One for All Kameleon 6
- Kameleon technology is a clever idea
- Limited programmability
The Kameleon represents a classic case of gimmicks and futuristic looks taking precedence over functionality
Price$ 199.99 (AUD)
It's the year 1985. Designers are imagining what the products of the future will look like.
DESIGNER 1: "By the year 2006 everyone will be using flying cars, so obviously everything needs to be shiny - really shiny. In fact, not just shiny, but silvery chrome - that's what the future looks like"
DESIGNER 2: "No, no, no. In the future everything will need to glow. Due to the nuclear holocaust of 2005 we will have no sunlight, so everyone will need products that emit an eerie green glow, just like in Alien and Star Trek."
DESIGNER 3: "What's with the shiny stuff? Glowing? That's so last year. In the future everything will be touch sensitive and upgradeable over the Internet"
DESIGNER 1: "What's the Internet?"
OK, so the future might not have panned out like this, but One For All's designers clearly had the same futuristic vision when it came to the Kameleon remote control. It's finished in shiny chrome, it has lots of glowing green buttons and it looks as if it's about to fly round the room shooting laser beams. Alas, it is only a remote control, but if you were ten years old, it would be "The Coolest Remote Control Ever." In fact, you don't need to be ten - just ask us.
The Kameleon 6 in 1 remote control is designed to control up to 6 devices (the clue is in the name) including TVs, DVD players, CD players and other gadgets. One For All has implemented a plethora of useful ways to teach the Kameleon which devices you use. Firstly, there is an included list of manufacturers and if your manufacturer is on the list, you simply type in the code and that's it. Too easy. Should your manufacturer not be listed, next you can try the search function. This rather laborious procedure involves manually scanning through every possible combination that might work for the product. It is just a matter of pressing one button repeatedly, but once you've pressed the button 150 times it gets a little tiring. If that doesn't work, you can use One For All's ingenious online update tool, which allows you to select from a list of obscure manufacturers. Once you have selected the correct manufacturer you can blare some awful static-sounding noise from your computer to the Kameleon, which being from the future, understands such sounds to be a cunningly encoded language of instructions. Should everything fail you can then use the Kameleon to learn directly from your other remote controls.
One For All's ingenuity does not end there. To avoid having dozens of useless buttons displayed simultaneously on the remote, the Kameleon only displays the buttons that are relevant to the product you are using. This means that the button labels appear and disappear depending on whether you're watching TV or listening to a CD, hence the Kameleon name. This is a clever idea, however it isn't without fault. Rather than using expensive LCD technology, the Kameleon merely lights up different sections of the keypad. This means you are stuck with whichever buttons the designers wanted to include. Should something be missing, tough luck. There are a few blank programmable keys, but with labels such as "A" or "green" you'll need to have a good memory to remember what you've programmed in. Technophiles will also find that there isn't enough room for all their devices. Six isn't that many, especially when you may not have the specific six types of device supported.
Other than these problems we found the Kameleon relatively easy to use. The buttons are responsive and easy to read, though the centre keys do have an awful plasticky feel. Programming the remote is fairly easy and macro functions, enabling a sequence of commands to be executed, are supported too. The Kameleon isn't going to appeal to everyone though. Its limited programmability will turn off hardcore enthusiasts but amateur users will find it easy to use and reasonably priced. The Kameleon 6 may not be the most fully featured remote control we've tested but it certainly stands out from the crowd.
Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.
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