Someone once told me that using the controller that comes with your device is like using those $5 earbuds from Walmart. They’ll work, but you’re going to miss out on a lot of the experience.
I’ve said over and over again that to get the best experience from your Android TV box, you should use an air-mouse.
I don’t know if you’ve looked lately, but there are a ton of different airmouse and remote controls to choose from.
So I listened to a lot of user feedback and asked a lot of questions. I mean a lot of questions. Then I went and rounded up everyone’s favorite controllers to see which one really was the best air mouse.
Get a better remote control?
Think about it this way: What’s the first thing you reach for when you want to watch a movie?
It’s the remote control.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re controlling a TV, Blu-Ray player, HTPC, Set Top Box (STB) or an Android TV box. You still have to click on the right icon to start playing the movie. If you end up getting frustrated by the controller, you’re going to have a pretty crappy experience.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like crappy experiences.
Looking for more than just an air-mouse? Find out what I recommend as the best HTPC keyboard for your TV box!
How this list is organized
For each air-mouse on the list, I looked at how it looks and feels, how easy it was to setup, and how easy it is to integrate with Kodi. The reason is, lots of remote controls work well with the Android interface, but we’re trying to find the best Kodi remote, right? It makes sense to see how it works within Kodi.
Let me be clear: I’m looking at how the air mouse performs straight out of the box.
I know there is a lot that you can do from within the Kodi platform as far as configuring remote controls, but that’s not what I’m going for in this article. If you want more information on how to configure your remote mouse with Kodi, I highly recommend checking out their Wiki page.
Finally, I broke the list down into three categories: Remote Controls, Keyboard\Air-Mouse Combos, and Extras. In each category I’ll count down my list of favorites.
Remote Controls: This includes basic remotes that may or may not have air-mouse functionality. I tested the ProBox2 Remote+, the MINIX NEO M1 and the Amazon FireTV Voice Remote.
Keyboard\Air-Mouse Combos: Here you’ll find any air mouse with an integrated keyboard. Usually the keyboard is on the back of the unit, but not always. Most of the remote controls fell into this category. I reviewed the MINIX A2 and A2 Lite, the Mele F10 Deluxe, the Aerb MX3, the Tronsmart TSM-01, the Measy RC11, Hausbell H7, and the iPazzport Mini.
Extras: This is the catch-all. Anything that didn’t obviously fit in any other category went here. This includes the Logitech touchpad t650, and the Kodi Kore Android app.
You’ve probably already got an idea of what kind of controller you want. But check out the entire list so you can decide what the best air-mouse is for you. If you have any questions, feedback or need more help picking the right device for you, don’t hesitate to contact me or leave a comment at the end of the article.
Best Remote Controls
1. ProBox2 Remote+
Maybe I just like the red and black color scheme, but this remote really stands out without looking gaudy, like something Miley Cyrus would wear.
The remote itself is lightweight, as are most of the remotes I tested. It runs on two AAA batteries which give it surprisingly long battery life. Volume buttons are included and they work as designed both in Kodi and throughout the Android OS.
The remote can transition fairly seamlessly from D-pad to air-mouse with the touch of a button. The air-mouse functionality of the Remote+ is hands-down the best of any remote mouse I tested.
It also includes a “game pad” mode where you can hold the Remote+ horizontally and use it as a game controller. This aspect was a little sketchy for me – not because of any failing of the Remote+, but more that Android wasn’t really designed as a game-pad OS. There aren’t too many games I’m interested in that would use this feature. Your mileage may vary, though.
The range on the controller is really good. In fact, while I was typing this review (and pressing buttons, of course), I realized that the Remote+ was still controlling my TV box in the next room.
One complaint I had is that the selection button (the big red circle underneath the D-Pad) took me a few moments to get used to. With most of the other air-mice I’ve tested, the selection button is in the middle of the D-Pad, meaning you don’t have to take your thumb off the pad to make your selection.
It’s a small quibble about the ProBox2 Remote+, I know. Otherwise, this is a great choice and my favorite in the Remotes category.
Find the best price on the ProBox2 Remote+ at Amazon.com
2. MINIX NEO M1
The MINIX NEO M1 was one of the first air-mice I ever reviewed. At the time, I loved that it had a rechargeable battery, rather than having to spend a fortune on AA or AAA disposable batteries. Finally, I loved that it was an incredibly thin, lightweight air mouse.
That was then. Now, after having tested almost everything on the market, I’m not really sold on the M1 anymore.
Lest start with the battery life – or lack thereof. On a brand new NEO M1, you’ll probably get a couple of days use out of it before you have to charge it. But, as with all rechargeable batteries, that will degrade over time. That’s not a fault of the NEO M1, it just is what it is.
But, if your house is anything like mine, charging plugs are a precious commodity. We are a multiple smartphone and tablet house, and we’ve only got two people. Sure, you can hook a device up to your PC and charge it that way, but who wants any more cords hanging around?
Even if you can get past the battery issues, the MINIX NEO M1 just isn’t comfortable to hold. It’s too thin to fit into my hand naturally. Take a look at how much my fingers hang over the side in this picture.
Finally, there aren’t very many features to this to this air mouse. The only buttons are the D-Pad, selector button, Volume buttons and a Home\Back button. In making the NEO M1 lightweight and tiny, they also made it essentially an air mouse version of the same remote that comes with your TV Box.
The bottom line, in my opinion, you can do better.
Find the best price on the MINIX NEO M1 at Geekbuying.com
3. FireTV Voice Remote
Actually, you can use it on most Bluetooth enabled devices. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to get the same functionality however.
I love the FireTV remote. I think it is one of the most comfortable remote control designs out there today. It’s light, stylish and feels good in my hand. The voice search is on par with Google Now and really helps make me enjoy watching my Amazon FireTV.
So what’s wrong? Unfortunately, you don’t get a few of those features when you pair it to your Android box.
I could never get the voice command button to work properly in Android, even when trying to use it with Google Now. Google would sense that the microphone was enabled, and impatiently waited for me to speak. The trouble was that it never picked up on what I was saying. I’ll need more time (and patience) to test it, but I think because you have to hold the button while speaking which causes some issues when in Android.
In Kodi, the fast forward and rewind buttons didn’t work at all, and the menu button just pulled up the viewing statistics – cool, but not quite the desired effect.
For someone who wants to tweak their remote and make it do something it wasn’t designed to do, the FireTV voice remote is a good choice. But for someone who wants an “out of the box” solution, I can’t recommend it.
Find the best price on the FireTV Voice Remote at Amazon.com
Best Air Mouse with keyboard
1. (tie) MINIX A2 Lite
We’ve looked at the MINIX NEO A2 and A2 Lite in a previous review, but if you’re looking for a summary, think of it this way: everything that I didn’t like about the NEO M1 was fixed. The result was the NEO A2.
There are actually two different versions of the MINIX NEO A2 air mouse: The A2 and the A2 Lite. The only difference, other than the color of the ring around the center D-pad is that the NEO A2 has a speaker and microphone built in, whereas the A2 Lite does not. Personally, I prefer the A2 Lite. I never use the voice command features on my Android TV boxes, so having that feature in an air mouse is a waste for me.
Both versions of the MINIX A2 are larger and heavier than every other air mouse I tested, with the exception of the gargantuan Measy RC11. From the top, it feels as if they could have taken a bit of size off the case to make it more comfortable. Flip it over, though, and you’ll be glad they didn’t. They keyboard is large and has enough space around each key so your thumbs won’t run into each other.
The air mouse wasn’t quite as good as the ProBox2 Remote+, but it wasn’t that far off. Be sure to adjust the sensitivity in the general Android Settings menu, and you’ll be OK.
As far as how it works within Kodi, every button was mapped to something, with the exception of the Rewind and Fast Forward buttons.Even better, those functions were fairly useful. The volume buttons worked, as expected. The buttons above the D-Pad were mapped to main Android features like pulling up the task bar and returning to the Home screen. The buttons below the D-pad would allow you to pull up the pause menu and return to the file selection menu within Kodi.
When it comes to the air mouse I use on my own personal setup, I generally split time between the MINIX A2 Lite and the Mele F10 Deluxe below, but I’ll get into why in that section.
1. (tie) Mele F10 Deluxe
The reason why I split time between the MINIX A2 and the Mele F10 Deluxe is that the Mele F10 is designed for people with smaller hands. So if you, or your significant other, has smaller than size-XL hands, this may be the better option.
The Mele F10 Deluxe gives you more button options on the top of the remote mouse compared to the MINIX A2, even though it’s a much smaller air mouse. The trade-off is that you’re giving up all of that extra space on the keyboard. Again, for smaller hands, this may not be a big deal, but my thumbs were constantly running into each other when typing.
If you’re looking at primarily using the Mele F10 as an airmouse, you’re in for a treat. Although its rectangular shape isn’t ergonomic by any means, it is still very light and comfortable to hold. It doesn’t nestle into your hand like the Amazon remote, but there were a few times when I had forgotten I was holding it while watching a movie.
The top series of buttons is a mixed-bag when using the F10 Deluxe with Kodi. The main features like Play\Pause, Volume Up and Down, and Mute buttons all work perfectly.The lower series of buttons are customizable, so it’s no surprise they don’t work within Kodi. The Rewind button actually functions correctly, but the Fast-Forward button doesn’t however. At this point, I’ll take what I can get.
It is powered by an internal rechargeable battery that had surprisingly long life. Even with daily use it lasts almost a week between charges.
One final note, the Power button not only shut down my Android box, but it turned it back on as well. Again, it’s the little things like this that you expect to happen, but its nice when they actually do.
Find the best price on the Mele F10 Deluxe at Geekbuying.com
2. MX3 Multifunction AirMouse
Coming in a close second (or third, depending on how you handle the tie) is the MX3 Multifunction Air-Mouse. The MX3 is sold by several manufacturers including Vigica and Aerb, and is another fan favorite as far as air mice are concerned.
It is slightly larger than the Mele F10, but has the same thin, rectangular casing. Visually, the main difference between the two controllers is the Mx3’s “straight out of the 1980’s” look. It isn’t as stylish as the F10, but the brightly colored buttons immediately draw your attention to the remote’s special features.
Like several of the other remotes I tested, the Aerb MX3 has an IR-learning feature so you can program it just like a regular TV remote. But, the MX3 has a full set of numbers on the top of the remote, as well as four customizable multi-colored buttons along the bottom row. This actually means you can use the Aerb MX3 as a replacement universal remote for your television and not lose any functionality.
The MX3 has a good gyroscopic sensor, which is a bit surprising considering this air mouse came out in 2014. There are a series of four quick launch buttons on the right side of the remote. They start with the blue “Internet Explorer” button on the second row, bottom right, and moving up towards the top. Each button was mapped to a particular Android feature straight out of the box – no configuring required.
The keyboard on the back side of the MX3 has a good “clicky” feel to it. The keys are small, but there is a good amount of space around each key because the manufacturer did away with the top row of numbers. To type numbers you can either use the number pad on the top of the remote mouse or using the Alternate mapping on the keyboard itself.
Within Kodi the buttons functioned about as well as all of the other remotes. Play\Pause worked normally. The MX3 splits the Rewind and Track Rewind functions into two seperate buttons along the top row. It does the same for Fast Forward and Track Advance. The Track Rewind functioned normally, but none of the other three worked.
If you’re looking for “one remote to rule them all”, and don’t mind the retro styling of the brightly colored keys, the MX3 may be worth a look.
3. Tronsmart TSM-01
To be honest, the Tronsmart TSM-01 would probably do better in the Remotes category above. It’s a basic air mouse, about the same size as the MINIX M1 and ProBox2 Remote+, but it has a keyboard, on the back side, so I’m including it here.
Tronsmart is going for the “less is more” approach with the TSM-01. There aren’t any special feature buttons at all. In fact, the only buttons on the top side of the remote mouse are the D-pad, home button and the left and right mouse click. The keyboard on the back is sparsely laid out as well. There’s no number row at the top. You’ll have to use the Alt key if you want to select them. The keys are almost flush with the remote’s plastic shell, which makes it very difficult to type with any semblance of speed.
One curious feature, or bug, depending on how you look at it. The gyroscope is always on, unless you’re using the keyboard. Even if you’re actively using the D-pad to make your selection, you can still see the cursor on the screen moving slightly as you move your hand. This is a minor distraction, but a major draw on the battery life. Expect to have to recharge the internal battery every 2-3 days.
You can read more about the Tronsmart TSM-01 in our review here.
4. Hausbell H7 \ Rii I8
The Hausbell H7 mini keyboard has been around for several years and has gone through a few different versions. You can also see it listed commonly as the Rii I8. It’s not a gyration air mouse, so tilting it will just make you look silly. You’re able to control the on-screen cursor by using the small touchpad at the top of the device.
And I do mean small. Like the iPazzport which found its way to the bottom of this list (sorry…spoilers!), the Hausbell H7 has one of the smallest touchpads I’ve ever seen in a keyboard or controller.
This makes it fairly difficult to navigate from one edge of the screen to another. I actually counted and it took me three full swipes left-to-right to traverse the screen. If you get this, you’re definitely going to want to increase the pointer speed in the Settings menu.
The H7, and all of its variations, include an internal rechargeable battery which holds a charge fairly well. And it even includes a power switch to conserve juice even more.
The main feature is the keyboard, so I’ll talk about that first. The best that can be said is that it gets the job done. It’s not going to “wow” you with the feel like the MINIX A2 or the Mele F10, but it’s not bad either. Still, you probably won’t want to type out a bunch of emails. Use it for entering usernames and passwords, and maybe the occasional search query.
Inside Kodi, and even in the main Android interface, most of the special function keys don’t map well by default. The Home and Search buttons don’t map to anything that I could see. What’s even more confusing is the “ε” – which I can only assume is supposed to be the Microsoft Internet Explorer “E” – actually mapped to the “Home” function.
It is one of the most affordable keyboard controllers available that will work on streaming devices, which is why it scored this high in the comparison test. Still, there are better options unless price is your biggest concern.
You can read more about the Hausbell H7 in our review here.
5. Measy RC11
It is the largest and heaviest gyration air mouse that I tested. It is the most power-hungry device I tested – using three AAA batteries. It is also the only keyboard airmouse that puts all of the buttons on one side of the device.
For a device that focuses on the keyboard, it’s disappointing, to put it mildly.
The size of the keys is good, but there’s no satisfying “click” to them when I tried to type. I say “tried” because the keyboard is split in two halves, with the center button being a combination left and right mouse click. Most people have one hand that is more dominant than the other when it comes to typing. So unless you’re one of those rare people that is perfectly balanced, then you’re probably going to find typing to be very awkward on the Measy RC11.
One other strange quirk, the D-pad, shown on the left hand side in this picture, is mapped so that it works correctly when you’re holding the RC11 like a remote control. But it doesn’t re-orient itself when you use it as a keyboard. I constantly found myself trying to select the left arrow, but moving up instead.
To be honest, there wasn’t anything I liked about the Measy RC11. Well, it did have one redeeming quality. It wasn’t the iPazzport.
If you still want the Measy RC11 after reading this review, you can find the best price on it at Amazon.com
5. iPazzport Mini Wireless Keyboard
Quick poll: Raise your hand if the iPazzport Mini was the first mini keyboard\touchpad you ever saw. The iPazzport has been around so long, I actually saw this before I saw my first Android stick PC. This isn’t an air-mouse, but it does have a full keyboard, which is why it’s in this section.
Hey, I’ll admit it. When I first saw it, I thought this was a great way to control my HTPC.
Then I bought it, and it went downhill from there.
I honestly believe that their target market must have been 3-5 year olds. No one else could possibly have fingers small enough to use this device and actually be comfortable.
The touchpad is so small that my thumb will literally cover almost the entire thing. It is so unresponsive that I had to swipe across it several times in order for it to realize that I’m trying to move the cursor. The D-pad below it has arrow keys so small that you will need a stylus in order to make sure you’re only hitting one key at a time.
After using the iPazzport Mini for ten minutes, I now know why people throw their remote controls across the room.
Don’t buy it. Period.
Best Kodi Remote Mouse app and wireless touchpad
Logitech Touchpad T650
I love Logitech mice and keyboards. When I first started playing with Android Stick PC’s a few years ago, I used a Logitech K400 as my primary input device. It was a little big to leave sitting next to the sofa all the time, which is what actually started me looking for better controllers.
Enter the Logitech T650 touchpad.
You’ve already head me complain about the two remotes that included touchpads. The reason is that I’m used to the way the Logitech touchpads feel. Every one that I’ve ever tried has been responsive, with a good, high-quality feel to it. This one is no exception.
Android is a touch-based operating system. Having a touchpad just makes sense.
Not everything is perfect, though. There are some quirks to using the T650 with your Android TV box or Kodi HTPC.
You’re going to have to update the T650 firmware before you do anything. I know…this is an exception to my “work straight out of the box” rule, but this is worth it.
Without that firmware update most of the touch features you’ve come to know and love (and rely on) just plain don’t work on the T650. No tap-to-click, no pinch-zoom, no double-finger-right-click. Nothing.
You’ll actually have to press down on the touchpad in order to do a left-click select. The “buttons” are actually in the feet of the device, which is pretty cool.
With the firmware upgrade, which takes about 30 seconds to install (seriously), this is a whole different device – and one of my favorites.
Update: Unfortunately, Logitech moved in a new direction shortly after I wrote this review and stopped producing the T650 trackpad. If you can still find one for the original list price of $70, I’d pick one up. Anything more than that, and I’d find another option.
Find the best price on the Logitech T650 Touchpad at Amazon.com
Kodi Kore app
Kore is the official Kodi remote mouse app, so it gives you a few extra features that you won’t find in any of these other devices. The trick is that they’ll only function from within Kodi itself. You won’t be able to use it to navigate around your Android device or any other apps.
Still, it’s something I highly recommend getting for a couple of reasons.
First: It’s free. No other remote control on this list is going to give you as many benefits for absolutely $0.
Secondly, you’re almost always going to have your smartphone with you, and you’ll probably even be on it while you’re watching TV. You may as well use it as a remote. You can always tell your girlfriend that you’re queuing up the next video when you’re really checking your Facebook status.
Finally, it’s going to give you the option to search, access menus and settings, from the swipe of your finger. No other remote mouse will do it as fast as Kore.
If you’re interested, head on over to my article on How to install Kore to find out more.
Yatse Remote app
Like Kore, Yatse is a free remote mouse app which offers all of the functionality to control a Kodi device from your smartphone. It will give you the same “remote control-like” interface in app form, but will also add voice commands in seven different languages.
There is also an “Unlocked” version of the app which offers a bunch of cool features like being able to access your media library offline, as well as saving your settings to the cloud. The unlocked version is under $4, which still makes it less expensive than any of the other air-mice on this page.
If you want to know more about Yatse, check out my article on the Yatse Remote for Kodi here.
Getting the best air mouse or even the best Kodi remote control is important. The way you use the remote control is how you interact with your streaming device.
The good news is that there’s no shortage of controllers for you to choose.
It doesn’t matter whether you use a computer mouse, a universal remote control, an air-mouse or even the remote that came with your TV box. What matters is that you find the right controller for you. One that you’re comfortable with.
Do you have a favorite remote mouse or air mouse? Let us know in the comments below. And if you liked this article. share it with a friend!