The rear battery compartment holds the user-replaceable 1070mAh rechargeable Lithium Ion battery pack and also conceals a small connector for factory use along with a tiny reset button. Just below the compartment on the bottom edge of the remote is a large four-contact power connector for use with the Aurora's recharging station, while up just a bit on the left side is an industry standard mini USB port for connecting to a PC. As with other MX remotes the port does create a protrusion in the side of the case, but only a slight one. The front of the remote features a dark plastic shield to cover the dual infrared emitters. The small pair of grooves on the front that look like a microphone just above the model name is, in fact, a speaker.
The MX-950's docking station measures a compact 3.43" wide by 4.16" deep (8.7 cm by 10.6 cm) and exhibits the remote at a nominal 45 degree vertical angle. As the basestation has not been weighted the remote isn't exactly usable while docked, however this way it takes up a much smaller footprint while charging and does look especially stylish. The station features two bright status LEDs on the front lip: power in red, plus another that illuminates red when the remote is recharging and blue once complete. Recharging is a snap: just drop the remote in the station and walk away, there's no latching process to fuss over or possibility of crossing the contacts. And since the Aurora uses Lithium Ion technology, the battery cannot be overcharged and will not develop a memory from frequent recharging.
There's "always" room for more buttons.
The MX-950 includes a similar collection of keys to the MX-800, but in a completely different arrangement and with a couple of new additions.
Starting at the top of the remote are vertical [Power On] and [Power Off] keys positioned on either side of the central LCD screen. Below each of these are 5 multipurpose keys, 10 in total, that correspond to editable function labels shown on the LCD. Beneath the screen are wide [Page -] and [Page +] keys, and below those are matching [Listen] and [Watch] menu keys. These dual menu keys are an upgrade to the Aurora over former MX series remotes with their single [Main] key, as is the ability to page both forwards and backwards through LCD pages. Removed entirely is the earlier [Fav] button, originally used to access a dedicated favorite channels section.
Next up on the MX-950 are a pair of [Volume] and [Channel] toggle keys, with matching [Mute] and [Jump]. Both toggles are made up of smaller individual pairs of keys instead of combined rockers. Beneath the toggles is URC's new-style 5-way menu cursor control, transported directly from the MX-3000. The new arrangement places a separate [Select] key in the center of a solid four-way direction ring, and I must say that of the various 5-way designs Universal has tried over the years this is by far the best and easiest to use. It will finally be obvious to new users exactly where the [Select] function is and how to consistently access it. Surrounding the four corners of the cursor control are small round [Guide], [Menu], [Exit] and [Info] buttons.