The following page was printed from RemoteCentral.com:
User reviews for the Monster Central 100 from Monster Cable.
Average: 4.33/5.00 Median: 4.33/5.00
The Monster Home Theater Controller 100 includes many advanced features but is simple to operate and configure thanks to its intuitive interface and online setup. It includes a bright color 2.3" LCD screen with 8 adjacent hard buttons plus rechargable lithium ion battery and docking cradle.
The reviewer has used this remote control for under 1 month.
Review 1 made on Wednesday January 3, 2007 at 11:42 PM.
Pronto TS1000 - Chameleon
Easy to program. Superior build quality. Well balanced. Solid feel. True Joystick manipulation and good PVR key placement with well designed button layout.
Poor color screen resolution. Owners manual is weak. A little pricey. Some of Harmony 880 graphic features missing--for now. NO remote back-up
I am replacing a Pronto TS1000. It worked great, but my family will not use it. They like the hard buttons. I looked over the RC forum and reviews here and elsewhere. I was seriously considering the Logitech 880, but found too many issues with quality control. I did not want to pay the high price for some of the other highly rated remotes. I settled on the Monster MCC AV 100. I got it for a reasonable price $250 from Circuit City. Available from them (it appears) only ONLINE.
Build quality: Compared to the Harmony 880—there is no comparison. It costs more for a good reason. Buttons are solid with superb tactile response. A little small, but still usable and mostly the same size or larger than the 880. The look and feel of this unit is very solid. It has a balance that feels good in your hand and makes it easy to handle. The backlighting is excellent. The main control keys have different shapes which makes using it in the dark, even without my glasses possible. With the Pronto I ALWAYS NEEDED MY GLASSES.
Online Site Software interface: I bought a Harmony 676 for my father-in-law and was using BOTH the Monster and Logitech sites concurrently. This was a frustrating experience for me (and I know computers). But the Monster site was more intuitive. Also Monster was easier to use and MUCH more responsive. For example, on the Logitech site, in the activity “button” set up screen, I could only see 2 other devices on the screen. I had to move to the right to see my other 2 devices and then back to the left to see my remote; back and forth—THIS IS STUPID DESIGN. The Monster site allows me to see 4 devices all on the same screen at the same time. Much easier to use. And don’t underestimate the importance of this--you will spend a GREAT deal of time in this screen. Don’t get me wrong, the Monster site needs some taming too. But when I update my remote, I don’t need to sit there and hit “next” over and over again. When I hit update, it goes through the entire procedure with ONE click. I found the Monster site more professionally set up and more intuitive.
I think that for BOTH Monster and Harmony to have NO ability to save even ONE backup is unconscionable. This is BASIC computer 101. To have to use a workaround for this is silly.
Usability: The Monster AV 100 would be more like an 880Pro, having the “Picture” and “Surround” buttons, which I have yet to program or experiment with. I probably would do something with these keys IF I HAD A BACKUP PLAN!!
The major differences between the 880 and AV100 (aside from build quality) is in key layout. There is the “joystick” at the center of the unit which allows the Monster to have the primary motion keys all in ONE convenient location--especially if you have a PVR to control. And this joystick functions in a superior way to the “faux-stick” of the 676/680.
Also if you are controlling a PVR the “page up/down” buttons (though poorly positioned) are helpful. There are 2 additional buttons “a & b” that can be used and if you have Verizon Fios are already programmed for that units “gadget” programs. There is also a “previous” button that appears missing on the 880. Obviously, any of these can be programmed to the “screen” keys, but one prefers to have these available on the main keyboard.
Some on the RC site have described the Monster as “ugly”. It certainly does not have the sexy curves of the 880, but remember it IS A MONSTER. But in reality it actually has a rather masculine handsome appearance. It is very solid in your hand and the backlighting is very usable. The buttons are a little too little, but there is a good tactile feel AND the shapes make this an easy remote to use in the dark. I also like where the volume and channel buttons are placed as opposed to where they are on the 880.
IR Range: I do not have Daniel T's. dreaded blanket test. I do know that this remote does NOT have the range and power of my Pronto. But I can be 15-20 feet away and not aiming directly at the unit and still control it.
On the downside, Monster does not yet have the ability to download “favorite” channels nor can one make the screen look as fancy with great icons that are available for the Logitech 880. If that is what rings your bell, then get the 880. However, Monster will make these features available (according to their support) in the near future. Screen needs higher resolution, and ability to customize font size.
Also, I do not understand WHY I cannot tell the remote the exact order I want devices to turn on OR to send certain commands to devices BEFORE I turn on another device. Is this a MONSTER KILLER?—NO! There are simple workarounds. All of this is a function of the Harmony/Logitech software used by Monster (albeit with a superior interface)
The “Users Manual” is a joke. It tells you how to load your software, and put in the battery and get online, but not much else. If you have NO experience with programming a remote, you might not know where to start once you get on the site. Just make sure you have the correct model numbers for ALL the devices you wish to control when you go to their site, and I suggest that if this is your FIRST time, limit the number of devices you program to 2 or 3 at first. You can always add the others later. Just don’t try to start with everything you own—you might just get buried.
I should also address the “cradle” issue. The Monster has 2 contacts (gold) matching 2 on the cradle. After only a few weeks, I am yet to experience the problems described by the 880 users. I place my cradle on a flat surface and “slide” my remote onto the cradle, get the “beep” and see the “Monster House” logo—so far, so good.
Speaking of SUPPORT—I have called them twice and emailed them twice—around the holidays--and received excellent response. I have not always gotten the answer I wanted, but I did get an accurate response. But to offer full disclosure, I have not really challenged them with any really thorny issues.
Ease of Programming: I have only had the Monster for a few weeks now. But I could do more with this unit in a few hours, than I could with the Pronto in a few weeks. No, this unit is NOT as flexible as the Pronto, but if you are looking for lots of hard buttons and a great deal of usability, this is certainly an excellent choice. If you have a really complex system, then the limitations of the “Logitech” online system could present some challenges. But then there is this group of experts hanging around at RC that can handle almost anything you can throw at them—and since the BASIC programming functions for the Monster are the same as the Harmony 880 their solutions should work 99% of the time.
Summary: I removed all the device remotes, AND the Pronto. It took about 60 seconds to show my wife how to use it. She would NOT use the Pronto, except to turn all the devices on or off (macros). NOW she uses ONLY the Monster and likes it. Same with my children—who are adults and visit now and then to do their laundry. Yes, the Monster is more costly, (look online for some deals) but with this relatively new remote, there will be more to come, since this is a software driven remote, and I am convinced that this is a good choice and in my opinion, worth the premium over the Logitech 880.