First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- Macro functions enable you to operate multiple devices with one button press
- Confusing to use, bulky, expensive
Definitely not one for the average consumer, but if you really do need to replace a dozen remote controls, perhaps this is for you
Price$ 379.00 (AUD)
Do you have 18 remote controls hanging around the house? Do you get tired of pressing all those buttons? Then the Sony RM-AV3000T could be for you. This is the mother of Universal Remote Controls, offering almost limitless options for those with dozens of electrical components. However, limitless options come at a price. In this case, that price is a vast number of confusing buttons and a complicated interface.
With the appearance of an oversized calculator, the RM-AV3000T looks like it would be more at home in a laboratory than a living room. Weighing in at over 400g including batteries, it is also a hefty beast compared to your average remote control. The unit's form factor means that you have to use two hands to operate it, which is less than ideal if you're planning on sitting down with a beer to watch the footy. Combined with the fact that the LCD's multitude of buttons aren't always easy to read, even changing channels could be a much more demanding task than you'll ever imagine.
Actually programming the 258 virtual control keys can be easy or arduous, depending on the manufacturer of your components. If it's Sony then you're in luck, as the majority of Sony products will work seamlessly by default. Dozens of other manufacturers are also supported, but their products are less likely to work without some form of programming by the user. If you do encounter difficulties, the RM-AV3000T offers the useful ability to learn commands from almost any other remote, which should solve most problems. To do this is simply a case of pointing the two remotes at each other and selecting the appropriate key. One major gripe though is that you are stuck with the layout of the RM-AV3000T. Whilst this is the case with any Universal remote, we found the layout of this model to be especially cluttered. This seems totally unnecessary when you have a huge touch-screen in front of you. It would have been nice to see a fully customisable display.
One interesting addition to the remote is the ability to program macro functions. What this means is that you can combine multiple operations into one button press. Say for instance you want to watch a DVD. Usually you would switch on your TV, switch on the DVD player, turn on your home cinema amplifier, change the AV mode on your TV and finally press play. Using the RM-AV3000T up to 32 such steps across any number of components can be combined into one. Though this might seem like a great feature, in reality it is just compensating for the fact that switching between the various devices would necessitate pressing twice as many buttons on the Sony remote as you would otherwise have done.
This last point clearly shows the problem with the remote: the RM-AV3000T is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it could vastly reduce the number of remote controls you need to use. On the other, the difficulties in programming it to your exact needs may make things more complicated than they were before. Whatever the case, it certainly seems unlikely that the few seconds saved can justify the exorbitant price tag. A much better option for a demanding user would be the Logitech Harmony 880 Advanced Universal Remote.
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