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Opinion

I think I want the IR blaster back on Samsung devices

If you have never used an IR blaster on a smartphone, you might often be shocked and wonder why so many folks love the feature and don’t want a device without one. Samsung flagships started offering an IR blaster a couple of years ago, but the company dropped it with the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ last year and it is also missing on the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge.

Our recent poll asking our readers what they think shouldn’t be missing from the S7 lineup saw the IR blaster coming out on top. I was never a fan of using IR blasters on phones or using phones as remote controllers as a substitute for traditional remotes, as you always need to be looking at the phone’s display in order to control another device. With a traditional remote you simply get used to pressing all the right buttons without ever looking at the remote, and it’s a major reason why I never had any love for these so-called IR blasters.

Well, until this weekend when I had to turn to my girlfriend’s LG G4 to be able to operate my newly installed air conditioner.

We shifted to a new house last year, and with summer fast approaching here in India (the afternoons are already reaching 41C), I decided to get my old air conditioner (it’s a Samsung) installed. It turns out we had misplaced the conditioner’s remote in all the havoc that is caused when you shift homes. I ordered a new remote, but the installation guys needed a remote to test the air conditioner to make sure it ran fine. That presented a problem, but it soon clicked that the LG G4 and its IR blaster could come to the rescue.

A search for an IR app on the Play Store and a few seconds of downloading later, the problem was solved. There are quite a few apps on the Play Store that will let you control a slew of remote-controlled appliances, and it made me realize how the IR blaster can be a lifesaver when you misplace a remote. For someone who sticks to regular remotes to control appliances, it was a great example of why there is a consistent outcry against the absence of an IR blaster on Samsung’s flagships.

That the IR blaster won our poll was surprisingly shocking for me back then as I couldn’t wrap my head around why it could be such an important part of a smartphone, but I guess I got my answer when the same feature came to my rescue in this near sweltering heat. My use case might not be one that will present itself too often, but I sure wouldn’t mind having an IR blaster on my Samsung phones just in case.

Hey Samsung, how about bringing it back?

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Nick A Griffin
Nick A Griffin

Yes I agree,it is stupid to remove it,I have it on my S4 and use it to control my Sky+HD Box,I know I could use Sky Plus,thats just making me put another app on the phone,it needs all the space it can get..;).Note 7s explode and now this,oh dear Sam you are not listen to your customers and you will lose them..I will not be buying another SG phone,I am happy with my S4 and its S6 custom firmware..;) One thing Samsung should sort out is the memory problems with there phones,If I put in a 64GB sd card then… Read more »

seanboy2016
seanboy2016

so i just got the s7 a couple days ago ive bin using my s4 for 3 years .. loved it.. my s7 doesn’t seem much better.. granted its a bit faster but really my biggest problem is no ir blaster .. its so much of a problem i could not find my remote in the dark when i went to bed and didnt want to turn the light on to wake the baby so i installed my remote app just to get a message on the screen that says sorry your device does not support ir blaster please contact… Read more »

prodigy89
prodigy89

Ok, let me be short…. I am not upgrading to another Samsung S phone (currently have S6) without it having an IR Blaster and that is how important the feature have become.. I hope that is simple enough without going into lengthy detail.

rharrison1979
rharrison1979

I have 5 kids and and wife. I love them very much. But they are notorious for losing the TV remote control. I use the IR blaster on my Note4, or my wife’s GS5 every day. I use it for the DVD too. The remote for that little toy never came, as we bought it cheap at a garage sale because it had no remote. Samsung: PLEASE bring back the IR blaster on the next flagship or Note device. My wife’s phone is eligible for upgrade, so I’ve been looking at the LG because your hardware doesn’t have the IR… Read more »

noenid
noenid

It used to be “more features” at each generation of devices. Then they started to do some bullshit marketing studies to see what features consumers use the most and started to ditch those that weren’t use too often. It started with FM, removable batteries, now IR. What next, GPS ? Wifi/cell location does a pretty good job after all. As long as the tech still exists or is useful to a minority of users, they shouldn’t remove shit. When I pay 600-800 for a phone, I want it all. I want ip68, removable battery, expendable and adoptable storage,wireless and fast… Read more »

firemido
firemido

Can someone answer me this question : we all remanber how sammsung mocke apple in ads that ghe iphone cant do what galaxy can do like controling all your devices. My question how you mocke apple when you will take the samz feature subject of mocking in this case ir blaster ??????? So with the same policy of mocking now lg canmocke samsung to not have tha same features (ir blaster and radio fm…)? Its really a mess tooking off micro sd bringing back micro sd !!!!!! The answer of samsung was : we care abiut performance and speed !!!!!!… Read more »

firemido
firemido

Thanks a lot,ABHIJEET M, you can see now clearly why the ir blaster is really really a dealbreaker for us, in the first i was like you i dont understand what People like in this feature, but since the first time that the ir blaster save me in my honeymoon AC, TV, PROJECTOR, THE RECEIVER…. EVERY DEVICE. I LIKE VERY MUCH THE The gs7 edge and i was upgrading my note 3, but i cant now use a phone without ir blaster.

flubber767
flubber767

Also, when using Smart TVs, it is easier to search in the YouTube app, for example, using the phone keyboard rather than navigating to each letter, especially when using a script other than the latin script. There might be other ways to do this, but I find the IR blaster very useful for this.

HomerS66
HomerS66

There are definitley other ways to do this, just by doing a voice search on your phone and then sending the youtube video to your TV, by clicking the transmit button.

jsmrosario
jsmrosario

The IR Blaster is very useful to me. I use it to control all my TVs, Aircon, Settop box and especially my Platinum Videoke machine (Songbook App that sends the song number to the machine). This is why I am not getting S7 in exchange to my S6 edge. I hope Note6 will have one. Samsung, please put it back.

golem1102
golem1102

Im using the ir blaster every day on my note 4. Instead of looking for my remote every time im controling my home divices with the allredy in my hand phone.
My next phone will have ir blaster!
I really hope that it will be note 6

gtone339
gtone339

Just like the built-in FM radio feature on the S3, it has been gone since. Now the IR-blaster is long gone, what’s next?

Leni26de
Leni26de

Samsung produces mainly for ISP’s not for users!

naranova7
naranova7

The IR technology will slowly fade away as the IoT gets stronger and more popular, but until then, and until when most people start using the IoT (or gesture controled) appliances, the IR blaster would be a requirement of a flagship. After all a flagship device is supposed to be as feature rich as possible, so removing such simple features is not a very smart move. Everyone know they can use remotes but having a backup remote won’t hurt. Specially when you’ve lost it or are just too lazy to go get the remote.

sanayp
sanayp

IR Blaster is a old technology on old devices.

Newer devices like ac, radios etc dont have it.

CrescendoFang
CrescendoFang

joking, sir?

firemido
firemido

Old tech !!!! Are you serious, how can the ir blaster that control eveeeeeerrrryyyyy thing in our lives can be an old ???? So yoj can say that the fm radio is an old tech too !??? Thisabsolutely no sence at allthere is absolutely no harm to have ir blaster a cery usefull options that can sometimes save your life, and for most of time can be just a dailly feature for those hwo really know it.

databoy2k
databoy2k

Beep ‘n Go. The only bloatware that doesn’t completely suck. Because now my wallet features one visa card, one debit card, and my driver’s license. My GS5 has everything else – Airmiles, Aeroplan, and every other loyalty card for each specific store in the country. And best of all – it works EVERYWHERE. Screen protector and everything. All thanks to the IR blaster.

waseem jaas
waseem jaas

I love the IR blaster and i was dissapointed when samsung removed from their phones, i use the IR blaster alot for ny tv, set-up box, ac…

o0MHJ0o
o0MHJ0o

I disagree. It would be nice to have an IR blaster but again, it’s not essential. It’s been over a year now since the S6s and you’ve only jus found ONE use of an IR blaster in that time. I personally only used it jus to show that I could, not needed at all.

xldon2lx
xldon2lx

Why disagree? Just because the author used it only in an emergency and you used it for show off doesn’t mean everybody is the same as you or the author. I’ve been using mine everyday on my note edge and I’m pretty sure the majority of people do so too.

I never use the mobile data feature on my phone by the way as I’m on WiFi pretty much 24/7 so should samsung also remove 2g, 3g & LTE as I deem it useless?

firemido
firemido

I think you miss the point : First there is more than a poll done by sammobile and other trusted website about the ir blaster use and the results show every time a big number of funs that they want it with a different degree of use. (so its not about the author or an emergency case. Second : if you dont use it that not mean that millions of people share tve same habitude. Third : where is exactly the problem that a lot of funs want it back and showing their desires !!!!????? 4th : i like, and… Read more »

klown3plus1
klown3plus1

If they want to cut down on the bill of materials they should take out the UV Sensor and put the IR Blaster back in. I have never met someone in my life who has ever used the UV sensor.

firemido
firemido

I hope that i made this comment, its very funnnny.

HomerS66
HomerS66

IRblaster is an outdated tech.
Quick Connect/wifi direct is much advanced, where you can contro your TV via wifi direct, so no internet or wifi connection necessary.

You can also mirror your smartphone screen to your TV, send videos, photos and play games. And what i was surprised of, that you can even mirror your TV screen to your smartphone, so that you can continue watching TV while being on the Toilet 🙂

leivaoa
leivaoa

While you do make a good point not everyone owns a TV with WiFi built in. I have a Sony flat screen I bought back in 2008, it does not have built in WiFi. And i dont feel like spending $400 or more on replacing a TV that still works great. So the IR blaster is great for controlinorks older tv and satilite receiver.

arhu74
arhu74

many old appliances only use IR

firemido
firemido

You are obviously missing the point, and comparing some tech that does not comparing. Listen to this : there is absolutely “no tech” to remplace the ir blaster. I pretty sure you are not a user of ir blaster thats why you miss the point.

shadad
shadad

So, last year Abhijeet M. you said that you own an LG smartphone and attacked S6 for having little battery and no SD card port. this year you said your GF got LG and attacked Samsung for the IR blaster! you said that so to save your self the bashing from the last year. well, no one cares about LG here first. 2nd how the hell you lost your “newly installed air conditioner” remote control?!! if you want the IR blaster go and buy another product and write your bashing articles somewhere else. Sammobile.com got to refresh the writers list… Read more »

yathani
yathani

I agree with you. If the writer wants to give an opinion on something he should use Sammobile from page just to express his personal opinion.

firemido
firemido

So from now nobody criticize samsung, ok thats how she will satisfy its funs. We have to say just the good this (like its perfect, that all we need… Some comment like this, ) and if you have something to mention or something that you dont like, you shutt the hell up, and keep it for yourself.such an hypocrsy.!!!!!!!! If you were in politic you will be a nice projet of a future dictature.

Acorns
Acorns

Hopefully they will bring it back for the s8 when my upgrade is due!

sanayp
sanayp

Well Sammobile complaining here won’t convince samsung t bring back IR blaster

arhu74
arhu74

samsung do listen and read, the other week I got asked to do a very long product feedback on the s6

sanayp
sanayp

No they dont Take software updates for example.

Hundreds and hundreds of people complained and nothing done

firemido
firemido

Of course she will not take every thing, but we hope that she will take this point bringing back the ir blaster like she did with the microsd reader.

firemido
firemido

You have to rethink about this idea dude !!! What do you think thus discussion is made for !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why all these polls ????? I never doute that company like samsung that make its greatness dont listen to consumers and funs. Its absurd

rafaelegomezb
rafaelegomezb

The use I like the most is for TV/Cable. The pre-installed by Samsung app, for example, is not only a replacement of the remote control, but it’s also the TV guide, and directly you change channels on the decoder. I love that!

jhony1993
jhony1993

I have a galaxy s5, and didn’t buy s7 because it doesn’t have IR. I will really miss it. So I will wait to note 6, to see is it come back. If not, maybe I won’t buy it. It’s one of the best features for me, and I’m paying a lot of money for the best phone and I want it with every feature on it. I don’t think IR is so expensive to come back, and a lot of people like me want it to coming back. I hope samsung listen us. Peace!

firemido
firemido

Man you said exactly, what i want to say. I dont see any reason to took it away.

sammay69
sammay69

The IR blaster is not must have for me but I have to admit it’s really useful feature to have