What's Hot: Nifty tool, quite easy to use, works with most Bluetooth devices.
What's Not: Limited usefulness.
Reviewed by Tong Zhang
The Motorola Smart Controller is a very unique product that gives you remote control capabilities for your smartphones and tablets. It's most useful when you have devices hooked up to your TV as you can use the Smart Controllers to operate your smartphone or tablet while it's sitting in a dock. The controller can not only launch apps for playing movies and music, or viewing photos, but also it can perform functions a real mouse and a touchpad can. When working with your smartphone, the Smart Controller can also pick up incoming calls or voice dialing outgoing ones. It has built-in Bluetooth, and while it works smoothly with all recent Motorola smartphones and all Motorola Xoom and XYBoard tablets, it works with most Bluetooth devices with Hands-Free, Headset and HID profiles.
The Motorola Smart Controller is a Bluetooth device that's light and has a slight curve for better ergonomics as a remote control and a call receiver. It's about the size of a wireless mouse but a lot thinner than most mice measuring 4.5 x 2.2 x 0.35 inches and weighs 2.2 ounces. The remote control offers four built-in Android hardware buttons including Menu, Home, Back and Search, all working well on both Android smartphones and tablets. The Smart Controller also has a call button the back and you can use to answer incoming call or voice dial when it's connected to your phone. The earpiece lives on the back of the remote and the mic lives on the bottom near the back as well.
The Motorola Smart Controller has a power on/off button on the top, handy for saving battery life when you aren't using it. The smart controller has a small but bright LED light on the bottom to indicate pairing status, battery and charging status as well as incoming call notifications. The charging port also lives on the bottom while Volume buttons and Mute button live on the side of the Smart Control. The device has a matted surface not only in the touchpad area but below it as well. It's easy to handle and not slippery in hand.
The Motorola Smart Controller is essentially a remote mouse/touchpad/receiver all in one. When controlling a smartphone or a tablet, the capacitive touchpad works as if you are using the phone or tablet's screen. You can pinch zoom, slide screens, scrolling pages, and rotate photo orientations with two finger gesture controls. We found in our tests that the speeds of gesture controls varied from device to device, though generally didn't take you a long time to get used to it. Start slow with your gesture swiping motions until you find the right speed when sliding home screens. Pinch-zooming and page scrolling however worked as if you were using the touch screens.
When you switch to one finger control, the Motorola Smart Controller turns into a wireless mouse. You will see a mouse cursor on your phone or tablet's screen and can launch apps, select items/text, drag items and just about anything else a mouse or a finger can do, including unlock the screen, with the Motorola Smart Controller. The mouse control might not be that useful when you are using your phone or tablet, but if you have your phone or tablet connected to your HDTV via a dock, the mouse control can come in very handy for operating your device without having to take it out of the dock.
The more smartphone-centric function of the Motorola Smart Controller is that it can act like a Bluetooth headset. It supports both Hands-Free and Headset profile, but it doesn't support stereo A2DP. When the Motorola Smart Controller is paired with your smartphone, it will buzz (vibrate) when a call comes in on your phone. You can use the Motorola Smart Controller to answer incoming calls. You can also use the Smart Controller to perform voice command for initiating a call, sending a text, voicing a search and more. It also works with apps such as Vlingo for Android. Since the shape of the controller is similar to a phone, it's comfortable to use for phone calls.
The Motorola Smart Controller has built-in Bluetooth and works with your smartphone or tablet via HID profile. Although Motorola lists recent smartphones and tablets, the Motorola Smart Controller works with a lot more Bluetooth devices. We even tested with other brand devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, it worked just as well as with Motorola Xoom and XYBoard devices. If you are using Android 3.2 Honeycomb tablets or later, you can even adjust the pointer speed. The Motorola Smart Controller paired with all devices in our test easily. When you turn on the controller for the first time, it will go into pairing mode automatically. For subsequent pairing, turn off the controller, then press the Call button along with the Volume + button together until the LED light turns blue. The Motorola Smart Controller pairs with multiple devices and automatically remembers pairing partners when one of them is turned on.
The Motorola Smart Controller RZ100 has a built-in Lithium battery that's rechargeable. The package includes a short USB charging cable that you can use with your phone's charger or computer to recharge the controller. The power on/off button is the most convenience when you are done for the night and turn off the controller to conserve battery, and the Bluetooth connection establishes quite fast with previously connected device after you turn the controller back on. The built-in battery can last a few weeks with moderate use and power turned off over night; and it takes 2-3 of hours to fully charge using smartphone's AC adapter.
The Motorola Smart Controller is the best companion when your smartphone or tablet is working with a multimedia dock. While it might encourage "couch potatoes" to keep their comfortable sitting position, the Smart Controller comes in very handy when you have your device docked and connected to the TV, and you need to launch apps and move screens. And it can pick up calls in a pinch. The device works surprisingly well as a touchpad and mouse, especially the gesture controls. If you can find the use for it, the Motorola Smart Controller will certainly not disappoint.