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Yamaha RAV-2000 Remote Control Review
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Yamaha RAV-2000
Click to enlarge. (66kb)
The battery compartment, which occupies a large portion of the remote's underside, is only secured by a single latch. Thus, it's possible to wiggle the cover back and forth without much effort, a condition likely to worsen as the remote ages and plastic wears. Other molded parts fit cleanly with no rough edges or uneven seams. The remote's four (included) AA batteries are split in the battery case into pairs of two, with a well-labeled reset button positioned between. Tiny, sharp feet on the battery cover tended to press uncomfortably into the palm of my hand.

Other physical items have changed as well. For instance, the serial port has relocated from the bottom right-hand side of the remote to the top-left. A positive change is that the contrast dial and backlight button have shifted closer to the front of the remote, away from a location where accidental usage was commonplace. The original design's four infrared emitters remain, but are spaced unevenly and oddly centered towards the left side of the remote. Despite this change, the RAV-2000 scored identically to all Prontos on our MTFB (Menacing Thick Fluffy Blanket) test, earning a final rating of 3.0.

One step forward, two steps...
Where the new case design really shines is with the volume buttons. I've been lobbying Philips to change their hard button design for a while now, something they only partially got right with the ProntoPro. The RAV-2000 has large, soft, rectangular hard buttons that are fully labeled with their purpose, even if the only illumination comes from the backlight. The original Pronto's two sets of [+] and [-] buttons aren't very intuitive, especially since the mute button is separated from the volume buttons by the channel buttons. The new layout's mute button is located immediately above volume up/down - generally a non-standard arrangement, but as a habitual volume tweaker one that I prefer. Smooth, concave ridges around each button make them easy to find in total darkness and particularly comfortable to press.

Yamaha RAV-2000
Click to enlarge. (45kb)
It's just too bad that this fantastic improvement is crippled by the bizarre decision to replace the channel up/down hard buttons with power on and off. Now, how many times do you turn your system on or off in a session? And how many times do you change channels or tracks? I'm sure the answer is obvious! Yamaha should have made use of the remote's wider format and added power on/off hard buttons to the unused left edge of the case, keeping the industry standard "group of 5" volume and channel buttons intact.

The 320x240 resolution LCD touchscreen is backlit by a smooth aqua green electroluminescent (EL) panel. The five right-side hard buttons are lit with bright yellow LEDs, while the bottom two hard buttons (which are somewhat smaller than those on the Pronto) are not backlit. Power-off timeouts can be set individually for the screen, backlight and hard buttons, however there is no way to have the backlight come on automatically: the backlight button must always be pressed. As the RAV-2000 uses the same brand and model of LCD screen as the TSU2000, contrast levels are identical. Yamaha's default home page sports a large circle that fades from black to white, which only helped highlight the common difficulty of recreating four distinct grayshades with the contrast control - it was essentially impossible to differentiate between more than three shades at a time.

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