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A world of commands.
The dominant feature on the RM-AV2500 is its large LCD touchscreen, containing the majority of device controls. The display is divided into a grid of buttons, 7 columns wide by 4 rows high, plus a thinner 5th row on top for the status bar and a [Power] key. That totals up to 29 LCD keys.
The removal of 4 usable spaces from the RM-AV2100’s original screen design is more than compensated for by the inclusion of 8 brand new hard buttons. So, adding in the new number of 13 control-oriented hard buttons, each device can contain up to 42 functions. Although this is less than some competing remotes, including Sony’s own RM-AV3100 at 53 keys per device and RM-VL1000 at 47, it’s still an increase over the 38 previously offered by the RM-AV2100 or the 35 on the RM-VL900 (read our review).
Each LCD-based key is two-fifths of an inch wide and one-third of an inch high (1.0cm by 0.9cm) – more than large enough for a finger. The left side of the screen contains a standard 10-digit numeric keypad, while the 4-by-4 grid on the right includes all other functions – transport controls, television PIP modes, DVR functions, inputs and more. The LCD is a “fixed” display, not dot-matrix, so all text is permanently set and cannot be modified. However, each LCD-based button does have multiple preset labels to choose from – more on that later.
Time for a change of screen.
For the first time since designing the RM-AV1000, Sony has used a different type of touchscreen display. The touch layer on previous models has a very noticeable “grid” marked on the top plastic sheet, corresponding to the keys below. It’s visible as both a darker band encircling buttons and small perforated “dimples” evenly spaced along the grid. The RM-AV2500, on the other hand, has a perfectly smooth and clear plastic layer with no color shifts and no perforations. The remote even has a new screen calibration routine, indicating that this is a more “traditional” type of touchscreen.
Like sophisticated graphical remotes, the RM-AV2500 needs to be powered on to operate. The LCD (and thus the remote) can be configured to stay on for 10 to 90 minutes (yes, minutes) or, if you have a vast collection of AA batteries to burn through, the timer can be disabled so that only the [Commander Off] button will power down. The remote will switch on from any hard button press or tap of the screen.
A bright aqua blue electroluminescent (EL) panel is used to backlight the LCD display but not any of the hard buttons – a serious omission. The LCD’s backlight can be set to one of 11 brightness levels ranging from “barely on” to “doubles as room accent lighting”, and can be set to automatically timeout after 10 to 90 seconds of inactivity. Unlike the RM-AV2100, the RM-AV2500’s backlight can be configured to illuminate automatically upon any button press (except for the volume and channel toggles). The [Light] button can always be used to turn the backlight on or off.
Although the EL panel is the same color and intensity as the RM-AV2100 or RM-AV3100, the RM-AV2500’s display is nominally brighter due to the more transparent touch layer. What’s even more impressive is the screen’s legibility and contrast levels: stellar on both accounts!