The One For All Kameleon 6 Hybrid is a six-device universal remote that incorporates both hard buttons and an electroluminescent touch pad. The hard buttons control more common remote functions such as channel and volume changing, while the touch pad's softer buttons handle more advanced options such as device selection, video searching, and audio track skipping. The touch pad takes up the top third of the remote and is made of a cool-looking blue gel material that is activated when you press any hard button. But while its milky gray, electroluminescent icons and labels are fun to look at, they suffer from a lack of customizability that hinders the overall effectiveness of the remote's hybrid design.
The keypad's bright, white-on-blue presentation is easily visible in the dark but fades a bit when the lights are on. To save battery life, it'll shut down after 8 seconds of inactivity, returning to a solid blue state until a hard button is pressed. It also includes six device mode icons, which call up related contextual function buttons when pressed. For instance, pushing the TV Device mode icon activates PIP, Swap, and Move labels over the soft buttons on the lower half of the touch pad. Hard buttons include four-way and numeric keypads, the aforementioned volume and channel controls, and more than a dozen other buttons; they're well shaped and easy to find in the dark, though aesthetically they might have benefited from a backlight to match the touch pad's glow.
The One For All Kameleon 6 Hybrid isn't as versatile as some remote controls; its master power button can store a system power macro, but the remote has only one general-purpose programmable macro key. Unlike higher-end Kameleon remotes, the Kameleon 6 Hybrid doesn't have a home-theater mode to automatically control the primary features of multiple devices without changing to an entirely different mode setting. Instead, you have to use the Kameleon 6 Hybrid's key-mover function to individually map keys from one mode to another. For instance, you can configure the remote's channel function to control your cable box even when the remote is in audio mode. But because the remote control's button labels and icons aren't customizable, you'll have to remember where you've stored the remapped functions.
The Kameleon 6 hybrid can either learn commands from other remotes or operate according to the programming codes listed in its manual. Setup is straightforward, but we spent nearly an hour on the task, as you might expect with any remote that's not Web-programmable. Unlike the($89) and the ($129) models, the 6 Hybrid doesn't have an acoustic modem to enable downloading new device codes from tech support. However, new codes can be entered manually.
In our tests, the remote control worked as advertised, successfully controlling an entire system comprising a home theater in a box (HTIB), an HDTV, and a cable box/DVR. Within a range of approximately 10 feet, the remote could operate our gear without being pointed directly at it. From 10 to 20 feet, the remote had to be pointed more or less straight at the gear. As with all infrared (IR) remotes, the Kameleon 6 Hybrid is capable of controlling only components that are within its line of sight.
In the final analysis, the One For All Kameleon 6 Hybrid is an average remote with a unique look and feel. But considering its price--$49 list, less online--it's a good option for bedroom systems and simple home theaters.