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Gadgets

One for All Kameleon 8: Glow-in-the-dark remote control

Meet the One for All Kameleon 8, a beast of a universal remote that you'll either love or want to cast into a nearby lake

Crave generally applauds the idea of the universal remote control. We have far too many remotes, all with different sizes, shapes and aesthetics. Wouldn't it be nice if the functions carried out by these remotes could be seamlessly merged into one device? It would cut down on clutter as well as save us a fortune in batteries. Sadly, our experience of universal remotes doesn't match the utopian ideal, but here comes another challenger...

One for All has been in the universal remote game longer than most, so when it sent us the Kameleon 8 we were eager to take it in hand. This remote costs about £60, which is quite a large chunk of dosh for a universal remote. We've looked at a Logitech Harmony 525 before, and you can get that for about £50 online.

The look of the Kameleon is quite bold. It's made of real metal, rather than shiny plastic, and has a pleasing curvature on the back that makes it look like someone actually spent some time designing it, as well as giving the batteries somewhere nice to live.

We turned the remote on by touching the screen and were irritated to see it flashing on and off constantly. Annoyingly, we were clearly going to have to pick up the manual in order to stand a chance of getting it up and running. Once we had consulted the enormous multi-language tome, we learnt that the remote was flashing becuase it was in demo mode. Some frantic random button pressing did yield results -- soon enough we had our Toshiba LCD TV programmed into the remote.

The electro-luminescent screen is quite pretty to look at. At its maximum brightness it's clear and easy to read. However, it feels a bit of a cheat -- it's not really touch-sensitive, and sometimes you can press what you think is a button, and discover that it isn't. This is a drag and makes everything take longer than it should. Programming is also a hassle. We expect there to be an easier way to programme in your devices without punching in multiple four-digit codes.

The Kameleon 8 does eventually work and it's got some bold styling, which you'll either love or hate. It feels well built -- so well built, in fact, that you could probably use it as an offensive weapon. If you like the look of it and have lots of money then this remote does the job, but prepare for some tedium as you set the thing up. -IM