...Continued from Page 1.|
A PDA for couch potatoes?
The TSU2000's physical design is centered around a large LCD display that occupies most of the available footprint. To the right side of the screen, lined vertically along the slender bezel, are five hard buttons for volume, channel and mute functions. Centered beneath the screen and looking something like an aviators' pin, are two additional hard buttons that can be programmed for any function. On the left outside edge of the case towards the top is a backlight button and a contrast wheel for the LCD, plus a serial port jack further down. Flipping the remote over, you'll find a large battery compartment at the top, contacts for the desktop charger in the middle, plus a tiny reset button at the bottom. A dark plastic window on the front edge hides the four powerful infrared emitters, while a miniature window on the bottom edge conceals the single infrared learner.
The simple, elegant physical design of the Pronto leaves little to be desired from an ergonomic standpoint. All edges of the case are rounded off for a comfortable feel. The remote is wedge shaped, starting at 1.0" (2.5cm) thick and 2.8" (7.1cm) wide at the bottom and tapering, over the 5.4" (13.7cm) length, to 1.5" (3.8cm) thick and 3.5" (8.9cm) wide at the top. Overall this gives the Pronto an excellent shape that your hand can grip easily. It may be a little thick, but the back of the remote is curved inwards in a concave manner, forming a shape that lends itself to resting securely on a leg or couch armrest - but without rubber feet it's not well suited to tabletop use. Weight is a feather-light 6.5oz without batteries, but grows to 9.5oz once you've added the four required AA power cells. If you're using the rechargeable battery pack, the tally increases by half an ounce.
Color is now only skin deep.
The new TSU2000 differs from the original model in that the case is no longer a solid pigmented deep blue/green color - the new model is a rich metallic silver coating, spray-painted on white plastic. Silver seems to be the "couleur du jour" for electronic companies in the new millennium and is rapidly replacing black, much like gold did in Europe a few years back. While the original TS-1000's blue/green appearance was innovative (and could even be described as "mysterious" due to its habit of changing under different light sources), the new silver look is more trendy and should match any décor.
The first painted Pronto variations suffered from excessive wear marks, but to correct that problem a new paint has been formulated which seems to provide, in my opinion, a harder surface. One thing I do notice on the new model is that the finish is more textured than that on my Marantz RC5000. Although I never found the TS-1000 difficult to grip, I do feel that its smooth plastic case would have benefited from the grippy tactile coating that has recently found its way onto a large number of remotes. The textured paint on the TSU2000 feels like an acceptable compromise between these two materials.