...Continued from Page 8.|
The top of the Customizer is dominated by a medium-sized LCD touchscreen measuring 1.45” wide and 1.93” high (3.7cm by 4.9cm) with a 2.35” diagonal (6.0cm). The touchscreen has 6 lines of text and a total of 10 touch sensitive keys. The top line, again larger than the rest, displays the active device or mode. The next 4 lines are broken up into 8 touch keys, each with a 5 character label. The very bottom status line displays 8 characters and is mapped to a further 2 touch keys, representing [Page Up] and [Page Down].
You may have noted earlier that 2 pages of 8 labels would work out to 16 devices, not the 15 reported... and you’d be right! The bottom right position on the first page, labelled “FAV”, is not a device and instead jumps to the Favorite Channel macros section – more on this later.
Both LCD screens offer excellent contrast ratios. Contrast levels are adjusted digitally and, instead of offering just a few preset levels, can be ramped smoothly from “slightly light” to “a bit too dark”. Although the screen’s character size is smaller than that of the MX-500, labels are still very readable.
One questionable decision made on the URC-200 was to not have the buttons on the right line up correctly with their text labels. The top and bottom positions are approximately one half line out of sync, a real ergonomic no-no. The issue is not as bad as on another “asymmetric” remote (which shall remain nameless), where the second button down matched up perfectly with the first button’s label, however one of the nice things about the company’s earlier MX series is that the hard buttons and LCD labels all meet up perfectly. Perhaps Universal Remote could have used a bigger screen, and/or placed those buttons closer together.
Of course that isn’t a problem with the touchscreen-based URC-300 (which fits 4 lines of text in the same space as the URC-200 wedges 5) – just tap the text and you’ve already found the right key. Although touchscreens usually require little pressure to register a press, I found that the Customizer’s soft plastic touch layer actually needs to be pressed down a bit before it’s sensed. A light touch that was sufficient to register on a random sampling of a half dozen other touchscreen remotes wasn’t firm enough for the Customizer. During normal use commands were sensed reliably, but what I initially thought was a mild amount of key lag turned out to be inadequate pressure.
A mutual keypad.
Beyond the screen region, both remotes are identical with the exact same arrangement of buttons. Close below the LCD display is a grouping of three uniquely shaped buttons: [Off], [Main] and [On]. The [Off] and [On] keys don’t need further explanation, but the [Main] key is used to jump back to the home screen from a device, or back to a device from the Favorite Channels screen.
Continuing down we come to the [Volume] and [Channel] toggle keys, with [Mute], [Previous Channel], and [Guide] buttons centered between. The URC-200 and URC-300’s volume toggles look very similar to the ones used by the MX series, but are slightly smaller. Nevertheless they’re bigger than the URC-100’s versions, and fall perfectly under my thumb. The menu cursor cluster is next, featuring a 4-way directional ring with separate [Select] button in the middle, surrounded by 5 transport and 3 other menu-related controls. Beneath that at the bottom of the remote is a standard 10-digit numeric keypad, with [+10] and [Enter] buttons.