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A new direction.
Comparing the new Weemote dV to previous models, it’s easy to think that somehow something is missing from the new layout. And you’d be right – the Weemote dV is not a replacement for the original television-based Weemote, but is designed for controlling digital video devices such as DVD players and digital video recorders.
One of the first Weemote goals was to give control to a child over their television viewing by automatically turning devices on, setting inputs, allowing volume changes and providing easy access to favorite stations. Although it would be natural to assume that the Weemote dV would do the same thing for DVD movies, that’s not the case: the dV has no macros, power button or volume controls. It’s simply a one-device remote with 9 keys, and cannot be used alone to start movies playing. You, as a parent, will need to get everything ready by powering on devices, setting inputs and adjusting the volume before handing over control.
One of the Weemote dV’s advertised uses is with interactive DVD-based educational or entertainment titles. If you purchase the remote directly from Fobis Technologies’ website, you can opt for a package that includes Adventureville, an educational “choose your own adventure”-style storybook.
An updated look.
The Weemote dV’s neat new design is such an improvement from the original model that it’s hard to know exactly where to start. Compared to that first version (which nonetheless seemed quite good at the time), the new case is much more professional in appearance and of far higher build quality. The remote measures 2.56” wide, 5.38” long and 1.4” thick (6.5cm by 13.8cm by 3.5cm) and weighs 4.8 ounces (134 grams) with batteries, or 4.0 ounces (112 grams) without. Although the Weemote dV’s footprint is still the same elongated egg shape as before, the ergonomics of the remote are entirely different.
To begin with, the original model had a curved top that was thickest one-third of the way up from the bottom, and then sloped gradually downward towards the front of the remote. The new model is almost a mirror image, now highest one-third of the way down from the top of the case, tapering thinner towards the bottom. This presents the control surface better when sitting on a table, and is more comfortable to hold.
Next, the case around the main button cluster is now concave, instead of domed. In addition, the bottom of the case has changed from flat to curving inwards. These two ergonomically friendly changes combine to make the remote thinner and thus easier for little hands to hold.
Finally, running flush around the side of the Weemote dV is a thick red rubber ring that acts as both a grip aid and shock absorber. The ring also neatly solves one build issue on previous Weemotes, where the joint between the two moulded case halves was a little on the rough side. Now it’s just soft, smooth rubber (although I would still like to see a slight chamfering where plastic meets rubber).
An elevation in quality.
Overall the Weemote dV looks like a more expensive product. Although the case is still predominantly bright blue, a new white section highlights the buttons, while the dual-color LED, instead of protruding up through a small hole in the case, has a new quarter-moon shaped plastic lens.
Although the number of rubber colors used for buttons has gone from 7 to 4, the remote looks better for it. Starting from the top is a light green triangular [Play] button, with red [Stop] and orange [Pause] buttons below. Just down from that, in black rubber that sharply contrasts with the white background, are 4 large menu directions with a center [OK] button, plus a small [Menu] button on the bottom left. The new key shapes are great – I particularly like the arrows used for directions.