Your Universal Remote Control Center
UCommand 525 Remote Control Review
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At the top of the remote is a discrete window concealing both the dual infrared emitters and a nifty light sensor. The UC-515 and UC-616 possess similar sensors, but are placed behind the LCD display. Though that didn't affect their sensors, the final result is a distracting "smudge" at the top of the screen whenever their backlights are enabled. The UC-525's new placement is much more agreeable.

Crisp Solutions UCommand 525
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The "touchy feely" factor.
As mentioned earlier, one of the really nice things about the UC-525 is its great physical build quality. The "midnight blue" case is finished with a matte texturing and feels well rounded with no sharp mold seams on the sides. The back of the remote scoops ergonomically inwards, thinning down to a mere 0.6" (1.6cm) thick and providing the perfect place to get a grip. The smoothed battery compartment securely conceals four AAA batteries and snuggles comfortably in the palm of your hand. Although I can only see two screws in use, absolutely no lateral case twisting is possible. The UC-525 is a solid, well constructed remote that should be able to take a lickin' and keep on clickin'!

The 20 hard buttons on the UCommand have a pleasant tactile feel to them: firm, but not too firm, with plenty of travel. Though I'm particularly fond of domed keys, the flattop buttons in use here have a nice, rather unique feel to them. In terms of labeling, most hard buttons have text printed in black on the surface, though several also have secondary labels printed on the case. Two labels may be fine, but three is altogether too many: the four center multi-purpose buttons cover menu, transport and channel/volume functions. Figuring out which label is in operation for a given device could prove entertaining!

Crisp Solutions UCommand 525
Click to enlarge. (92kb)
Configuration is easy when there's less to do.
As has always been the case with UCommand remotes, the UC-525 is "learning only". This of course means that you must teach it all commands from your existing remotes - nothing's built-in. Though this is the most versatile method of programming, allowing you to place whatever command you want wherever, the problem lies with lost or broken remotes. Since there's no database of pretaught codes, the UCommand has no way of replacing missing remotes. Thus, the UC-525 could best be considered a "consolidation" rather than "replacement" remote. The only thing the UCommand comes preprogrammed with is X-10 codes (X-10 is a method of remotely controlling lights), for use with the IR543 transceiver. Since this remote isn't really designed to be preprogrammed and the IR543 itself doesn't come with a remote to learn from, this is a thoughtful touch by the manufacturer.

The UC-525 is capable of controlling 8 devices: TV, Satellite, VCR, DVD, Amplifier, Tape, CD and Aux. Since the remote couldn't care less what you learn on a particular button, the only real difference between devices is with the preset text labels - and those can be changed. The remote also allows you to copy any device's layout to the AUX button, however that is as far as device duplication goes.

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