The RM-V210 presents an interesting dilemma to remote control shoppers. On one hand it’s obviously a downgrade from the RM-V310: there’s only support for 4 devices maximum versus 7, and it has a much simplified code database that excludes many component types. On the other hand the button layout on the RM-V210 is far superior to the RM-V310. It picks up all of the new DVR-oriented functions that were added to the RM-VL610, while doing a respectable job of maintaining the RM-V310’s friendlier button shapes and sizes.
If you’re in the market for a simple, video-only 4-device remote, the RM-V210 is a massive improvement over the RM-V202. If you’re looking for something more sophisticated, I recommend skipping right over the RM-V310 and heading directly for the RM-VL600 or RM-VL610, since those models are far more powerful with additional (and much needed) capabilities that will keep you satisfied for longer.
RM-EZ4: big, big buttons!
If the key layouts on the RM-V210 and RM-VL610 could be considered at least a little bit cramped, then this next model is surely the exact opposite. Sony’s sequel to their specialty purpose “big buttoned” remote control known as the RM-EZ2 (read our review) is the new RM-EZ4, priced at $9.99 USD MSRP. Curiously there was no RM-EZ3 model, so don’t ask!
The RM-EZ4 is a simple 2-device remote that operates a television and a cable box or satellite receiver. The RM-EZ4’s large, chunky case has been smoothed on all sides, making it very comfortable to hold. The design has been tweaked since its predecessor, with somewhat less rounded edges and a larger battery compartment that makes it especially easy to get batteries in and out, along with a large latching cover that’s effortless to open. The remote measures 2.47” wide, 5.75” long and 1.23” thick (6.3cm by 14.6cm by 3.1cm) and weighs 4.7 ounces (132 grams) with batteries, or 3.2 ounces (85 grams) without. This is slightly smaller and lighter than the RM-EZ2.
Although the buttons look essentially the same as its predecessor, the layout has been completely revamped. Beginning at the top is a [Set] button on the left with adjacent LED for programming feedback, an [Input] button (no longer labeled “TV/Video”), and a round green [Power] button. This is followed by two large white device buttons for [TV] and [CBL/SAT]. Next up is a very large 10-digit numeric keypad, with matching [Enter] and HDTV [Dot/Dash] keys. At the bottom are large, friendly toggle controls for [Volume] and [Channel], with [Muting] and [Recall] buttons flanking either side. In total there are 23 buttons, an increase of just one button – the [Dot/Dash] key. Overall the new button layout is more logical and better arranged than the original, which had the device keys at the bottom, [Recall] as part of the numeric keypad, and [Muting] way up top. The RM-EZ4 is also available in black, instead of painted silver.
The RM-EZ4 is intended as a simple channel surfing remote with an easy-to-hold durable design, big buttons and easy-to-read function labels. It’s perfectly at home as a remote for the kitchen TV, or as a kids’ clicker, or for use by anyone with special needs. Its major drawback is, just like the RM-V210, that it’s a preprogrammed-only remote and if it doesn’t have a code for your device it simply can’t be made to control it. I would love to see Sony update this form factor with IR learning capabilities, as I have fielded numerous requests for just such a product.
As a specialty purpose remote the RM-EZ4 will either be perfect for you, or it won’t – there is little else available on the market that falls into the same category.
- Daniel Tonks (Remote Central)