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Pushing its buttons!
The RM-AV2500’s manual is surprisingly clear, especially compared to the one written for the RM-AV3000 (shudder). But while Sony’s remote manuals have typically repeated basic information over and over ad nauseum, this manual tends to take the exact opposite approach: almost nothing is repeated, even when it would have been useful.
Some changes were evidently made to the remote late in the design process. The +10 LCD key has had an additional “.” (dot) label added for HDTV receivers – technically it’s the target dot for the calibration routine, but it was in the right place and somebody noticed. Some of the remote’s device buttons seem to have been repositioned to keep “DVD” from inadvertently appearing adjacent to “DVR”, but the oft-used DVD key now feels lost where it is, banished to a corner amongst lowly audio components.
Thanks to a clear font, excellent contrast ratio and bright backlighting, the LCD screen’s text labels are exceptionally legible under a wide variety of lighting conditions, despite their small nature. Whenever the remote transmits a command, either from a button press or during a macro, it beeps relatively loudly. The beep’s volume level cannot be adjusted, but it can be disabled. A softer tone and an option to beep only for LCD keys would be a nice touch.
As described earlier, hitting a hard button or tapping the screen will turn the remote on if it was off. If the button or area of the screen you tapped contains a preprogrammed code, the signal will be transmitted as soon as the LCD activates. Yet, if the button contains a learned code, absolutely nothing is transmitted until the key is hit again. Ideally, hard button presses should always send the attached command, while LCD wake-up taps should send nothing.
The RM-AV2500 is, to put it simply, fast. Changing devices is instantaneous, macros transmit quickly with good feedback, and there’s absolutely no key lag – all traits shared by Sony’s entire RM-AV series. The only slightly slow part with this particular model is the screen activation. Although the backlight comes on instantaneously, the LCD doesn’t come alive for about three-quarters of a second. True, that isn’t much, but it stood out as the RM-AV2100 and RM-AV3100 both switch on instantly. Fortunately, the screen’s timeouts can be set so long this really isn’t a worry.
Even with the introduction of modern graphical remotes and sophisticated all hard buttoned models, Sony’s RM-AV series of combination touchscreen/hard buttoned controls retain strong consumer appeal by offering a good price/performance ratio. Although the RM-AV2500 isn’t alone at the $150 price point, it’s the only model to offer a touchscreen and full control of 12 devices.
The lack of hard button backlighting and large form factor could be issues for some, but there are more than enough compensating pluses – large backlit screen, excellent learning capabilities, loads of devices, plenty of macros, a good measure of customization – and it’s a Sony!
Even better, it’s so simple to operate that users won’t be left hunting through multiple pages to round up a single device’s commands, or picking their way through numerous selection menus. If you need a no-nonsense remote that’s able to deal with complex home theater systems, the Sony RM-AV2500 should definitely be on your short list.
- Daniel Tonks (Remote Central)