Top phones with IR blaster and remote control functionality (2015 edition)

Top phones with IR blaster and remote control functionality (2015 edition)
An infrared photon walks into a bar and says, "Is it hot in here, or is it just me?" Get it? Because infrared light is thermal radiation... Oh, forget about it. Let's shift the focus over to smartphones. Smartphones with IR blasters, to be more specific.

No, emitting heat isn't the purpose of these tiny infrared LEDs built into so many smartphones. It is not even close. An IR blaster built into a phone allows the handset to double as a universal remote control for a number of electronic devices we have around our homes. Using a special pre-loaded app, the phone can be programmed to control a TV, a set-top box, and maybe even your air conditioner.

Not all smartphones have a built-in IR blaster, however, which is why we thought we'd make a list of all the cool phones that offer one. In the slideshow below you'll find our top picks.

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16 Comments

1. sgodsell

Posts: 7363; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I wish all phones came with one. It's not like this item costs an arm and a leg. TV manufacturers could then get rid of boxing a TV remote with a TV. Instead they could make either their own Universal remote app, or pair up with one of the few that are currently on the market. Like peel smart or others. If every smart phone or tablet had an IR then all devices that use IR would never have to ship with an IR remote.

3. cdm283813

Posts: 424; Member since: Jan 10, 2015

Exactly! Every phone including budget models should have an IR blaster. Electronic manufacturers still use Ir.

5. james2841

Posts: 167; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

An infared LED is cheap and could be miniaturized.

10. sissy246

Posts: 7111; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

This could never happen because not all tv buyers have smartphones and not everyone even has a cell phone. I have a s5 and have never used it as a remmote. I have it disabled even.

14. PlayCrackTheSky

Posts: 2; Member since: May 16, 2016

Good luck getting rid of IR remotes any time in the near future.

15. Blazer0126

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 03, 2016

That would be fine, if everyone owned a smartphone. But there are still people that don't buy smartphones. TV Companys will always have to make the physical remote until flip phones, and side kick type phones officially go out. Which as long as people are buying them, like for their kids, and old people getting them for simplicity that won't happen. But I do agree every smartphone should have this feature. I have a Motorola Droid Turbo AND a Sony Xperia C4 and neither of those phones have that function. And right now I'm waiting on a replacement TV remote b/c my mother in law's dog chewed through my power button!

2. cdm283813

Posts: 424; Member since: Jan 10, 2015

Unless something changed LG phones do not work with 3rd party IR controller apps. They lock down the IR blaster to their own app. But I could be wrong.

4. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

If a phone can be a remote control, why can't a remote control be a phone?

6. joeboxer

Posts: 51; Member since: Feb 19, 2015

Ur mom

8. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

is gorgeous, I know thanks

7. promise7

Posts: 894; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

I really hate the way the IR blaster looks on the HTC One M8 & M9. A nice stylish aluminum build, then the whole top portion is a ugly black plastic IR.

9. darkkjedii

Posts: 31030; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

My favorite feature on my edge, and one of the few that never messes up.

11. LikeMyself

Posts: 631; Member since: Sep 23, 2013

And Sony keeps on trolling!!

12. Mortiferon

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 01, 2015

“Not all smartphones have a built-in IR blaster“, to my bitter disappointment. $250 for a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime (oh yes, I am well aware we got reamed by Verizon just because we bought from Verizon; these go elsewhere for $120 tops. Lesson learned), why? All it has is TWO cameras (the ‘selfie’ one I’ll most certainly never use; and quite frankly DON’T appreciate having in my face at-all-times), and I believe but am not certain a ‘bar-code scanner’ that I will definitely never use (I rarely, if ever, ‘shop’), oh and not even 5Ghz band capabilities over WiFi (a *2009* IEEE protocol that even my 2010 notebook NIC included, at no extra charge!). The one thing I really wanted, presuming that all so-called SMART phones had, was the IR blaster... I had wanted to FINALLY sever myself from the cumbersome garage door opener and a good few dozen remotes, at long last. Whelp, not happening now. The compass function (also really cool; would really appreciate that... especially over the ridiculous ‘pedometer’), I could understand withholding on “budget” (not that $250 can REALLY be classed “budgetary” these days, you understand) models... but the Infrared? Something that $20 actual remotes have, that thereby the components of couldn’t possibly run more than $5 to actually produce? WHY?! Essentially, all I really got myself here is a phone that imitates, an albeit tiny, crippled tablet – and with not even the OPTION of full end-user control (‘root’ or ‘administrator’ privileges)... and they call these “smart”? I’m not seeing it. Truly, I am just not seeing it. Even early 2000’s flip-phones had internet, GPS and a camera. So just what’s so revolutionary? The ability to tack on an extra couple zeros, shove it all in a new encasement, and get us schmucks to buy the same old tech with the same old basic functions??? Must be!

13. PlayCrackTheSky

Posts: 2; Member since: May 16, 2016

This entire comment (bitch/whine session) was because you bought a phone that didn't have an ir blaster. You didn't do your research...you bought a cheap phone. You failed. Complain all you want...but this was entirely your fault.

16. Jakeman02

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 03, 2017

Remotes will continue to be shipped with electronics when applicable. Even today theres's still a good percentage of the population who want or even need them. I've got parents, and other aging family members and friends who have never touched and some of them even refuse to even try a smartphone or computer and that crowd also makes up enough of a percentage of buyers that it will not change anytime in this or maybe even the next generation of people. Yes every one of those people are still on landline and see no need to change.

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