Your Universal Remote Control Center
SoundGraph iMON Plus Remote Control Review
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More buttons than...
The keypad uses several button colors to help separate the three main control sections into logical groupings. At the top is the first region finished in blue, red and grey, dedicated to power, screen controls and digits. The single blue and red buttons are used for [Application Exit] and [Power Off], while the other controls in grey are [Screen Saver], [Timer], show [Desktop], [Maximize/Restore] and a 10-digit numerical keypad. Most buttons are printed with a small white icon, with more descriptive text on the case.

The primary center section, in black, contains keyboard, mouse and generalized system controls. Under the numerical keypad are 6 buttons, including an [Esc] key, the Windows [Logo] key, the Windows [Menu] key, an [Application Launcher], the [Barricade] button (which toggles control between the active program and another one-time configurable program), plus a [Task Switcher] key. Surrounding the 17-way cursor joystick in a circular arrangement are 8 buttons, including [Backspace] and [Space], a [Mouse/Keyboard] toggle button, [Shift-Tab] and [Tab] keys, mouse [Left] and [Right]-click buttons, plus a [Drag & Drop] button to simulate holding down the left mouse button. Immediately below are three buttons for [Volume Up/Down] and [Mute] in a horizontal arrangement.

The third region contains 9 buttons for popular multimedia operations. The backing label here is obviously designed to be customizable for potential OEM customers, but in this particular example the remote has basic DVD-style transport controls (such as [Play], [Stop], [Fast Forward] and [Rewind], plus a [Full Screen] button. It’s clear that the iMON is equally at home playing movies in a home theater, or giving a presentation in a business boardroom.

SoundGraph iMON Plus
Click to enlarge. (55kb)
No button backlighting is provided, nor do the keys glow-in-the-dark. In addition, there is no “signal transmission” LED (the IR receiver does include a blinky “receiving signal” light). The remote’s single IR emitter on the front is protected by a plastic shield.

Forgotten functions?
Conspicuously missing on the iMON are [Channel Up/Down] and [Previous Channel] buttons – absolute musts for television viewing. One could potentially repurpose a few of the lower transport controls, but if digital video recorder (DVR) functions are also required this omission could prove tricky to work around. Other omitted functions include [Menu], [Display], [Record] and keypad [Enter].

None of the default hard buttons particularly lend themselves to customized functions – there are really no “generic” buttons. Possibly sensing this, SoundGraph has labelled the numerical keypad as a “Custom” buttons section. This is fine for applications where those keys might otherwise go unused, but impractical for any where they’re actually required.

In fact, the number of keys clearly usable by programs is quite limited – barely half of the 42 available. So many buttons have been dedicated to keyboard and operating system shortcuts that few appear to remain for everyday functions. Are the [Windows Menu] or [Shift-Tab] keys and the [Space] and [Backspace] keys truly useful by themselves? Other common button names might have been more appropriate for these locations.

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