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The repeat rate, however, could still use some work: it’s possible to press buttons quickly enough that the remote beeps in confirmation but not enough of a command is transmitted. This is particularly noticeable when quickly punching in a channel number on a keypad, where instead of “250” you may only get “20”.
Fortunately, users should be able to eliminate much of that behavior with the new “Duration” feature, available on the “Add IR Code” screen in ProntoProEdit NG. This is something that has been requested by Pronto owners for years – and it’s finally arrived! Using this it’s possible to set the minimum length of time a code will be transmitted, from 0.01 to 10.00 seconds, in hundredth-of-a-second increments. So, it’ll now be up to the remote to ensure that a code is transmitted long enough, rather than your finger. This feature is also invaluable for owners of projectors or other equipment that require the [Power] button to be held down for several seconds to turn the device on or off. Now at long last these operations can be fully automated in macros.
When we reviewed the TSU3000, macro speed was tested by placing 10 identical Sony volume commands in a macro with no delays between each command. The original TSU2000 took 4 seconds to run this macro, while the TSU3000 took 7 seconds. Testing on the TSU7000, the same macro now takes about 4.5 seconds. Looking at the remote’s output with an infrared sensitive camera, the troubling 0.4 second delay originally added between commands on the TSU3000 has been almost completely removed.
Despite Philips’ efforts to improve the Pronto’s physical design, several nuances are evident. Much like the TSU6000, the TSU7000’s side channel/volume hard buttons 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 it’s less comfortable to hold than the original Pronto’s smoothed concave ergonomic shape that, as a bonus, also sat comfortably on your leg.
Though the TSU3000’s introduction was beset by bugs and several omitted features, but by the time our review was completed almost everything had been resolved. The TSU7000’s release was of course much later than the TSU3000’s, and has benefited from previous TSU3000 development and rigorous beta testing by several Remote Central regulars. Still, there were a few issues: for instance the TSU7000 has always been manufactured with 32 megabytes of flash memory, but initially only shipped with 16mb of that usable. It wasn’t until December 2004 that the full complement of memory was opened up for all owners through a firmware upgrade.
Continuing an excellent design tradition, the TSU7000 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. Also, user reports from TSU3000 owners indicate that the rubbery paint that runs around the sides of the remote can start peeling near the USB and docking connectors if care is not taken.
The ProntoPro NG’s documentation consists of a 68-page bound manual and a 12-page leaflet detailing how to use the remote standalone and install the PC software (but gloss over any actual use of the Pronto’s magic elixir, ProntoProEdit NG). The manual is well written and easy to follow, with plenty of diagrams and screenshots. Software users will be pleased to hear that full online help is provided in ProntoProEdit NG, although it can be difficult to use unless you already know exactly what you’re looking for.