The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 2 made on Sunday February 26, 2006 at 12:28 PM.
MX-500 on steroids. RF capability (although this feature isn't relevant to me).
Button material doesn't appear to be as durable as "gemstone" style buttons. Time will tell. Given the unit's vast macro capabilities, the manual pays scant attention to this feature.
The MX-650 must not be very popular, given the number of reviews here (two counting this one), but it's a nice step up from the MX-500. I got it mainly because it allows four pages of LCD commands per device vs. two for the MX-500. The fact that it has the potential for 900+ macros with 190 steps per macro is kind of ridiculous, really, but . . . whatever. The few that I do use (seven) I put on left and right buttons so that the macro name can be more meaningful -- 10 characters instead of five. I'll try to elaborate: I labelled one device key "macro" and page 1 of that device has five commands, spread over the 10 keys. Page 2 has two more commands, or macros. The "real" devices use three and four pages of LCD commands.
Like the other reviewer, I have a Mac and didn't want to get into the messy area of Windows emulators in order to use a PC programmable remote. Besides, my remote needs are pretty straightforward. The MX-650 does everything required of it and does it well. The buttons have been rejigged a bit, mainly for the good. There are no longer any universal hard button macro keys (there were three on the MX-500). No great loss, I guess.
The new list of codes I found to be useful since they contained numerous discrete codes for my Sony LCD TV (On, Off, and Inputs 1-6) and Panasonic DVD recorder (On, Off). Otherwise, most commands have been taught -- a simple process with this remote.
One more thing: the backlight now works like it should. With the MX-500 in certain light conditions the backlight made the LCD letters HARDER to read, not easier.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 1 made on Sunday October 9, 2005 at 12:58 PM.
1) Lots of buttons 2) Lots of macros 3) Good egronomics 4) Improved back lighting 5) RF
1) No PC programming 2) Only 5 letters on LCD per button
The MX-650 fills out the remaining options in the MX-500, 600, 700, & 800/850. Line. Here's the breakdown: MX-500: 10 Devices, limited macros, no RF, no PC programming MX-600: 10 Devices, limited macros, RF, no PC programming MX-700: 20 Devices, tons of macros, no RF, PC programming MX-800: 20 Devices, tons of macros, RF, PC programming. MX-850: 20 Devices, tons of macros, RF, PC programming, newer ergonomics.
MX-650: 20 Devices, tons of macros, RF, no PC programming, newer ergonomics
Basically the MX-650 has the power of the MX-700/800s (better back-light and other touches) without the PC programming. Or the power of the MX-850 without the PC-programming for a lot less money.
The MX-650 gives you two pages of ten devices with each device having 32 hard buttons and 40 (4 pages x 10 buttons) customizable LCD buttons the latter of which can be macros. That's a lot of buttons and macros. To make things more manageable you can hide any of the pages you like. You can also get dual use out of the LCD and power buttons by having them send a single signal when pressed and released or by sending a macro when pressed and held.
Ergonically the remote retains the MX standard which seems quite popular. Like recent Universal Remote entries this remote does without the Chapter skip buttons but adds Menu, Exit, Guide, and Info buttons. DVD users can just asign the Chapter buttons to the Channel buttons (which aren't otherwise used) and come out nicely. TiVo folk aren't so lucky. I use the two bottom buttons on the LCD screen for Advance and Replay instead of the Chapter Skip buttons like on my old MX-500. Not a big deal.
This remote also uses a separate Select button on the 4-way cursor pad. Apparently some people had difficulty pushing select on the old style which had the select button as a part of the cursor pad. Personally I find the new Select button a little low and slightly difficult to depress. Not an improvement (no worse either) for me but perhaps others will like it.
The back-light, however, is greatly improved. With the older remotes you were unable to really see the LCD screen in low light even when using the back-light. With the MX-650 (and MX-850) they've employed a new approach which works perfectly. Also the hard buttons are laser etched which allows for the light to shine through them as well. The improved back-lighting is very welcome.
It might seem odd that one of the cons I listed was the lack of PC programming given that this is what sets it apart fromt the other remotes so let me explain. With so many devices and buttons one is presumably going to do a lot of hefty progamming. For instance making the remote into two different remotes one device page with simpler functionality and the other page with more complete options, a full activity based remote, or even using the second page of devices to control your 400 disc DVD mega-changer with each LCD button representing a disc in the changer. The point is that with this much power and programming available you are going to make mistakes. You can plan everything out in detail but eventually your system will change. With PC programming making massive changes is easy. Without it, tedious. With the MX-500 & 600 this wasn't such a big deal since you have half as many devices and a fourth as many LCD buttons so making big changes, though annoying, is relatively magageable.
So why choose this over the MX-700 or 800? Perhaps the price? You can save over the MX-850 but the MX-700 and 800s are both in the same ballpark so I don't think that's a good reason. For me it's because I don't have a PC with Windows on it and don't want to spend the money buying an MS operating system just so I can program the remote. Mac users are in the same boat. So I wanted a really powerful remote that did not have to be PC programmed.
A final note, this remote has an updated IR database that includes many discrete codes (my Sony DVD mega-changer was included, for example).
This is a very powerful remote with more buttons and macros than most of us will ever need. It feels and looks good. It operates as good or better than you might expect. I highly recommend it provided you are prepared for the progamming times ahead of you.