While the Ri Universal Remote (US$29.99) isn't the first IR remote-control adaptor/dongle for iDevices we've encountered, it's certainly one of the simplest. Plug it into the headphone jack (making sure the volume is cranked), load the free app, then select the target device(s) and…hey presto! No codes to enter — they've done all the gruntwork ahead of time.
The Ri works exactly as advertised. Our only concern is the app itself, which is a fairly basic, one-device-at-a-time interface. It's not terrible, but when you have multiple TV's, cable boxes, DVD/Blu Ray players, etc., turning them on one at a time isn't fun. In fact, it's not that far removed from juggling numerous remote controls — which is why you bought the damn Ri in the first place! We'd like to see an app upgrade that lets you "chain" or "stack" a series of multi-device commands, macro-style, so one push of a button will turn on all your home entertainment units, or just the ones you need at the moment. When that happens, the Ri will be a serious contender.
Check out our hands-on review below: