Satechi has released a trio of tiny Bluetooth remotes known as the Satechi Bluetooth Button Series – Shutter Button, Home Button and Media Button. All 3 remotes are shaped like round disks but each one has a different set of buttons for different functions. The Shutter Button has a single button that controls the camera shutter on your iPhone or Android phone. It is great for taking selfies and it can also be used to start and stop a video recording.
The Home Button is used to remotely activate either Siri on the iPhone or S Voice on a Samsung Android phone. The 3rd button is the Media Button which is the focus of this review. Unlike the other buttons, the Media Button has a total of 5 buttons – 4 around the edges and 1 in the center of the remote. As you might have suspected, the Media Button is used for remotely controlling media playback on your iPhone or Android phone.
The Media Button has 2 buttons for controlling volume, 1 for going to the previous track, 1 for skipping the current track while the center button is used to start playing and pausing media playback. The buttons have tactile feedback and has a nice click when pressed on. Some people complained that the buttons are hard to press but I find them just right.
Getting the Media Button to work with your phone out of the box is relatively easy. All you have to do is switch on Bluetooth on your phone, put the button on pairing mode by pressing the hidden pairing button at the back of the device and then pair them when the button appears on the list of Bluetooth devices on the phone.
Once paired, just launch any media playback app on the phone and you can now control playback remotely using the Media Button. Most apps are supported including Spotify and iTunes. There are several uses for the device. One is to use it to control playback while leaving your phone in your pocket or a bag. Perfect for those workout sessions or when you are on a run.
Another good use for the button is when you are wearing gloves. Wearing gloves prevents using the capacitive screen on a smartphone but not a problem pressing buttons.
However, the most popular use for the Media Button and my use for it as well is to use it to control music playback while driving. Previously changing tracks while driving requires me to switch on the phone and then swipe the screen. Needless to say this is not ideal and can be a hazard. With the Media button, all I need to do is press a button.
The Media Button runs on a single CR2016 button battery. Satechi rates battery life at 2 years and furthermore, replacement batteries are easily available.
The Media Button comes with several mounting options. The first is a simple adhesive 3M label that lets you mount the button on any flat surface. The second is a mounting device that lets you clip on the button on a car steering wheel or on a bicycle handle bar. Lastly there is a simple lanyard to attach the button to a keychain or even to your phone itself.
There are a couple of minor quibbles with the Media Button. The biggest issue that I have is that the device connects as a Bluetooth keyboard. That means that while the button is connected, your soft input keyboard will not appear on screen. So if you suddenly feel like using your phone to quickly type out a text message, you will not be able to do so without disconnecting the button.
A quick workaround is to switch off Bluetooth temporarily and then switch it back on once you are done with using the keyboard. If you are using it in the car like I am, this is not such a big issue. Usually when I walk out of the car and out of range of the Bluetooth connection, the phone switches back to the default soft keyboard.
The only other really minor problem is that the Media Button goes into sleep mode when not in use to save battery. That means it takes a couple of more presses to reinitiate the Bluetooth connection if you haven’t touch the button for an extended period. But this is a really minor issue and a necessary evil in my opinion to extend battery life.
Overall, the Satechi Media Button works very well as advertised. If you happen to be in any one of the above categories of users, the Media Button is definitely worth the money.