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It’s thick, fluffy and oh-so-blue.
We now come to one of my favorite sections – the Menacing Thick Fluffy Blanket (MTBF), our standardized test for measuring the infrared performance of universal remote controls. By transmitting a particular code to a reference device through a standardized fluffy blue blanket at a regulated distance (we’re all very scientific here), it’s possible to gauge approximately how well a remote will operate in the real world. Really!
The score thus far: the Xantech URC-2 has managed to chalk up a seemingly unbeatable score of 5.0, followed closely by the Home Theater Master MX-500 with 4.5. Will the iR800’s dual IR emitters be powerful enough to secure a number of noteworthiness?
As is usual we start off with the easiest test, level 1 – a single layer of synthetic blue fluff. As is also usual, the iR800 passed this level with flying colors. Next up is level 2, where we double up the blanket... and also where the iR800 hit a brick – ah, polyester – wall. Surprisingly, the iRemote was unable to force any sort of usable signal through level 2, ending our test abruptly and giving the iR800 a final tally of... 1.0. Noteworthy, but not in the right direction! Although Proton’s iRemote performed at the same level as the receiver’s original remote control, it was unable to better it.
As with any remote control, the Proton iRemote iR800 has both its positives and negatives. With so much good stuff going for it – compact size, great appearance, lots of devices, plenty of learning space, nearly unlimited macros, super bright backlighting and easy setup – it’s disappointing that the two weak spots, the LCD screen and available buttons, are in such important areas.
The iR800’s feature set is more than capable of handling the most demanding home theater, and its attractive physical design is a major plus for those looking for an elegant remote to go with an upscale or modern décor. At a retail price point of $159 USD the iR800 is appropriately priced, but also among stiff competition. If the iR800 appeals to your sense of good style, make sure that you can also live with its limitations. With upgrades to the areas noted, the iR800’s successor could be a strong contender.
- Daniel Tonks (Remote Central)