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Consumers want simpler gadgets

Which? poll says complex remote controls unpopular

Many people would rather ditch bells and whistles for a simple gadget they know how to use, a new poll by Which? has found.

Nearly two thirds of consumers in our survey said some technical products have lots of functions they don’t understand and never use.

And more than three quarters felt manufacturers should be encouraged to make simpler versions.

Remote controls

Complicated remote controls for TVs, DVD players or stereos seem to be flummoxing people the most. 

In the poll of more than 1,000 consumers, 63% said they’d rather have a basic remote control than one with lots of extras.

Likely to choose a basic version rather than a model with lots of features
Product Percentage of people
remote control
Remote Control
63% 63%
digital radio
Digital radio
61% 61%
mobile phone
Mobile phone
59% 59%
digital camera
Digital camera
58% 58%
wireless router
Wireless router
50% 50%


Not far behind were digital radios, with 61 per cent saying they’d plump for a basic model, and mobile phones – 59% would be likely to pick a simple version. And 58% would choose a simple digital camera.

Ease of use

In the research, carried out last November, older consumers were more likely to want basic versions. For instance, 71% of people aged over 65 would opt for a simple remote control, compared with just 39% of people aged 16 to 24.

Malcolm Coles, Editor of which.co.uk, said: ‘We use a panel of ease-of-use experts to assess all electronic products featured in Which? as part of our product testing.

‘This means readers know which are the easier products to use, and which are overcomplicated.  It’s a unique aspect of Which? testing and we place a lot of emphasis on it.’

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