I love gadgets and I love accessories almost as much. When I buy a new mobile phone, for example, I would just have to buy a leather case to go with it. And maybe an SD card to expand storage. But, I have to admit, that quite often, the accessories I buy end up being forgotten once the novelty wears off. There are very few accessories that are genuinely and lastingly useful. Such an accessory is the Sideclick.
The makers of Sideclick describes it as a “universal remote attachment”. It snaps onto the remote control of your streaming remote, converting the combined units into a universal remote to control your TV and other devices in addition to your streaming device. Different versions are available for different streaming devices including Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Prime.
From three to one
Before I bought a Sideclick, I was using three remote controls: Roku, TV and soundbar. It was a hassle switching between the three remotes and I considered buying a dedicated universal remote control. I did a lot of research and in the end I came to the conclusion that there was no guarantee that the universal remote I chose would work with my particular TV and soundbar. I had tried to program universal remotes to work with my TVs many times in the past, only to find that none of the source codes provided would work. Plus, streaming devices were relatively new inventions and only the newest universal remotes were compatible with them (and they were, more often than not, expensive).
And then I stumbled upon the Sideclick. It seemed to be the solution that I was looking for, even though at £23 on Amazon, it cost almost as much as my Roku device. From the marketing blurb, it seemed guaranteed to work with my set-up. I would still be using my Roku remote; I would be merely extending its capabilities by attaching a “clip” with programmable buttons to control my TV and soundbar. The Sideclick buttons are programmed using IR learning technology with the aid of the current remotes of the devices that I would like to control, and not using source codes as with most universal remotes.
Easy and fool-proof set up
When my Sideclick was delivered, it came with four different adapter clips for the different versions of Roku. They weren’t labelled but it was quick enough to find the right one for my particular Roku by trial and error. Two AAA batteries were provided and these I inserted into the Sideclick remote. To program the Sideclick buttons, I needed the original remote controls of the devices I was trying to pair the Sideclick with. This is both its greatest strength and weakness. On the one hand, the pairing is almost guaranteed to work unlike with more traditional universal remotes that require source codes to be entered into them. On the other hand, I would have been stuck if I did not have the original remotes of my TV and soundbar.
Here are the official instructions for programming Sideclick:
1) Position the Sideclick Remote and the device remote you are learning from on flat surface, head to head, approximately 1 inch apart.
2) On Sideclick Remote, hold down the top (Power) button and bottom (B) button at the same time until the LED lights solid.
3) Tap the Sideclick button you wish to program. The LED will start blinking.
4) Tap the button you want it to learn from on your device remote.
a) The LED will blink 3 times indicating a successful learn, then will return to solid indicating you are ready to program other buttons. b) If the LED does not return to solid, a problem in programming has occurred. Exit programming mode via step 6 and try again.
5) While LED is on solid, repeat steps 3 & 4 for each button you would like to program.
6) To exit programming mode, simultaneously tap the top (Power) button and bottom (B) button on Sideclick and the LED will turn off. You can also wait approximately 10 seconds and Sideclick will exit programming mode automatically.
The Sideclick has eight programmable buttons. Six of them have familiar icons (such as the on/off symbol and the + and – symbols for volume controls) and the other two are simply labelled A and B. But the icons are merely suggestions. In reality, all the buttons can be programmed to perform any function to suit your needs. So, for example, the button with the + icon does not have to be the button to increase the volume – it could be programmed to be the “Exit” button.
With my combined Roku/Sideclick remote, rarely do I need to use the TV and soundbar remotes. For most of the time, the Roku/Sideclick remote is all I need which makes my TV viewing a lot more enjoyable. It took a little while to get used to my Roku remote with the Sideclick attached to it (for it made it considerably wider) but once I was used to it, it worked flawlessly. I would not want to go back to juggling three remotes again.
Sideclick does what it says on the tin: it does away with multiple remotes easily and painlessly. Some would say it’s a bit on the expensive side, but it is an accessory that you will use every day, and once you’ve used it, you’ll wonder how you ever coped without one.