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The new generation of consoles are more than just game machines. That is something I emphasized when I reviewed the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Both of those devices are excellent for playing the latest games, but they also serve as great experiences for consuming video content through streaming services. But using a gamepad to navigate Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu isn’t ideal. A controller is clumsy, doesn’t have dedicated media-function buttons, and tends to have relatively short battery life. That is where 8BitDo comes in with the 8BitDo Media Remote for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S.
The 8BitDo Media Remote is actually two different devices. You can get it in the $20 Short Edition or $25 Long Edition flavors now. The Long Edition has a few more buttons including a full number pad. But in practice, both remotes have most of the key functions covered.
With an 8BitDo Media Remote you can control your entire media center using the Xbox’s HDMI-CEC (consumer electronics control). That capability enables you to turn your TV and Xbox on with the press of the Xbox button. You can also adjust the volume of your TV, soundbar, or surround sound system. Everything in the chain will also need to support HDMI-CEC, but most modern devices do.
This means that functionality-wise, the 8BitDo Media Remote can do everything you want. So then it just comes down to whether or not the remote itself is nice to use.
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Both the long and short versions are fantastic. They have motion-activated backlights, which is a quality-of-life feature that I really appreciate. They also have full A, B, X, and Y face buttons. That is important because some video apps assume you are using an Xbox gamepad. I also really like the layout — although I wish the directional pad was slightly raised. It does have tiny bumps to help you get your bearing, but my thumb had trouble finding those.
Between the long and short version, I prefer the shorter, $20 model. I don’t need to punch in channel numbers or exact Blu-ray timecodes, and I think the size and shape of the smaller, white remote is easier to navigate.
But either way, I recommend getting a remote for your console if you use the video apps. They often work better and faster than the apps built into your smart TV, so unlock the power of that $300-to-$500 console. And 8BitDo’s Media Remote is a great option.
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