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Sony RM-VL700 Remote Control Review
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Sony RM-VL700
Click to enlarge. (47kb)
Although no side rubber hand grips are provided, the VL700 doesn't really need them since it's quite easy to hold. The seams on the matte-textured plastic halves fit well, yet overall the remote's case feels thinner than the VL900. For weight, the VL700 tips the scales at a mere 3.5 ounces (100gr) without batteries, compared to the VL900 at 6.5oz (185gr). Add on two (not included) AA batteries to the VL700 and you're up to 5.0oz (150gr). The remote's balancing point is approximately two-fifths up from the bottom of the remote, right at the top of the battery compartment. The cover itself fits very snugly into place, even though it only employs a single latch. Batteries are held firmly without the need of compressive foam.

The reduction in weight, while serving to reduce "clicker finger" fatigue, comes at the cost of structural rigidity. The VL700 relies strongly on plastic snaps to hold the case together, utilizing only two screws, causing it to feel less solid than it probably could have. A moderate amount of lateral case twisting is possible, something not seen on the 8-screw VL900.

Minor physical imperfections aside, the VL700 has a very nice feel to it: small enough to be used single-handedly, but big enough that the keypad doesn't feel crowded. While the VL900 sports glow-in-the-dark keys, that feature was dropped on the VL700 in favor of more traditional solid-colored rubber. Coloration helps classify the different sections of the remote - the keypad is blue with white lettering, the power button is green, device buttons are translucent with blue printing, while the rest of the keys are gray with either white or yellow lettering. Keys have a pleasant, soft feel to them, with just enough tactile response.

Sony RM-VL700
Click to enlarge. (56kb)
Less filling, same great taste!
Although the VL700 is a smaller remote than the VL900, with fewer devices and buttons, the total number of user functions for each device remains the same at 35 (as a point of interest, the deluxe RM-AV2100 totals 37 keys per device). The remote includes a full numerical keypad, 5-way menu section, transport controls, volume/channel group and several auxiliary buttons.

Although the button layout is nearly identical to the VL900, several minor changes have been made to accommodate the smaller footprint. The three auxiliary buttons originally positioned beneath the numerical keypad have been relocated above it, the menu's [OK] button has been shifted from between the directional menu controls to their bottom right, while the key that occupied [OK]'s new position has been moved to the right of the three relocated "aux" keys. Despite the condensed format, more space has been supplied between the [STOP] and [MENU UP] keys, originally a very cramped spot on the VL900. Finally, the volume/channel and menu groups, which are located at the bottom of the remote with the batteries, are now on a raised platform that allowed the remainder of the remote to be more thinly constructed.

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