Ray touchscreen remote review: Plenty of promise, but no Harmony

TV Accessories
What you're looking at is not a really thick phone with a small screen. It can't make calls or play music or snap chat. The main thing it can do is control your TV and home entertainment gear. This is the Ray Super Remote, and it competes directly against devices like our favorite universal remote, the harmony home control. The first difference, beyond the design, between Harmony and Ray is Ray's easier setup. You don't need to use a phone app to get it to control your gear. Instead, everything happens on the screen. I appreciated the helpful hints and simple language. Another difference is that you'll need to keep Ray in its cradle because just like a phone the battery will run out relatively quickly. It lasted a few days of normal use but rapidly recharged, which is better than a phone but much worse than the Harmony, which lasts a year. A bigger deal in my testing turned out to be Ray's lack of a hub. With Harmony the remote itself doesn't send a signal that turns on your gear. Instead the little hub does it, which is much more reliable, especially if you're stuff is inside a cabinet. With Ray you have to aim the remote at your gear just like a standard remote. Trust me, once you go hub, it's tough to go back. I also prefer physical buttons to Ray's onscreen keys. They're easier to use by feel, and although Ray does have a swipe interface for menu navigation, it's not as efficient as buttons. Ray's screen does allow one extra feature Harmony can't match. You can browse TV shows and movies on the screen itself. And tune to them directly with a tap. Unfortunately, it doesn't allow you to easily record an upcoming show on your DVR. For that, you'll need to use the on screen menu's. The final knock against Ray's price, this clicker costs 250 bucks, about twice as much as a Harmony Home Control and it's just not worth it to most people. Ray has promised that the Harmony is simply better for now. I'm David Katzmeyer for CNET

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