Sideclick is a minimalistic remote attachment that turns your Fire TV voice remote or Fire TV Stick non-voice remote into a universal remote. It clips onto the left side of your remote and provides a column of eight programmable buttons that can be taught to replicate any button on any IR remote you have. The Kickstarter campaign to fund the sideclick had a rough start, but eventually reached its goal. The husband and wife team behind Sideclick sent me one of their prototypes to try out, so here are my thoughts.
First and foremost, the Sideclick I’m reviewing here is a rough prototype, which is why I won’t be commenting much on the physical characteristics, but rather the functionality. The prototype is 3D printed from bright green filament to clearly distinguish it from the final product, which will be black and injection molded. The fit and finish of this prototype should not be used as an example of the final products quality.
Each Sideclick order for Fire TVs will come with the Sideclick, as well as two clips, one for the Fire TV remote and one for the Fire TV Stick remote. Additional clips can be purchased separately for about $8, and are also available for Roku, Apple TV, and Nexus Player remotes.
The clips hold onto the Fire TV remotes using only the elastic pressure of the slightly flexible plastic. The prototype clip I tested held the Fire TV voice remote very securely. The Fire TV remote did not slide up or down at all while held in the clip.
The clips attach to the Sideclick through a series of alignment tabs and one locking tab in the center. To detach the Sideclick from the clip you must pull the locking tab away and slide the Sideclick free. The locking tab is concealed by the Fire TV remote when the system is all put together. This means you will not be able to detach the Sideclick from the clip without first removing the Fire TV remote from the cip.
Programming the Sideclick is a breeze and easier than any universal remote I’ve ever used. You simply hold the topmost and bottommost buttons for few seconds until the LED light blinks rapidly, which indicates it’s ready to learn from your existing remotes. You then just press the Sideclick button you want to program, point it at your existing remote, and press the button on your existing remote that you want the Sideclick to replicate. You repeat the press-point-press process for each of the Sideclick buttons you want to program, and when you’re done, after a few seconds of not pressing any Sideclick buttons, the Sideclick comes out of programing mode and is ready to use.
The labeling of the Sideclick buttons are arbitrary and are only a suggestion. For example, even though the first button is labeled with a power icon, it can just as easily be programmed to change inputs or any other function. My button use was, from top to bottom: TV power, A/V receiver power, A/V receiver volume up, A/V receiver volume down, TV input change, A/V Receiver input change, Kodi stop (using FLIRC), Fire TV Sleep (using FLIRC).
The Sideclick works perfectly with FLIRC and together make up a team that rivals my Harmony universal remote. FLIRC, which adds IR capabilities to the Fire TV, lets you assign any number of Fire TV commands to various IR remote button presses. Since the Fire TV remote does not have a stop button, I used the FLIRC to assign one of the Sideclick buttons to act as a standard media “Stop” button, which works perfectly in Kodi. I also assigned a Sideclick button to act as a “PC sleep” button using my FLIRC, which puts the Fire TV in sleep mode.
Sideclick is a welcomed addition to my living room that makes me wonder what I need my fancy Harmony universal remote for anymore. Sideclick takes the most important parts of my various remotes and puts them right where I need them; attached to the remote I use the most. It’s a simple solution with no frills that works exactly as I expected, and I look forward to getting the final product.
Update 8/21/2015 7:00 am PT
Here are photos of the Sideclick in my hand, as requested by some in the comments. Note that I have larger than average sized hands.