Nyko Intelligent Remote 360
Nyko's inexpensive Intelligent Remote 360 retails for $20--about 10 bucks less than Microsoft's Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote--and offers essentially the same button layout. As you might expect, however, there are some slight differences between the two. For starters, the Nyko is wider, and the DVD-transport buttons are above the more sprawling media playback buttons. Also, Start replaces the Media Center button, and 2 buttons have been added above and below the mute control (AV and Set, respectively), for a total of 46 buttons. Lastly, the backlight is weaker, and the buttons are gaudier, which unfortunately adds up to an uglier overall aesthetic. The Nyko remote measures 8.25 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 1 inch deep, and it weighs 5 ounces with two AAA batteries installed.
The Nyko Intelligent Remote 360's biggest selling point is its "smart" feature, which allows you to map functions learned from other remotes onto the 22 buttons on the bottom half of the clicker, as well as the power button on the top. In order for the remote to learn these functions, you have to place the original remote's infrared sensor about an inch from the Intelligent Remote's, and press the button you want the Nyko to learn. The process is imprecise, and you're never quite sure if the remote learned the command until you try it out. Also, some commands don't take that well--mapping one TV remote's volume up/down to the Intelligent Remote's volume up/down didn't produce the seamless volume increase and decrease you'd expect from a normal remote. Rather, the volume shot up sporadically five or six digits at a time. Furthermore, a learning remote without any sort of labeling system is pointless. Unless you have a crib sheet handy or are an expert in mnemonics, you're never going to remember the functions you mapped to anything except the power button and the volume and channel controls. Microsoft's Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote can't control two components, and the Nyko fails in trying to control even more.
When you combine the lackluster design of the product and the not-so-smart "smart" feature, the result is one of the more unnecessary accessories available for the Xbox 360. Unfortunately, if you want to step up to a true advanced universal remote that's designed for the Xbox 360, you'll have to pay a lot more for something along the lines of the Logitech Harmony Xbox 360 Universal remote. For roughly 10 bucks more, you're better off buying the official Microsoft remote, despite its flaws.