A first timer’s look at Control4 and the new Neeo
My first control programming class was in the mid-2000’s. It was here that the joys of IR, 232, relay, and IP control was doled out. The knowledge was used to design, program, and deploy countless classrooms, conference rooms, and houses of worship. Never once did it occur to me to put a system into my home.
That’s not entirely true. It crossed my mind. The systems I worked with primarily were not wholly cost prohibitive, but they were a bit out of my price range. When Control4 sent out the newly imagined Neeo Remote it was the first time I considered a system for the house.
The system at my home is a step above most. There is a Pioneer head unit that acts as amplifier and HDMI switcher. The sources are Xbox, Apple TV, and BluRay player. These go through the Pioneer and into a Sharp TV. With those components you are looking at five remotes. It’s a system that the family has gotten used to yet complains about the complexity on the regular.
After talking with a local Control4 dealer friend, I purchased the Control4 EA-1. The EA-1 has four IR outputs, HDMI, IP, and Zigbee. There are no Zigbee devices in the system, so we’ll ignore that for now. If you were paying attention, I mentioned five devices to control but only four IR ports. We leveraged the IP control for the Sharp TV.
Thoughtful Integrations programmed the EA-1 but left me the Neeo to add to the system myself. Here’s where the simplicity of the Neeo remote and Control4 ecosystem come into play. I never once opened a graphics program to create an interface for the Neeo. The system automatically created and populated the controller. It was seamless.
In the past, it would have been an additional couple of hours as the graphics had to be created. There are some things that would have been nice to tweak on the Neeo but those are minor details compared to the ease and intuitiveness of interface that was created.
Adding Neeo to the system was simple. Following the prompts to connect the remote to the Wi-Fi, the device takes it from there. After Neeo was on the network it looked for a controller and communicated.
The Neeo is a hefty remote with an intuitive screen. The buttons are responsive and mostly in the right places. Again, there are minor adjustments I would have made but can’t argue too much. If you have a fully integrated audio, video, and lighting control system Neeo will populate those controls as well. We do not, as of yet, have those. You can populate “favorites” for television, radio, and audio/music channels to the room screen, and you can easily swipe between about as many favorites as you want. And the best thing is that me and my family can easily rearrange the favorites all on our own, no dealer required.
Overall, this is one of the best handheld remotes I have encountered. The weight gives it substance, so you understand you have the control of the entire house in your hand. The Neeo battery life is surprisingly long. We have kept it off the charger for over four days with no issues.
With ease of configuration, weight of controller, intuitive interface, and battery life, this is a formidable remote control. If you have a Control4 system this is the main remote you want for your living or family room. The Neeo will be the remote you use the most for the foreseeable future.