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No more flying blind with iTunes.
Until now, we haven't found an ideal remote for using iTunes on a Mac. Even the Apple Remote (also used with Apple's Front Row), like many iTunes remotes, is missing one major feature: You can't see the song that's playing unless you're close enough to your Mac's display to read the iTunes window. So when the Tunes Explorer arrived in our offices, it seemed like our prayers were answered - the Tunes Explorer has an LCD, albeit a tiny one.
Using 2.4GHz radio frequency, the Tunes Explorer touts a range of 90 feet. You plug a USB transceiver into your Mac, sync the remote by pressing a button, and you're all set. To our surprise, the Tunes Explorer had excellent range, even with the transceiver connected to a Power Mac G5 stored under a desk. When you're out of range, the remote tells you so; when you're back in range, you can see your iTunes info again. We lost our signal when we entered completely separate rooms, but we had expected as much (hey, Hercules, how about adding a signal-strength indicator?).
On the Tunes Explorer's tiny 0.48-inch LCD, you can squint to see iPod-like menus and info about the song that's playing. The center ring of buttons on the Tunes Explorer works just like an iPod's buttons, except for scrolling; the Tunes Explorer has a separate scrollwheel on its right side. Since the interface is similar to an iPod's, you may find yourself trying to use the center ring as a scrollwheel - we sure did.
The bottom line. The Tunes Explorer is a great complement to any Mac-centric home-entertainment center.
REQUIREMENTS: 300MHz G3 or faster or Intel processor, Mac OS 10.4 or later, 256MB RAM, USB, iTunes, two AA batteries
Built-in LCD lets you see what's going on with iTunes. Good range. iPod-like interface.
Tiny LCD font. No signal-strength indicator.