If remotes were given out as prescriptions to home-theater-stressed patients, I’m sure the ads would go something like "more doctors recommend remotes with Learnallium than any other medication". That goes doubly so on this site! You just never know if a device you have now – or pick up a year from now – will be fully covered by a remote with only pre-programmed codes. A few years ago you would have had to spend several hundred dollars if you were even curious about learning remotes. They were strictly high end. Right now, there’s a number of products that come in at well under $100 USD – right where the Home Logic UR362, the subject of this review, is situated.
The UR362 is one of a growing number of remotes that only support learning codes. There’s absolutely no pre-programmed library of functions, meaning every single button must be taught. While I certainly appreciate the ability to place whatever function I like on wherever button I want, this type of configuration is a long and sometimes tedious procedure. Nor can a learning-only remote ever be classified as a true replacement, since you’ll always need to keep your originals available to learn from. If one breaks or is lost... well, if you don’t have it the UR362 simply can’t do it.
The bigger... the better?
Physically the UR362 is a big remote, measuring 2.5" wide, 8.75" long and over an inch thick. The visible face of the remote is covered by translucent buttons in a mostly logical arrangement – I say mostly because the keypad is not in the standard telephone layout. Instead it is on three rows, with 1-4 on the first, 5-8 on the second, and 9-0 +10 and Enter buttons on the third. There really shouldn’t be any need to rearrange what is already an industry standard arrangement; it will take some getting used to. In fact, Rotel’s version of the same remote – the RR969 – was modified to include a regular keypad layout. Above the keypad are buttons to control ten different components – that’s right, ten! Preset labels include AUX1, TUNER, VCR, CBL, TV, AUX2, AV, CD, DVD and SAT. A nice allotment, doubly so as the learning capabilities don’t limit you to using a single device under a specific label.
Above the device buttons is a moderately sized but very informative backlit LCD screen which displays programming aids, the current device, plus the time and date. Below the keypad on the left side are traditional transport controls including dedicated chapter skip buttons. To the right is what initially appears to be a directional menu control, but is in fact not. Despite the presence of four arrows and a [MENU] button in close proximity, this is designed only for volume and channel functions. Although there’s a nice indentation in the middle which fits my thumb perfectly and would be idea location for "Enter", that function does not exist – it’s strictly four-way. This wouldn’t stop you from programming whatever functions you prefer on it, but you would lose volume functions, – to which there are no other logical locations.