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Proton iRemote iR800 Remote Control Review
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Super-size that macro!
Feel like automating your system’s power routines, or want to wow your friends by turning everything on, dimming the lights and starting a movie by the mere push of a button? Record it in a macro!

The iR800’s macro capabilities are as impressive as its learning capacity: nearly unlimited macros, on almost any button, with up to 60 steps stored in each. The “Macro” menu option offers easy access to creating a new macro. Just select which device and key to place it on (hard button or soft button), then begin recording. A default 0.5 second delay is added between each step, while longer delays from 1 to 15 seconds can be added by pressing the [Macro] soft button. A counter at the top of the screen keeps track of how many steps have been recorded so far. As a bonus, device jumps and delays don’t count towards the limit. To finish recording a macro, hold the [Setup/Page] button for three seconds.

Alas, it’s not possible to assign a macro to a device key as it is a single learned command. This is a shame, since it’s usually nice to add automatic audio and video input switching routines to each component for truly foolproof device surfing. (That is, as long as your components support discrete input codes.)

One other “Macro” menu option visually progresses through the steps contained in a particular macro. Select the macro, then use the [Up/Down] hard buttons to flip through the recorded commands. This nifty little feature would have been doubly useful had it been possible to add or erase steps while doing this!

Proton iRemote iR800
Click to enlarge. (66kb)
During normal use, one of the LCD-based keys shown on every screen is labelled simply “Macro”. This button’s sole purpose is to show which LCD squares have a macro assigned – hold it down and only those buttons on the current page with macros are displayed. This is an especially unnecessary feature that occupies the space of one or two potentially useful in-device controls. At minimum I would have preferred being able to record a real macro on this key – say one for switching A/V inputs!

Counting down...
The current time shown at the top of every screen isn’t there just to give you yet another clock to set on daylight savings time. No, it has a more practical purpose: the iR800 includes 8 full-featured timers that can be configured to run up to a year in advance. In fact, hold the [Setup/Page] for one second (instead of three seconds to enter the setup menu) during normal use and the display changes to show the month, day and year. So what are timers used for? Many people need an alternative way to schedule program recordings on their VCR, or perhaps to turn the system on every morning as an alarm clock. Timers are also useful as an inexpensive security device when away, turning on the TV at predetermined times.

Accessed only through the setup menu, each timer can be configured to run daily, weekdays, weekdays plus Saturday, a specific day of week or on an exact date. Timers can also be individually disabled without removing their content, but cannot be given custom names. Timers can only point to a single button, either a learned command or a macro, and can’t be set to run at a relative time such as “one hour from now”.

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