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After extended use, I've decided that there are too many buttons on the RM-AV3000 whose sole job it is to display "more" labels on the LCD label keys. For components you've got [Other], for macros you've got [More], for timers there's [Timer]. When in a device you hit the device name at the top, but no page numbers are shown to let you know where you are. This just doesn't feel intuitive - perhaps a different solution could have been found.
Sony has wisely dropped the "simple" and "complex" views featured on the RM-AV2100. This was originally supposed to help hide advanced controls from inexperienced users, but never really worked right and turned out to be superfluous. Some minor downgrades include the inability to access Sony discrete power codes or video input codes above "4" for televisions and "3" for VCRs.
Operational speed is excellent. Wakeup time is non-existent and the remote can send commands as quickly as they can be entered. Switching devices is practically instantaneous, unless of course you need to access secondary devices that are less conveniently located. Still, the primary hard button components should represent the majority of an average user's daily cycle, and the reduction in visible devices assists in keeping the remote simple for the uninitiated. The LCD touchscreen is very sensitive, but can't handle keys being pressed too hard. In addition, the new screen's plastic touch layer is very glossy and displays fingerprints with pride, while the RM-AV2100's is more matte and tends to diffuse prints.
I had no idea how much the RM-AV3000 had improved upon the RM-AV2100's ergonomic design until I used the new model for several hours and went back to the old. Practically everything has been improved! Hard button feel, ergonomics, case rigidity. Even though it weighs the same as its cousin, the RM-AV3000 has less physical volume and thus feels much more solid.
I heartily recommend that new equipment owners buy a good learning universal remote control and teach it everything from the original remote, which should then be stored in a secure location where it can't be misplaced or mangled. The cost of replacing factory original remotes is surprising - and the inconvenience of missing out on advanced functions later makes this one-time expense well worth it. The RM-AV3000's impressive abilities make it ideal for backing up every remote in your household - if only there was a computer interface for further protection!
There's no denying that the RM-AV3000 is a big remote - but one that makes excellent use of the space it occupies. If you've misplaced the remote between the sofa cushions one too many times, this would be the definitive solution.
When it comes to the bottom line, the RM-AV3000 is much more than a simple upgrade of the RM-AV2100. It may only cost about six percent more than its forerunner, but has set the bar much higher for future mid-range remote controls. There may be more expensive remotes that can subsequently do more, but if you can live without a graphical dot-matrix display and are looking for the most operational bang for the buck, the RM-AV3000 fits the bill and will meet most consumers' requirements!
If you're looking to purchase a universal remote control with enough muscle for a complex home theater, I heartily recommend you put the Sony RM-AV3000 at the top of your list.
For information on the Sony RM-AV3100, please continue to the next review page.