if you have somehow managed to acquire a mythical Playstation 5, perhaps using occult rituals or something, then you might also be eyeing up some of the official Sony accessories to go with your sleek new console. The charging dock and the Pulse headset are the obvious choices, but something a bit less obvious is the official Playstation 5 Media Remote that promises the be the ultimate in media control! Er, well, actually, it just promises to let you, “Conveniently navigate entertainment on your PlayStation®5 console with intuitive media and TV controls.” But is it actually any good at that? Let’s find out.
The remote is a sleek-looking piece of kit built to match the PS5’s black-and-white color scheme and its sweeping lines. It’s a bit light in the hand coming in at a few hundred grams and is fairly small, so it’s not the most luxury feeling item that Sony could have put out considering the £25 RRP, but it does look rather nice, although I’m not sure if the slight overhang on the bottom piece is a production mistake or meant to resemble the PS5’s side plates. For now, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it was meant to look like that and wasn’t just the result of Sony not caring.
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Getting the Media Remote connected to the PS5 is a complete doddle; just turn on the console, head to settings, and pick the option to set up the remote. Follow the instructions and Aunt Fanny is your uncle. If it doesn’t do it automatically then you might need to manually select your TV type and spend a few extra minutes fiddling around. There’s also the option to link the remote to your TV, which was my big reason for checking the remote out because the idea of using a single device for everything is very tempting. And that, my friends, is where the media remote fails. Sony had a chance to create a universal remote that could replace everything else, but it missed that chance.
The first thing I noticed was the lack of any way to swap inputs on the TV. I’m sure Sony would love to think that you’d never have anything other than a PlayStation 5 under your TV, but if you’re like me you might have other things hooked up to the TV than you need to swap between and there’s currently no way to do that with the Media Remote. Want to swap over to your Xbox, Switch, or Blu-ray player? Better dig out the TV remote again.
And while you can fully control your TV’s volume via the Media Remote, you can’t change the channel or access any menus, so once again you need to grab the TV remote to do any that. But at least you can power on and power off your TV using the media remote, so that’s nice, I guess.
So as a universal remote that you can use for your TV as well, the Media Remote kind of sucks.
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But even when used with the Playstation 5 itself the remote has some strange caveats, starting with the lack of sacred Playstation symbols. Launch the Now TV app, for example, and you need to press the triangle to bring up the search bar, except there is no triangle button on the remote. Hmm. You do, however, have directional keys and a select button for scrolling through the various PS5 menus, and the PS button itself is located on the bottom end of the remote. An interesting little touch is that when you power on the PlayStation using the PS button on the remote, it’ll automatically go to the media tab rather than the game tab.
When it comes to playing movies, the remote is good but again shows some strange flaws. You have the standard play/pause and fast-forward buttons, although there’s no button for skipping chapters. There are also no dedicated buttons for subtitles or bringing up the menu, either. I do, however, appreciate the fact that you can eject the disc in your console using two button pushes, so that’s quite nice. Now if only there was a power on/off button for the console itself.
The remote takes two double-A batteries which get slotted into the slightly awkward compartment on the bottom of the device. To access this little bugger you need to use a fingernail to push in a little button which lets the cover pop off. I don’t know why Sony didn’t opt for a standard sliding cover because this method feels weirdly overdesigned.
On the hand, the whole thing feels quite nice to hold. It fits neatly into the hand, the gentle curve of its bottom (stop snigger) settling into your palm. And as a bonus, the rounded arse means the Media Remote can spin really well, in a case like having something to do with your hands. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is truly a feature that makes the remote worth its £25 asking price. All the buttons have a slight click when pressed and feel great to press unlike the buttons on other remotes that can be rather squishy like you’re gently prodding at a jellyfish.