must be operated with the bluetooth connection, so that your smartphone must be present. The first problem can still be overcome by explaining to your girlfriend or another family member what the functions are, but the second problem can really only be solved by having other people in the house create their own profiles. When you are not at home, your girlfriend can connect your phone with Spin and ‘upload’ all her profiles automatically. This way Spin is immediately completely personal and configured according to your wishes.

The fact that the Spin remote does not have any ‘fixed’ function makes it possible to keep adjusting everything. If a certain rotation or movement does not work well for you, you put the function in question under a different movement. In this way you can keep playing in order to set the ideal effect for yourself. This also ensures that the developers of the Spin remote have a lot of freedom to add new functions and compatibility with multiple devices.

Android vs iOS

There is one more important part that we need to highlight. There is a difference between the operation of the Spin remote on iOS and Android. The way the operating systems work ensures that the Spin remote on Android has more ‘freedom’. The remote connects to your smartphone for certain devices (for example Philips Hue and Sonos) via Bluetooth. This connection must be active if you want to control the Hue lights. On an Android device, the connection is automatically maintained as the app continues to run in the background. If you switch off bluetooth for a while (during the time that you are away from home), then that connection is immediately restored on Android when bluetooth is switched on again and you are near the remote control. The app is also automatically started when your phone is restarted. So you don’t actually have to worry about it, provided you have bluetooth on. On iOS it is a different story because according to the developers of the Spin remote it is not possible to automatically restore the bluetooth connection when bluetooth is turned off, the range is lost or the app no ​​longer runs in the background. iOS users must therefore restart the app themselves, pair the remote and then use the remote again for the Hue lights. This only applies to devices for which a pairing via bluetooth must first be established between the remote and the smartphone. This is no problem for infrared and WiFi devices. provided you have bluetooth enabled. On iOS it is a different story because according to the developers of the Spin remote it is not possible to automatically restore the bluetooth connection when bluetooth is turned off, the range is lost or the app no ​​longer runs in the background. iOS users must therefore restart the app themselves, pair the remote and then use the remote again for the Hue lights. This only applies to devices for which a pairing via bluetooth must first be established between the remote and the smartphone. This is no problem for infrared and WiFi devices. provided you have bluetooth enabled. On iOS it is a different story because according to the developers of the Spin remote it is not possible to automatically restore the bluetooth connection when bluetooth is turned off, the range is lost or the app no ​​longer runs in the background. iOS users must therefore restart the app themselves, pair the remote and then use the remote again for the Hue lights. This only applies to devices for which a pairing via bluetooth must first be established between the remote and the smartphone. This is no problem for infrared and WiFi devices. the range is lost or the app is no longer running in the background. iOS users must therefore restart the app themselves, pair the remote and then use the remote again for the Hue lights. This only applies to devices for which a pairing via bluetooth must first be established between the remote and the smartphone. This is no problem for infrared and WiFi devices. the range is lost or the app is no longer running in the background. iOS users must therefore restart the app themselves, pair the remote and then use the remote again for the Hue lights. This only applies to devices for which a pairing via bluetooth must first be established between the remote and the smartphone. This is no problem for infrared and WiFi devices.

Depending on new developments

The spin remote has basically endless possibilities, but the product has only just been on the market and the compatibility with smart home equipment is not yet on your mind. The company indicates that it is working hard on support for multiple devices and adding extra functions (and unlocking, for example, the scroll function and fully personalizing the touchpad). In the short term, we can at least expect Nest so that you can regulate the temperature with the Spin remote. What we are really looking forward to, however, is the use of so-called routines, also called macros. This means that multiple functions are under one button. With one touch you can switch on the TV, the decoder and the speakers, for example. Especially since the audio from our TV sounds through external speakers, this is a welcome feature. There are plenty of options and the company says it still has many plans in the field of hardware. We are therefore not surprised if we see a second version of the Spin remote next year, perhaps with even more options and a touch display at the bottom.

Conclusion

All in all, we think the Spin remote (SDC-1) is a remote control that actually shows how to operate all your devices, different from what we are used to and with an appearance that does not mar the coffee table. The Spin remote is very easy to install and configure, offers a large number of useful functions, and also works smoothly and quickly. Memorizing all functions takes a bit longer than with a traditional remote control where everything is visible, but we got the hang of it quite quickly. If you have an advanced home cinema setup, you will miss some functions and possibilities, but for everyone else it is an ideal replacement for all those other remote controls. Nevertheless, we must also say that iOS users (like us) will probably be against having to connect manually via bluetooth. That is not a fault of the product, but a limitation of iOS. Since many smart home devices depend on this connection, this is something to consider in your purchase decision. There is definitely still room for improvement, with the addition of more smart home devices, the support of RF signals, the ‘unlock’ of the scroll function and the addition of a display on the touch surface at the bottom. But, what the Spin does remotely, it does well. Since many smart home devices depend on this connection, this is something to consider in your purchase decision. There is definitely still room for improvement, with the addition of more smart home devices, the support of RF signals, the ‘unlock’ of the scroll function and the addition of a display on the touch surface at the bottom. But, what the Spin does remotely, it does well. Since many smart home devices depend on this connection, this is something to consider in your purchase decision. There is definitely still room for improvement, with the addition of more smart home devices, the support of RF signals, the ‘unlock’ of the scroll function and the addition of a display on the touch surface at the bottom. But, what the Spin does remotely, it does well.

Pros

  • Chic and sleek design
  • Simple configuration
  • Simple to use 
Negatives

  • Display on touch surface is missing
  • Bluetooth connection on iOS is cumbersome
  • Other people must create their own profiles

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment