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User reviews for the Complete Control MX-810 from Universal Remote Control Inc.
Average: 3.75/5.00 Median: 4.00/5.00
The MX-810 from URC is a computer programmable remote control that features new easy-to-use wizard-driven software. On the hardware side it includes a bright color LCD screen, narrow band RF with MSC-400 compatibility, 4 megabytes of memory and a rechargeable lithium ion battery.
The reviewer has used this remote control for under 1 month.
Review 4 made on Monday October 6, 2008 at 2:21 PM.
MX-700, Harmony 880, Harmony One, Various JP1's
Superb build quality. And for me, the best button layout available. extensive database of devices-learns the others easily by marking all the buttons needed and then learning one after the other- takes about 3 minutes to learn 30 buttons. great backlighting with several options to control. RECHARGEABLE. AUTO SENSOR for backlighting.
almost nonexistant. a charging cradle would be nice. and documentation on using the software-especially the universal brower.
The best feature of all: The MX-810 only turns on the devices you need for a particular activity-not everything. And then it remembers what it has turned on and only turns off what it has turned on. WONDERFUL!
The universal browser is a pain at first but offers a lot:
On the right side of the browser you select your device or activity to receive a code or series of codes (macro). A single click to select the device or activity AND then a single click on the intended button will establish the change globally on ALL devices or activities (one or the other-if you want it on both, you must program each)
A double click on the device or activity makes the new instruction unique to that device or activity! In fact, after double clicking, you then have access to work with the soft buttons as well. OUTSTANDING!
The browser turns out will do a lot of things: change the name of devices and activities, import the setups from other Universal remotes that have been created with the Editor-even the Prontos setups can be opened and used in the browser. Have a hex code for something-just paste it in the hex editor, select the button to receive it and drag it to the "action list".
When I got stumped trying to figure out global macros from device specific ones-(single click for global, double click for specific) a call to tech support solved my problem in 30 seconds after holding for about a minute.
Hands down the most "family friendly" setup yet. Just press the button beside what you want to do and the remote's buttons control the underlying device that you selected during setup. 6 soft buttons are available for special things like "subtitles" or "open/close" during DVD playback. (actually up to 8 pages of 6 commands are available and you may choose to "hide" all but page 1).
Just hit "OFF" at the conclusion of your session. The remote automatically goes to page 1 of "activities" ready for the next session without having to hunt for a starting point.
The setup takes a little longer than some others. The wizard is so different from the MX editor but was well worth it in my case.
The reviewer has used this remote control for under 1 month.
Review 3 made on Tuesday June 3, 2008 at 6:41 PM.
MX-500, MX-700, various Harmony (briefly!)
The hardware itself: 1) Near-perfect button layout 2) Good button feedback 3) Nice form factor 4) Good battery life 5) Bright LCD & good backlit buttons 6) 'Devices' & 'Activities' buttons mostly good for guests, etc 7) Strong IR signal (as always with URC) 8) On-remote 'Help' works reasonably well 9) Center 'SEL' button is very functional and a pleasure to use -- which is a big improvement over the older MX models.
The hardware itself: 1) (Major) The soft buttons corresponding with the LCD at the top of the remote are not at all easy to depress. There are raised bumps between the buttons and you have to get in there with your fingertip/nail to depress far enough to engage. MX-500, etc. was much better in this regard! 2) Volume (and channel) buttons are pretty far away from the 'sweet spot' of this remote; making it difficult for people with smaller hands to access the buttons (used most) easily. 3) Volume (and channel) buttons are not distinctive enough feeling to use confidently without looking at the remote (at least during early ownership). 4) (Can be a problem) In my opinion the Nav. ring around the SEL button doesn't actually perform as well as the older MX models. Quickly clicking it seems to 'missfire' (not register clicks) more often than previous models. This also seems to be the case to a lesser degree with ALL of the buttons. 5) (Minor) Tiny On and Off buttons. They look good, but would be hard to see for guests who don't know where they might be located. 6) (Minor) I question the choice (by all manufacturers) to put the Devices button next to the Activities button. Devices are for advanced users and could be placed anywhere else on the remote so as to not be accidentally pressed by guests. 7) (Minor)Sometimes you have to shake the remote like a rattle to turn back on the lighting if it times out while you're staring dumbly at it.
The Main review section I will devote mostly to the software of the MX-810. Trust me, it needs the space!
I've included what I've discovered using the software partially as a tip sheet, so I apologize if it's way too detailed or has items of no interest for the casual reader.
At first I thought that people gave the sw bad reviews because they were just used to the older MX sw -- which was hard to pick up initially, but then rock solid thereafter. Unfortunately, that's not the case. The concept of the MX-810 ProWizard is mostly sound, but the implementation is somewhat poor.
This is what I've found so far:
***NICE*** 1) Great IMPORT functionality when setting up devices. This is especially handy because I guarantee you will be starting from scratch multiple times, and if you can import devices you've already polished up it will save a lot of time. 2) The Tune Up page allowing you to Rename, Copy and Learn isn't half bad at all. 3) 'Download to Remote' functionality works soundly and reasonably quickly. 4) Software has been stable for me. No crashes. 5) The MX-810 software will notify you when there is a new release (pray it will be soon and major :)
***UNFORGIVABLE*** Once a device and an activity for that device have been created, ANY subsequent changes to the button layout on either the Device or the Activity will NOT be reflected in the other. So make sure the source devices are laid out exactly how you want them before creating the activities. If you want to make major changes to a device after the fact, I recommend deleting the affected activity(s) and recreating the activity so the new buttons are integrated. (Creating activities are pretty quick compared to going into the activity's layout and reproducing all of the changes.) If you do this, remember you will lose any custom mods that you might have made directly in the activity's layout.
***MAJOR*** Weirdness in the Activities Macro List. (A) When you create devices like TiVo, the Acitivies Macro List inserts items such as "ADD TiVo Favorites" for each device that you may want an activity for (Watch TV, Listen to Radio, etc.). If you select one of the auto-created Activities and hit Delete the item is removed from the list - but not removed permanently. When you bring back up the list after exiting, those activities will be back. (B) 24 Activities are allowed in list (the sw doesn't tell you when you've exceeded this). (C) If you've reached 24 activities in the list (including the auto created ones) and you wish to add a new activity of your own in place of an auto-created one, you MUST delete the auto created activity and then add the new activity on the same page before hitting the next button or your new activity WILL NOT be added.
***IRRITATING*** 1) Super irritating, actually. I spent 2 days with the software before I saw a small note in the Help documentation that says you can rename activities using the Universal Browser. Worse yet, the note was in regards to modifying 'Favorites' -- not regular activities. Thank god it works for all activities. This software MUST provide a more direct (and more visible) way to rename Activities!!
2) When running the Wizard you can't name an Activity the exact same as a Device. For example, if you name both your Device 'DVD' and an Activity 'DVD', the Activity will show up as 'DVD(2)'. Luckily, you can rename it using the all-powerful Universal Browser... but you shouldn't need to!!
3) My goal when programming this device is to make it as simple and readable as possible. I can understand that the default theme is stylish so that you can start with a sexy screen. However, I don't want to use any icons at all with my remote because it detracts from the text's readability. My complaint is that there is no checkbox that gives you the option of 'No Icons'. Instead, you must drag the 'blank' icon (located on the All Icons tab) to every single activity and device. And if you add a new Activity, you most assuredly will forget to make it blank before downloading to the remote!
4) Poor WYSIWYG with soft button naming. It's a nightmare getting the proper line wrap with longer labels -- especially with Large Fonts. It's common for the word to be shown correctly in the sw, but then look completely wrong on the remote.
5) The File Save functionality is baffling. It's confusing to know when to hit the save button. I know that sounds stupid, but you may agree once you use it. -- No 'Save As' button, which forces you to save it in the same file - overwriting what may be your only copy. -- No 'Dirty' state, which means it always asks you to save on exit. Any application worth it's salt will only prompt you to save if you have made new changes since the last save.
6) No 'Upload from Remote' functionality (so archive backups of your files!).
7) 'High Contrast' theme is ugly. It will probably be used quite a bit in the Device pages for its readability. I've actually replaced the colors in the .png files for that theme to make them a little more pleasing to the eye. It would be nice if URC surfaced that funtionality to the remote programmer...
8) 'Customization' screen is poorly laid out. Hard to know what to hit and when to get to the area you want to change. Bad dialog flow. I would recommend four menu options when the 'Customization' button is hit (so it works like the Tune Up button). The options could be: 1) Select Theme for Devices 2) Select Theme for Activities 3) Configure Icons for Devices 4) Configure Icons for Activies ... where the 'Next' button on each of these takes you back to the referenced four options
9) The Universal Browser may be useful for renaming activities, but I'll be darned if I know how to use it for anything else. It would be nice if the HELP button worked, but pressing on it does nothing!
10) Help documentation is generally very weak. No hints, no heads ups, just mostly parroting exactly what is on the dialogs themselves.
***CAUTION*** When moving buttons around in the "Copy commands from one device to another" screen if you move items onto the unnumbered page (called the scratchpad), you will LOSE the buttons placed there when you exit the screen. So only COPY buttons there because if you MOVE them to the scratchpad they're gone. (If they would just put the word 'Temporary' on that page we would know...)
CONCLUSION: The Pros are the hardware and Cons are the software. Day to day, the hardware is what matters. I'm keeping it - but might have returned it if the store didn't have a restocking fee! And I'm bummed that the soft buttons are so difficult to activate.
Hardware Quality = 4 Hardware Features = 5 Hardware Value = 4
Software Quality = 2 Software Features =2 Software Value = 1
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 2 made on Thursday May 1, 2008 at 7:32 AM.
MX-700 Harmony 550
Bright Backlight Very Flexible/Configurable Custom logos for buttons on the LCD
The Wizard is a Bear. It took a few hours a playing around and discarding several configurations to figure it out. If it weren't for online sources (i.e. Remote Central), there would still be things I need to figure out.
Once you get past the Wizard(not an easy task) the MX-810 can be configured to almost anything. URC managed to make this remote activity based while still keeping the flexibility of MX series. Once properly programmed this is and excellent remote.
The button layout is excellent. The transport buttons are setup for modern DVRs. The menu buttons (Menu, Guide, Info, etc) clustered above the transport buttons. For me at least, this puts the most used buttons in one location. The only other hard button I would've added is "List" for accessing the DVR's list of recordings.
The Wizard, on the other hand, is a disaster. It isn't intuitive, the help feature is severally lacking, and the documentation nonexistent. The features and functionality seem to be there but they're not easily found. It will get the remote programmed but not without a lot of work. There were a lot of thing I could figure out by playing with the program for a couple hours. However, if it weren't for online forum searches, other aspects of the software would have required lots of trial & error. This could easily taken a couple of days to get right.
The MX editor wasn't exactly easy but at least you plod along and figure it out with a minimum of pain. After the first day with the Wizard, I found myself wondering why I bought the MX-810 in the first place. Once it was programmed, I remembered. :)
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 1 made on Wednesday March 19, 2008 at 12:09 PM.
Various Pronto, MX350, MX3000, etc...
Nice layout of the hard buttons. Bright color LCD. Nice look and feel. Good overall concept.
Product seems to have been rushed to market having some serious design issues... I relayed these issues to Universal's primary technician and waited ten days for a response. None yet. If I get a response it will be posted, otherwise, I believe I have correctly pointed out some major problems here.
1. Power management options do not always correspond with the discrete On/Off commands that are in the remote itself. Even though these commands are listed on the various pages, the hard On/Off buttons do not always have those same commands which renders the Power Management software virtually useless. Instead, installer is forced to switch all of these options to "Left Alone" and add the commands later in the macro setup.
2. Once the macro commands were chosen I found no ability to change the order (via either drag/drop or other method) which requires the installer to redo entire sequences if they do not work instead of a simple modification.
3. Found no pause option between macros which makes it virtually impossible to automate input changes when the system turns on.
4. Found no "jump" capabilities which causes user to manually navigate screens that installer could have automated. Especially frustrating when a person selects "Watch TV" and you can not specify which screen you prefer to appear (This is compounded by the issue in #5 below)
5. Major problem with the Activities and Devices screens... although you can delete screens and change layouts under the actual device, those changes are not reflected when using the activities buttons. The user is forced to select "Watch DVD" and then go to devices and select the actual component so he can have only his necessary buttons appear.
6. Found no punch through options for volume, channels, etc... causing installer to manually program volume commands under each device.
I have used the MX350 to update dozens of Sony, Harmony and even Universal products. I have created fluid zone 2 operations and lighting scenarios with the MX350. The 810 costs almost three times the price and it seems to be far less intuitive. 6-8 hours to even get it to do what it does right now was enough for me to be disgusted with it.
In short, if the MX350 and the MX810 were contestants on Survivor, the MX350 would outwit, outplay and outlast the MX810 and still walk away with over $200 in it's pocket!
Have been using Universal for years and was able to step through the initial setup fairly quickly. Most will find the programming software easy to understand. Each product was found in the extensive library of brands and model numbers. Equipment included a Pioneer plasma (w/PIP), Denon receiver (w/Zone2), Toshiba DVD, Comcast cable box, RCA CD changer. I did have to "learn" a number of commands for PIP and zone 2 controls but for the average do-it-yourselfer, the existing layout will suffice. Be prepared to spend an afternoon tweeking if you have anything beyond a very basic setup. I have a fairly extensive background in programming and spent an extra 4-5 hours in trying to find ways around various problems. The IR was powerful and seemed to provide good control.