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Philips ProntoPro TSU6000 Review
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Philips ProntoPro TSU6000
Click to enlarge. (38kb)
The five hard buttons positioned next to the right side of the screen are backlit with yellow LEDs - just the border and symbol, very sleek - but as with the original Pronto, nothing indicates which is volume and which is channel. They do not light up unless the backlight button is pressed. The lower four hard buttons are devoid of lighting.

Tactile response on the bottom four hard buttons is good - limited movement, but a nice solid "click". The right side buttons are another story. Designed, perhaps more with appearance than functionality in mind, the left edge of the button is flush with the screen's gray bezel. As the case slopes downwards towards the outer edge, so do the buttons - only at a more gradual rate. The right side of the buttons are raised less than 1/8" (0.2cm) above the case, nearly flush with the case itself. While enough of each button protrudes for it to be located purely by feel, the tactile response is roughly half that of the lower four hard buttons - firmer, less travel and, depending on what angle you press them, a less satisfying "click". On the bright side, when using the remote I found those buttons operated much better than they felt. A presumably incomplete press was, in fact, registered properly by the ProntoPro.

Not just another pretty face!
In addition to a new screen and case, the ProntoPro also required a new CPU, one capable of driving the color display. All previous Pronto models have used the 16MHz Motorola DragonBall MC68328 - the same as the original Palm Pilot. The new remote uses the 33MHz DragonBall MC68VZ328, a faster and color-capable model that's code-compatible with the original and is also used on the color Palm Pilot.

As the original remote's interface was becoming somewhat dated, Philips has come up with a new look that maintains the original concept while improving upon it. The remote still makes use of three main sections: Home, Devices and Macros. However, instead of the Device and Macro groups operating as mirror images of each other, both (when active) occupy the right side of the screen and are differentiated by color. The other, inactive section appears as a small icon on screen's left side.

Philips ProntoPro TSU6000
Click to enlarge. (58kb)
Due to the new arrangement, the all-important [HOME] button occupies only a tiny amount of space on the upper right. It was initially quite difficult to press, however after re-calibrating the screen it became markedly easier. The LCD-based scroll arrows, which I have always felt were too small, are now completely removed - those functions have instead been placed on the far left and far right hard buttons (though this can be further customized in the PC software). Label space is provided at the bottom of the screen for each of the four lower hard buttons. More animation has also been integrated into the new interface: groups and buttons swoop around the top of the screen as you change sections.

Though technically twice as fast, would the requirement of moving more complicated color data slow the ProntoPro back to the speed of the original? Not in the least! The remote, though still not as fast as I would eventually like to see, is much quicker than the TSU2000 when it comes to changing screens. Some "wait" time still exists while the screen is drawn in memory, but the ProntoPro does not attempt to scroll the screen one pixel line at a time, instead jumping in larger steps. After years of using the comparatively slow Pronto TS-1000, I find the ProntoPro's superior speed to be quite agreeable.

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