Gear Review: PDP Cloud Remote for PlayStation 4

A little over a year ago now, PDP put out the PlayStation 4 Media Remote, a simplified alternative to the company’s earlier Universal Media Remote built for general PS4 menu navigation and movie playback using many popular streaming apps. Now we have the Cloud Remote, an iterative update to the Media Remote rather than a complete remodel, bringing back the same form factor while adding in some crucial IR functionality, and making a few helpful button mapping adjustments for good measure.

Please consult my previous review for the Media Remote because much of what I wrote before still applies, and I don’t want to waste time rehasing the same points. I praised and recommended the Media Remote overall, but the one major thing I dinged it for was a lack of any form of basic TV functionality, namely volume control. The Cloud Remote rectifies this with not only volume control but also Power and Input buttons so you can turn your TV on/off and toggle your display from TV to PS4, and vice versa.

The remote pairs like any other Bluetooth device, but for the TV IR functionality PDP offers a free app, downloadable from the PlayStation Store, which programs the remote with your TV without forcing you to punch in a bunch of codes until one finally works. Instead, the app first attempts to auto-detect your TV brand, and it will seemingly do so if you’re using a major brand name. If that fails you have to input your TV brand, let the app update, and then test to see if the connection worked. If it doesn’t, you click to the next update, the app refreshes, and you test again. It all takes a matter of seconds to set up as the app is essentially entering the IR codesets automatically until the remote’s TV function works. From unboxing through downloading the app and pairing/programming, I had the remote up and running within about five minutes. And my TV is an Emerson, which did not auto-detect, so I had to go through the full process.

All TV functionality is fully operable without the PS4 needing to be powered on. Still, the Cloud Remote should not be considered as an outright replacement for the Universal Media Remote since this one still doesn’t change channels or control volume on auxiliary devices.

Media Remote (left) Cloud Remote (right) side by side comparison, front view.

The remote itself is identical to its predecessor in terms of size and shape. Obviously, with the addition of the TV input, the button layout has been tweaked accordingly. Power and Input are now at the top of the remote, flanking the PS home button on either side, where the Share and Options buttons used to be. Share and Options are now flanking the Volume +/- button, located just underneath the central control wheel. The media playback buttons are in the same position, the play and pause buttons enlarged just a bit from before.

The center control wheel has also been enlarged so that the thumb has wider clearance when making D-pad selections. The D-pad arrows, although still a flush surface, now have an ever so subtle bump so there is at least some tactile sensation when sliding your thumb over the smooth rubber. Both of these changes address minor complaints I raised in my review of the Media Remote, so kudos to PDP for listening to user feedback, whether it came from me or not. Additionally, the Enter button in the middle is a little larger, and the surrounding face buttons have been changed from circle buttons to slender rectangles that curve with the natural shape of the wheel.

Media Remote (left) Cloud Remote (right) side by side comparison, back view.

The only thing missing now is backlighting. I’ve gotten so used to the backlit remote I have with Xfinity that using a remote in a dark room without backlit buttons is a tough adjustment. Fortunately there aren’t a ton of buttons on the Cloud Remote, so it’s pretty easy to memorize and use blind.

Another small update relates to the remote’s casing. The underbelly’s textured surface has been made even more, well, textured, further maximizing comfort and grip. And since the Cloud Remote has the IR sensor at the tip, the bottom shell now slides down instead of up to reveal the battery compartment.

I suppose the biggest compliment I can pay the Cloud Remote is that it has now rendered the Media Remote obsolete, implementing vital TV operability as well as a number of subtle but impactful quality of life improvements. It has actually even overtaken the Universal Media Remote for me personally, since my lone hesitation in making the switch previously was the lack of volume control. Anyone with a stereo system or the lingering desire to also channel surf, all with the same remote, will need to stick with the universal model, but for everyone else this is officially the go-to remote for PS4 media playback.

Buy From: Amazon or PDP for $29.99.

Disclosure: A Cloud Remote was provided to VGBlogger.com for review consideration by PDP.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!