The 10 Best Android TV Remotes
This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in November of 2017. So you've decided to ditch that expensive cable or satellite provider in favor of Android TV. About time. You can enhance your user experience with one of these convenient remotes, which are designed to help you get the most out of today's streaming technology. Some come with motion sensors to control mouse movement, while others feature complete keyboards for easier typing. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 20, 2020:
This is a category where it can be tough to nail down the best option for your situation, as specs and needs run a wide gamut. The last thing you want if you're looking for something simple is an option overwrought with complicated settings, while those who crave myriad features don't want a unit that comes up short. That's why you'll find extremely straightforward models like the ProBox2 Remote+ alongside advanced ones like the Logitech Harmony Companion with choices like the Inteset INT-422, Ilebygo MX3, and Minix Neo A2 Lite falling in between. We kept the Sony TX300U around despite not being compatible with streaming boxes, as it's supported by myriad smart TVs, is very easy to use, and rarely needs a battery change. It also feels good in the hand thanks to a grippy soft rubber coating.
We should note that the Logitech Harmony Companion is a godsend for those who can configure it, but if you're not interested in putting in some serious time and effort to get it right, it's probably worth passing over. Those with diverse home entertainment systems who want to be able to do things like dim the lights or change the thermostat will appreciate its wide range of functionalities. But one of the biggest pain points with this unit is the app, which many find frustrating and hard to navigate. With these types of glaring issues, we felt the need to pull the Logitech Harmony Elite, as it's equally as frustrating, extremely expensive, and likely overkill for most people's needs.
When the Linkstyle FlyMouse 456 became available, we wanted to replace it with an equally intuitive and straightforward option with the Rii Fly Multifunction, which is easy to set up, has a low price tag, boasts a keyboard and IR learning, and more. We brought on the Backlit REIIE H9+ for those who want an affordable device with a smart design and versatile capabilities. You'll also notice the ANewKodi Mini got a design refresh that gives it a cleaner look with the same useful functionalities.
June 12, 2019:
There are a lot of different directions you can go in for remote control of your Android TV system. Some are extremely simple, like the ProBox2, which is a great air mouse and a good choice if you aren't too concerned with text entry. The Minix is similarly effective at mid-air pointing, plus it has a keyboard on the rear to make it easier to search for your favorite programs. The Ilebygo and Linkstyle take that same concept and add many of the buttons that you'd find on a traditional remote. Speaking of traditional remotes, the Inteset is very much like one, in that it uses IR waves to communicate, and only IR waves. If you have multiple streaming devices, it's a worthwhile consideration, but only if all those devices have built-in IR blasters. It may, on the other hand, work with aftermarket IR receivers which aren't too expensive and can be found in USB-enabled versions.
Then there are a few more focus-built options. The ANewKodi has a keyboard on the top and makes a decent gaming controller thanks to its convenient layout, though it doesn't function as an air mouse. The Sony is built specifically for Sony televisions, and as such, it's likely to not work with TV boxes that use the open-source Android TV platform. If you know you'll be typing a lot, check out the Arteck, which is much like a full-size keyboard and has an attached touchpad as well.
Finally, the Logitech Harmony models are both far more than simple TV remotes. They're all-in-one solutions that come with a smart home hub and can access an impressive amount of smart devices. They're a bit more complex to set up than most, but they're frequently updated to support more and more third-party streaming boxes. They're also considerably more expensive than the average TV remote.
Kodi Kore Smartphone App Kodi is the most commonly used streaming platform, and due to its software-based nature, it doesn't always dovetail perfectly with aftermarket remote controls. Some users find that this official app offers increased control over their media centers, though it's not likely to completely replace a physical remote, especially if you stream using any other services. As always when using Kodi, make sure to only access legal streams, because piracy is a crime. play.google.com
Who Needs Google, Anyway?
They've changed the way apps are distributed among users and even how professionals are hired in Silicon Valley.
The concept of data as property is a relatively new one, and the world's leading shareholder of that data is, almost inarguably, Google. Far from creating a frightening New World Order, however, the company has shown the world what can happen when computers, machine learning, and powerful software can benefit everyday life. They've changed the way apps are distributed among users and even how professionals are hired in Silicon Valley. And just like many of Google's contributions, their method of software release and licensing has been a lesson in effective collaboration, as evidenced by the prevalence of Android TV.
In the beginning, there was (Apple) Macintosh, until Microsoft Windows came along and spent most of the 1990s building a practical monopoly on the software industry. All the while, the sneaky, clever, resourceful operating system known as Linux continued to flourish, but under the radar rather than through any claims to a significant market share. Arguably the most important moment in the history of the power-user-oriented Linux kernel occurred when Google transformed it from relatively esoteric to incredibly user-friendly, by streamlining and re-purposing the kernel's underlying code to run on the RISC-based smartphones that had suddenly exploded in popularity in the early 21st century.
So was born Android, which is now the most popular operating system in the world, and will almost certainly remain so until Google replaces it with its next evolution.
Which Robot Is Which?
Google has quite a few pots on the stove, so to speak, and in fact, Android itself isn't even one single product. It's based on Linux, and its big brother Chrome OS is built with a focus on the slightly more powerful hardware found in tablets and Chromebooks. When it comes to entertainment purposes, there are two iterations of the Android code on the radar. Developed, licensed, and locked down by Google is an OS specifically called Android TV. This proprietary system is offered on very few standalone boxes, but it's very often found on new smart TVs. Like the smartphone OS, it receives periodic updates that keep it up-to-date with the most recent data delivery methods and audiovisual codecs. Therefore, the devices that do use Android TV tend to work efficiently and with very little hassle. On the other hand, those same devices tend to be slightly more expensive, and generally aren't as customizable.
Google has quite a few pots on the stove, so to speak, and in fact, Android itself isn't even one single product.
The Android Open Source Project is among Google's most important contributions, and it's enabled the glut of available streaming boxes. The AOSP is a repository of the software's basic underpinnings, made publicly available for anyone to modify for their own purposes. We've seen a nearly unlimited number of uses for this extremely small-footprint instruction set, and one of the most popular such applications is with these new, multipurpose streaming boxes.
There are a few differences that make the two categories more useful for certain types of consumers. Officially licensed Android TV units definitely have more up-to-date software and firmware support, and some users report that their hardware is more reliable. On the other hand, open-source models receive frequent hardware updates, so it's more likely to find one suited to running the latest OS version without lagging. The open-source-derived models also tend to be less expensive due to their lack of licensing costs as well as a more competitive market.
A New Kind Of Clicker
Standalone boxes are small and usually pretty affordable. Inside, they have some mixture of a low-power chipset and a small amount of RAM. They tend to include internal flash storage, although it's generally not very spacious. And, of course, they all contain a variety of A/V connectors. But, considering that it's virtually impossible to find a new television that doesn't include smart technology, most consumers will run into the powerful Android TV suite on a high-tech, 4K display.
If you plan on searching through streaming services often, for example, you'll likely want to consider one with a full QWERTY keyboard.
And while the TV remote itself is far from a new invention, it was originally designed to flip channels, and that's just about it. The first clickers were certainly not intended for navigating several decades worth of blockbusters and bombs. Many Android TV boxes feature USB ports, and a handful of USB and wireless keyboards work with Android, as well. Anyone who uses their smart TV or Android box to do more than just stream might want to consider a full-size keyboard and mouse set. If you plan on searching through streaming services often, for example, you'll likely want to consider one with a full QWERTY keyboard. And one of the most convenient aspects of a remote is the simple ability to play, pause, fast forward, or make similar straightforward commands to your entertainment center. Surprisingly, not all models offer this basic functionality, so make sure that the one you're looking at does.
Android TV remotes communicate using either infrared waves or the Bluetooth protocol. They're almost all powered by one or two AAA batteries, and some have miniature touchpads or gyroscopic, mid-air mice. You shouldn't have to spend a whole ton of cash on one. If you're using an AOSP or Kodi box, make certain that the remote you choose is compatible with your particular version of Android, as many units don't play very nicely with Android updates. Whether you want sleek, two-button theater control, or in-depth audiovisual configuration options at your fingertips, there's a remote for you.
One important concern is that of copyrighted material; just because a stream is readily available on the internet, it's not necessarily legal and properly licensed, especially if it's sourced from an international or small-time streaming site. ISPs will sometimes monitor and restrict access to the most notorious streaming sites, and attempts to bypass those restrictions may well result in a warning letter from your service provider. Be certain to comply with all copyright laws that apply to your region, keep your software updated, and keep your passwords secret, and you should enjoy many hours of streaming entertainment in the comfort of your own home.