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A brand new face.
Philips’ TSU3000 sports a fresh design that’s completely different from the Pronto TSU2000 or ProntoPro TSU6000. The chic new case has a larger footprint than either previous model, but is thinner and lighter. The TSU3000 measures 3.6” wide, 6.1” long and 1.1” thick (9.2cm by 15.6cm by 2.8cm), compared to the TSU2000’s dimensions of 3.6” by 5.4” by 1.4” (9.2cm by 13.8cm by 3.6cm) or the TSU6000’s measurements of 3.7” by 5.5” by 1.3” (9.4cm by 14.0cm by 3.3cm). The Pronto NG weighs 6.8 ounces (195 grams) without batteries, or 8.6 ounces (244 grams) with, about 9% lighter than the TSU2000.
The remote is vaguely rectangular in shape, with softly rounded corners. The bottom third of the unit is curved more than the top, while the vertical sides taper inwards by a half inch creating an easy-to-hold wedge shape. Gone is the ProntoPro’s elegant charcoal and silver “memories of TS-1000” motif that updated while echoing its predecessor’s Palo Alto sculpted heritage. In its place, Philips has come up with something that, though modern in a translucent blueberry iMac sort of way, doesn’t seem quite as upscale.
The entire case and most of the hard buttons are finished in metallic silver, with the name “Philips” embossed at the top. A wide grey band coated with a rubbery paint runs around three sides of the remote. The thick bezel encircling the LCD touchscreen is made of a translucent blue-grey plastic, as are the four adjoining multi-purpose hard buttons. Inset into the top of the bezel is a thin clear strip that allows light to shine through on a sensor.
The blue bezel continues lower on the remote to envelop an additional four firm-feeling silver-colored hard buttons, positioned on the outer corners of a large four-way menu pad. Located along the right edge of the remote are five large hard buttons for volume up/down, channel up/down and mute. Additionally, near the top of the remote’s left side are three non-customizable hard buttons: one to activate the display and/or backlight, plus a toggle for LCD page up and down.
The front of the remote is mainly covered by a full-width glossy dark plastic shield, concealing four infrared emitters. Inset into the bottom of the shield is another smaller window for the infrared learning eye. The TSU3000 sits flat on a table without an angle, and has two small rubber feet on the back.
The TSU3000’s predominant feature is a large LCD touchscreen measuring 2.3” wide by 3.1” long (5.9cm by 7.9cm) and 3.8” diagonally (9.7cm). The black-and-white dot-matrix display supports a resolution of 240 by 320 pixels, the same as the original Pronto, but has upped the number of grey shades from 4 to 16. This gives the Pronto NG far superior graphical capabilities, as coarse dithering is practically non-existent. Images can now contain smooth shading and fine details that were simply impossible to achieve before. Color would have been even better, but...
More buttons: always welcome!
As you’ve seen from the description above, the Pronto NG answers one of the biggest “wants” voiced by prior Pronto owners: more hard buttons! Despite the highly practical and configurable graphical touchscreen, most users still prefer to put oft-used functions on solid buttons that can be hit without glancing at a screen. The first Pronto had a total of 8 hard buttons including the backlight button. The ProntoPro upped the ante to 10, but the TSU3000 doubles that all the way to 20!
The group of four buttons immediately below the display are unlabeled and designed to correspond with four customizable on-screen text labels. These can be convenient for common functions – Fast Forward, Play, Pause and Rewind for a DVD player, or Jump, PIP, Display and Format for a rear projection television.