Your Universal Remote Control Center
Evolve Guide Remote Control Review
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Fits to a "T"!
Before we get into how it'll work with your system, let's see what it's like physically. Early photographs of the Guide Remote led me to believe that it is a substantial remote, but in real life it's smaller than any photo would make it appear - particularly due to the use of small round buttons. I guess what they say about photographs adding a few extra pounds...

Measuring 3.4" wide at its broadest point, 6.4" long and 1.4" thick (8.7cm by 16.3cm by 3.6cm), the Guide remote is curved comfortably on most edges. The "T" shape places a wide-format LCD screen in the upper half of the remote, bordered on three sides by 11 control buttons. The numeric keypad and directional controls are positioned lower down, in the narrow section. It's that slender portion that's intended to be held and, at less than 2" wide (2.5cm), it should be a comfortable grip for almost any sized hand. In that position I found it easy for either thumb to reach every button, save for a few important ones surrounding the LCD.

The Guide Remote feels first-rate for its size, thanks to remarkably sturdy construction. It weighs in at 5.3oz (145g) without batteries, or 8.4oz (235g) with. That may not sound particularly heavy - and it is indeed lighter than other popular remotes such as the Pronto - but it's unexpectedly solid for its physical volume. Placement of the batteries in the bottom half of the remote makes the aesthetically top-heavy Guide Remote decidedly well balanced in-hand. A prominent horizontal finger groove on the back cradles an index finger perfectly, helping keep the remote steady when reaching for buttons positioned close to the edge.

Evolve Guide Remote
Click to enlarge. (53kb)
Evolve made use of a thick gauge of plastic in the Guide Remote's housing. This should pay off over the course of the typical remote's rough-and-tumble life as added resistance to drops and bumps. No lateral case twisting is possible, although I'm not sure the four tiny screws that hold the remote together will be able to keep it entirely "creak" free. Despite the otherwise ideal plastic composition, the two clamshell case mouldings are not as precise as they could have been, with several rough edges along the joints. There's also no tactile coating over the grey exterior, just smooth, lightly textured plastic.

The battery compartment on the back holds four AA batteries rated to last for about 3 months. The cover fits securely and presses firmly on the batteries with a small square of foam, nipping any potential battery rattles in the bud. Also located on the back of the remote is a speaker (which rarely utters a sound), and a large non-standard RS-232 serial port connector along the bottom edge. The large plastic shield on the front of the remote conceals two infrared emitters, shifted to the left side of the remote. Two emitters are integrated, one narrow-focus and one wide-angle - a nearly identical arrangement to the One For All Director remote.

When more is less...
A first glance at the Guide Remote gives the impression that there's a lot of hard buttons. Count them up and you'll come to a total of 35 - which, combined with the interactive LCD screen, should be more than enough for average systems. In fact, fully functional remotes have come with less. Yet unexpectedly, only 18 of those buttons can hold device-specific functions (which are classified as a command that something in your home theater would respond to). And forget about the awfully nice 6-button menu cursor cluster positioned dead center: it can't be customized to your devices and is used only for navigating the LCD screen.

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