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Sony RM-VL900 Remote Control Review
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In Actual Use
The 56-page manual included with the remote did not appear to be as well written as the one I saw for the AV2100, and tended to gloss over several advanced functions and exactly how they were implemented. Strange phraseology in instructions can lead to confusion until the exact meaning is discerned. Component codes are included only on a thin piece of yellow paper separate from the instruction manual and could easily be lost.

The RM-VL900 learning remote.
The RM-VL900 learning remote.
Click to enlarge. (39kb)
In use, the VL900 was comfortable to hold and operate with only one hand. The channel and volume controls are reversed from the AV2100, but reflect the layout employed on most other remotes. IR dispersion seems excellent – meaning you don’t need to aim the remote at what you’re controlling – but did not operate as reliably through minor obstructions as some other remotes I’ve tried. I found it very easy to find the exact control I wanted merely by feel. Each time a button is pressed, the component button you’re using lights up at the top of the remote – handy in a dark room, but I found it difficult to tell when they lit up under any sort of direct lighting. The VL900 includes a good array of pre-programmed functions, including full PIP control with a dedicated PIP button and other commands assigned to the transport controls for the TV device, and subtitle/audio/menu controls for DVD players.

Overall, the remote is well engineered and designed, with a generous supply of customization options and capabilities. The VL900 comes packaged in bubble pack designed to be displayed on store pegboard, so you may not realize what you’re looking at is so advanced. The learning capability is only mentioned in small type, so be sure to keep an eye out for this one in stores. The RM-VL900’s low price, good ergonomics and full learning capability set it apart in the marketplace as an excellent value dollar-for-dollar.

- Daniel Tonks (Remote Central)

Sony RM-VL900 Data Box
Price:$59.99 USD
Contact:   Sony Electronics
Phone:(800) 222-7669

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