Walmart says Onn 4K Pro will eventually only ship with a backlit remote

The remote control that came with our Onn 4K Pro Streaming Device.
The remote control that came with our Onn 4K Pro Streaming Device is not backlit. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

The great mystery of the Walmart remote control has been solved. Mostly. As you’ll recall from our Onn 4K Pro Streaming Device review, ours came with a remote control that doesn’t have backlit buttons and also lacks an unsightly “Free TV” button. But some folks who also got in early on the $50 Google TV device had a different remote control — one whose buttons do light up, and with a big blue “Free TV” button in the middle.

We reached out to Walmart on May 13 to try to clarify things. Here’s what its outside PR agency had to say via email: “Of note, the remote does have two versions. The first wave of products released with the non-backlight version of the remote. The backlight version will be available with the product soon.”

So that’s that. Mostly. As of May 16, the product listing on Walmart’s website shows the same remote control we have. But that wasn’t always the case. The other version of the remote has been listed previously. (Note that it didn’t mention backlit buttons either.)

The backlit remote control that eventually will be the only one available with the Onn 4K Pro.
The backlit remote control that eventually will be the only one available with the Onn 4K Pro. Walmart

While I’ve only used the remote control that came with the unit we bought off Walmart’s website, I’m pretty confident in saying that none of this is that big a deal. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the remote that came with our Onn 4K Pro — I still think it’s an improvement over the Chromecast with Google TV remote — it’s just not that big a consideration. The more important features, I’d argue, are the customizable star button; the ability to assign the YouTube button to either YouTube proper, YouTube TV, or YouTube Music; and the ever-important remote-finder capability — all of which are available on both versions of the remote.

Is the backlit remote control — the one Walmart says will eventually be the only one that ships with this device — more “premium,” as some have taken to calling it? I don’t know. I’ve used a lot of remote controls in my day. I’ve had the Logitech Harmony Elite, and the beautifully designed Logitech Harmony Companion. Those are premium remotes.

This is one that comes with a $50 streaming device, and I’m already tired of thinking about it.

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