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Philips Pronto NG TSU3000 Review
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Philips Pronto NG TSU3000
Click to enlarge. (89kb)
That thick fluffy thing!
After the hours, days, weeks or months you may spend configuring the remote, it’ll be nice to finally use it! So how well does the TSU3000 perform in the real world? We’ll begin answering that with our exclusive Menacing Thick Fluffy Blanket (MTFB) infrared strength test. In this, the bane of every infrared operated device’s existence, we nonchalantly place ever-thicker layers of a specially selected blue polyester blanket over the remote’s emitters, until it can finally emit no more.

We’ve seen a wide range of performances so far, scoring everything from a meagre 0.5 to an extraordinary “that’s not a remote, that’s an invisible flashlight” 5.0. Previously, various models of the Pronto have scored between 2.5 and 3.0. Will the new-and-improved TSU3000’s four widely spaced infrared emitters be able to improve on those past results?

The test starts at level one – child’s play for most every clicker. The TSU3000 was no exception, providing full and unfettered control. Next we come to level 2, where we double the obstruction. Most remotes that pass level 1 also get by level 2, so it was no surprise that once again the TSU3000 came through with flying colors. Level 3... where many a remote has meet its match and succumbed to the sheer force of the blanket’s unbearable fluffocity, once again, the TSU3000 rose to the challenge and experienced no problems! Although its horizontal range was reduced, the remote still offered reliable control.

Faced with level 4, which only a handful of remotes have ever passed, the Pronto NG finally admitted defeat. Although I was able to send out a signal at half the standard distance, the remote failed to transmit anything usable from the normal testing point, giving it a finally tally of 3.0. Although it didn’t score higher than previous Pronto models, as any Pronto owner will tell you the remote has fantastic range and “bounce effect”. The TSU3000 should control your components with ease, while pointing almost anywhere!

Philips Pronto NG TSU3000
Click to enlarge. (32kb)
Power & performance.
The Pronto NG TSU3000 employs the Mitsubishi M16C80 processor running at 20MHz. Although clocked only 4MHz faster than the original Pronto, the new Pronto NG feels much faster – providing that all animation has been disabled. Changing to a new panel seems at least 50 percent faster, and that impression is bolstered by quicker and more orderly drawing of on-screen elements (with the original Pronto you could watch each new button being drawn before the old background was wiped out).

However, not everything is up to snuff: macros and infrared code transmissions are less snappy. To test this, I created a macro on both the TSU2000 and TSU3000 that contained 10 aliases to a cleanly learned Sony volume control, with absolutely no delays between each command. With the TSU2000 this macro took 4 seconds to run, but on the TSU3000 it took over 7 seconds.

Comparing both remote’s output with an infrared sensitive camera, the Pronto NG is adding a significant delay between each step, even when no manual delay is specified. While the old Pronto had essentially no pause between commands, the TSU3000 now waits approximately 0.4 seconds between each transmission. Although it may not sound like much, this added time makes long macros feel lethargic. This may have been done for reliability purposes, as some devices can’t handle sequential commands with delays, but the designers should remember that it’s always possible to add a delay if needed, but users can’t take away something that’s hard coded. Interestingly, this unwanted impediment only occurs with infrared commands – a macro made solely of beeps suffered no extraneous delays.

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