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The BDQ – Button Density Quotient
The Kameleon 8’s touch control surface is ample, measuring 1.88” wide and 8.18” long (4.8cm by 20.9cm) at its biggest points, and now sports a total of 58 keys. That’s 5 more buttons than the 15-2133. Despite this, the total surface area has been reduced from the Radio Shack version by over 29%, resulting in an increase of button density from 2.9 per square inch to 4.4 per square inch.
That change in density shows as smaller keys packed closer together, with very little white space between. In general, the Kameleon 8’s button size should be satisfactory even for those with large fingers, but without a defined edge around each key it’s easy to press just to the side of what you want and accidentally hit an adjacent button. Handle with finesse!
The Master Key
Let’s take a look at button layout. Beginning from the top of the remote, 8 device selection keys are arranged in a circle around a larger 9th key, reserved for the special Home Theater mode. Although the remote is only designed to operate 8 individual devices, this “9th device” merges control of several components onto a single screen (more on this later). The 8 device buttons have icons (or labels) for Satellite/Cable, CD, TV, DVD, Audio, VCR, PVR and Aux. Three of these keys – VCR, PVR and AUX – are smaller and closer together than the other five.
Most device icons utilize a three-stage animation effect to indicate that they’re the active component, such as scrolling lines in a TV or a spinning disc, while simpler ones merely flash their name on and off. Radiating outwards and upwards around the device keys is an animated transmission icon that displays whenever a command is held down or a macro plays back. This kind of indicator is normally small – but in this remote it’s the largest I’ve seen!
Immediately below the device keys is a wide [Power] button, and just down from that is a [Scroll] key used to change display pages under most devices. Below the [Scroll] key is a dual-labeled [PVR VOD/Preset] button that looks like a normal command key, but is also used to change pages. Two adjacent buttons, [Home] on the left and [Fav] on the right, are reserved for special functions.
Nearby is a standard pair of volume and channel rockers, topped off with [Mute], [Last] and [Format/Replay] buttons. Next up is a 5-way menu cursor, with an additional 6 surrounding multi-purpose buttons. The cursor pad doubles as surround sound controls for A/V receivers. Below that is a standard 10-digit/12-key numeric keypad, which also serves as receiver input controls. A horizontal bar offering direct access to four system macros follows, then a grouping of regular DVD/PVR/VCR transport controls. Finally, at the very bottom of the remote and positioned close to the aluminum bezel, is a [Setup] button used to access the remote’s configuration menu.
Of the 58 available buttons, up to 40 distinct keys encompassing almost every practical function can be used under each device. DVR users will be particularly pleased by the inclusion of dedicated [Page +/-], [Channel +/-], [Chapter +/-] and [Fast Forward/Rewind] keys. Beyond the 40 command keys, 4 keys are used for macros, 9 select devices, and 5 are reserved for system-only functions (non-customizable).