Samsung TV remotes are solar-powered for 2021 Neo QLED models

A solar cell on the back lets them recharge using indoor (and outdoor) light. Don't worry, there's a USB-C charging port too.

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
David Katzmaier
2 min read

The back of Samsung's new TV remote has a solar cell that lets the battery recharge using interior light.


Just about every TV remote uses batteries and they generally last a long time, but eventually you will need to replace them. In a nod to sustainability in its 2021 TVs -- and, let's face it, to utter coolness -- Samsung put rechargeable batteries and a solar cell into the remotes of its best Neo QLED TVs.

The cell is sensitive enough to recharge the clicker with the basic indoor lights in your house. The remote also has a standard USB-C port on the bottom that you can plug into any charger. Samsung says the batteries last a full year before needing to be recharged.

Watch this: Samsung's solar-charged remote made from recycled plastic

Samsung sells a lot of TVs and it estimates moving to rechargeable batteries will save 20 million single-use, AAA batteries from ending up in the garbage, the equivalent of 200 tons of waste.

The new clicker is also "made from recycled material," according to Samsung. It will be available in all new Neo QLED TVs for 2021, but the company didn't confirm which lower-end models ("base QLED"), if any, would receive it. It expects to have those details in 4-8 weeks.

Read more: Samsung The Frame TV slims down to mimic a painting on the wall

In another environmental-friendly move, Samsung says it's changing all of its TV boxes to so-called "eco packaging," first introduced in select 2020 televisions like The Serif. The main difference is that the cardboard has fewer images printed on it, which "greatly reduces" the amount of ink used in the manufacturing process (take it from me, TV boxes are big). The company will also encourage users to "upcycle" the boxes into something else, like, you know, a cat house. 


Seen here with a 2020 Serif TV box, all of Samsung's 2021 TV boxes will use less ink for printing and be "upcycle"-friendly.