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Despite Philipsí efforts to improve the Prontoís physical design, I find that I still prefer the feel of the original remote. For instance, the side hard buttons on the TSU3000 may have grown larger, but they barely stick up above the case, lacking adequate tactile sensation and differentiation for feel-by-finger operation. The new perfectly flat back may have resulted in a thinner remote, but itís less comfortable to hold than the original concave shape that, as a bonus, also sat comfortably on your leg.
One operational behavior I find distracting is that whenever a hard button is pressed, the LCD screen and (if configured) backlight turns on. This is simply not needed for actions like changing channels or adjusting the volume; it both wastes battery power and can cause an annoyance while watching movies in a dark room. The screen can already be activated by tapping it or using the backlight/page buttons, so why have this as well? Also, when the remote is powered down pressing the lower hard buttons will activate the screen, but not transmit their assigned command until pushed once again. This does not happen on the volume and channel keys.
Continuing one beneficial design tradition, the TSU3000 is exceptionally sturdy with absolutely no lateral twisting possible, however a thin strip of plastic along the right side of the remote near the buttons could be flexed inwards. Additionally, early user reports have indicated that the rubbery grey paint that runs around the sides of the remote can start peeling near the USB and docking connectors if care is not taken.
The Prontoís documentation consists of a shiny 56-page bound manual that details how to use the remote standalone, but glosses over the ProntoEdit NG application Ė the Prontoís magic elixir. Nevertheless, the manual is well written and easy to follow, with plenty of diagrams and screenshots. Full online help is provided in ProntoEdit NG, although itís difficult to use unless you already know exactly what youíre looking for.
The last word.
Click to enlarge. (103kb)
In spite of the issues discussed in this review, the TSU3000 is most certainly a technical and functional improvement over the already popular Pronto TSU2000. There may have been a few noticeably rough edges at the beginning, but many of them have been smoothed out. With improvements to macro and command performance, most of the remaining glitches come down to minor nuances. And, as the TSU3000 is fully software upgradeable, we can all look forward to continuing developments from Philips.
Although the Pronto NG is the only recent contender in a class that Philips themselves helped create, Iím not going to recommend it just because itís essentially the only choice out there. Iím recommending the TSU3000 because itís an excellent remote control, capable of controlling even the most demanding home theater system with ease. More hard buttons for less page flipping, a much clearer display, RF capabilities and Ė finally Ė a completely customizable user interface. All very good stuff, and nothing will beat the feeling youíll get when you finally use a Pronto thatís been fully customized to your exact needs.
If youíve been waiting to purchase the TSU3000, pat yourself on the back with one hand for your astute patience and pull out your credit card with the other Ė because if you like the thought of designing your own layout, thereís no mid-range remote better than the Philips Pronto NG TSU3000.
- Daniel Tonks (Remote Central)