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A properly thought out remote will probably take a couple of hours to initially program from scratch, with another half hour or so of final tweaking. Remotes based on pre-configured devices will take significantly less effort. This is an especially low development time for what, in the end, feels like a very polished home theater interface.
The great thing with the MX-700 is that it’s a quick-access remote. Every command from every device in a large system can be just a few button clicks away. With up to 44 commands available at once, very little “page flipping” is necessary. Not only is the MX-700 conceptually fast, but it operates fast as well, with instant-gratification button presses and speedy macros. Infrared signal strength turned out to be identical to the MX-500, rating a strong 4.5 on our MTFB test.
That’s the manual?
When dealers buy a three-pack of MX-700 remotes, it doesn’t come with three comprehensive manuals. Remember, the MX-700 is designed to be programmed by professionals – it even says so right on the case. Thus, the only documentation meant to go along with the remote is a 2.8 by 8.4 inch (7.2cm by 21.4cm) 16-page “brochure” that describes (briefly) how to use the remote’s features, but not how to make any changes.
For that, programmers must turn to the laminated wire-bound full-color 64-page “Guide to Programming the MX-700 Dual Remote System” manual, or download an electronic format over the Internet. This professionally-written comprehensive guidebook explains everything involved in programming the remote, and even offers advanced tips on how to deal with clients that can’t figure out the remote (or their A/V system).
And if that’s not enough, Universal Remote has gone so far as to create an interactive tutorial that integrates with MX Editor and actually shows exactly how to perform each step leading to a perfect remote. Now that’s true dedication to customer education!
Need some numbers to demonstrate the kind of power the MX-700 has? 20 devices... up to 870 customizable 5-character labels... up to 912 macros with 190 steps each... up to 1534 learned or preprogrammed device functions. With that kind of clout, the MX-700’s price doesn’t look quite as high, especially when compared to some of the other solutions in the industry that sell for anywhere up to four figures.
Ironically, the only real competition in the hard buttoned remote category to Universal Remote Control’s excellent MX-700 is... another of their own products! Unfortunately, it was Universal Remote Control themselves who spoiled us with the low-cost and nearly as powerful MX-500. Compared to this price/performance leader, the MX-700 unsurprisingly looks like an extravagance.
But as a high-end product, viewed by itself and with its target market in perspective, you simply can’t find a more powerful or enjoyable to use remote than the Home Theater Master MX-700. Universal Remote Control is demonstrating that, not only can they come up with and manufacture class-leading products, but they actually listen to what their customers have to say. I can’t wait to see what else they’ll come up with!
- Daniel Tonks (Remote Central)