Because RCA is such a big name in home entertainment, we wanted to see how two of its universal remotes – one four-device model and one six-device model – measured up against each other and the competition. This review focuses on the RCA RCRN04GZ, a four-device remote.
This remote has a completely different layout from the other RCA 6-Device remote that we tested. Most of our testers liked the button layout of this remote and the fact that the most commonly used buttons are easy to see because of their light blue color. The mute, power, exit and sleep buttons are prominent, as are the channel and volume adjustments. Some of our testers didn't like the elongated shape of the volume and channel buttons, but said it wasn't a major detriment. The shiny face of the remote is prone to smudging, and retains those smudge marks. This is a problem we also experienced with the Insignia 4-Device.
To use this remote, you must press forcefully on the buttons. Even then, they didn’t respond every time we pressed them. We also noticed there was a lag if, for instance, you increased the volume radically and then immediately tried to turn it back down. It did, however, pass our drop tests from about 3 feet above the ground.
You can program this remote by manually typing in the corresponding code to the device you’re trying to sync or by using the automatic setup function that will search codes for you. In our tests we tried to sync each remote with several devices in our labs – an auxiliary audio unit, a Blu-ray player, a TV and cable box. This RCA, along with the other RCA remote we tested, wouldn’t sync with our Philips Blu-ray player. We tried all of the codes in the instruction manual and did some online research as well, to no avail. You might have better luck with your own player though, as sync codes are provided for a multitude of DVD player brands, including Samsung, Toshiba and Vizio. The remote did successfully pair with the other devices in our lab, and the process was pretty easy.
If you are interested in this remote but you have a larger home theater system, RCA makes a six-device universal remote (which we did not test) with the same layout as this four-device model.