The Worst 5 Gadgets: #1 One For All URC-9900 Remote Control

Good times
  • It was cheap, at around £30
Bad times
  • Atrocious battery life ...
  • ... compounded by using AAA batteries and no recharge cradle
  • So big that you could not hold it in one hand
  • Did I mention it came in a lovely gold colour?
What I should have bought
  • Nothing at all, really - is there any good universal remote control?
Some things are just not worth spending your money on no matter how cheap they are. And so it was with the One For All URC-9900 Director (Mosaic), to give it its full name. I picked it up from Richer Sounds in the UK on special at about £30. I am pretty sure it sold for well in excess of £100 when it was first introduced. The poor bastards who sprang that money ...

At such a bargain basement price, I did not expect it to do much. But one thing I did expect it to do was to last at least a month on a charge. No hope of that, then. As best I recall I was charging batteries every week on this puppy. If it had a recharging cradle this would not be such a problem. I might not even notice it at all, so long as I were diligent in replacing the unit in its non-existent cradle. But requiring AAA batteries to be charged up and ready to go made the situation untenable, really.

The URC-9900 is also huge: fat, heavy and just plain old large. My girlfriend of the time really struggled with this size. For me, it was just awkward. Aesthetically, my greatest concern is that it came in a garish gold.

You will notice that I have not mentioned functionality once. The URC-9900 was ok as far as universal remote controls go. But having played around with a few universal remotes now, I can't help but think that they are almost always less convenient than running separate remotes. Which is a shame because running separate remotes is not convenient at all.

The best five gadgets
  1. iPhone 4 smartphone
  2. Sagem PVR6240T PVR (as buggy as it is ...)
  3. Logitech diNovo Mini miniature QWERTY keyboard
  4. Logitech X-230 speakers
  5. Lacie iamaKey USB memory key
The worst five gadgets
  1. One For All URC-9900 Director (Mosaic) universal remote control
  2. Nokia N800 internet tablet
  3. Sony Playstation 3 (slim) games console
  4. Asus EeeBox PC EB1501 nettop
  5. Aliph Jawbone bluetooth headset