PS3IR-PRO - IR to Bluetooth remote control adapter review: PS3IR-PRO - IR to Bluetooth remote control adapter

The main purpose of the PS3IR-PRO is to offer a way to integrate all the functionality of Sony's Blu-ray remote to a standard universal remote. The PS3IR-PRO has access to all 51 remote buttons, so you can easily watch Blu-ray movies and perform all the standard functions, such as access the pop-up menu or skip chapters. Of course, some functions are obviously handled better by an actual game controller, such as browsing the Web or (obviously) gaming.

The PS3IR-PRO is powered via USB, which is convenient if your entertainment center has an always-on device, like a TiVo or cable box, with a powered USB port. If you don't have one of those devices, you can buy a USB power adapter, such as an iPod charger. The standard USB port on the back is definitely preferable to the ps3toothfairy's less-common power adapter, although we would have liked if at least a USB cable was included at this price. Note that you cannot use one of the PS3's USB ports, as they did not provide power when the PS3 is turned off.

Also on the back panel is a wired IR port, for custom installations. There's a RJ11 jack marked as an "expansion port," but it's currently unused.

The PS3IR-PRO is firmware upgradeable, which is important since it's possible that future firmware updates to the PS3 can cause the power off macro to break. Unfortunately, the instructions for upgrading the firmware aren't included or available on the standard Web site--you need to register to the forum to find it. That being said, upgrading is easy as connecting the PS3IR-PRO to a PC and dragging some files on it. As long as you trust Schmartz to keep up with the update, the PS3IR-PRO should be future-proof. The ps3toothfairy, on the other hand, can't be upgraded but offers the ability to program your own macros.

Like with all the IR-to-Bluetooth converters we've tested, performance was impressive. We were expecting some kind of lag as the boxes converted the signal, but using our Harmony 688 felt just as natural as using the PS3 controller. We also didn't run into any problems power cycling our PS3. To be clear, the PS3 lacks a discrete command for powering down, so turning the device off must be done using a macro programmed into the device--the same is true with all other IR-to-Bluetooth converters we've used.

Altogether, the PSIR-PRO is a solid product, but like most of these devices, it's pricey for what it offers. It lacks some of the user configuration options found on the ps3toothfairy, but some users may prefer to depend firmware updates from Schmartz in case a future PS3 firmware update causes problems. The IR2BTci does offer considerably more functionality, but it's overkill for the vast majority of users. The $20 Nyko Blu-Wave enables most of the basic controls except power on/off, and you're essentially paying $80 for the luxury of remotely turning on and off your PS3. But for die-hard activity-based universal remote fans, it may be a price worth paying.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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