They couldn’t leave well enough alone. No, Sony had to go and take their most popular and perfectly adequate touchscreen remote and, well, make it better! When Sony launched the $199 RM-AV3000 remote control several years back, it was intended as an advanced (and slightly more expensive) replacement for the venerable RM-AV2100. In reality, the RM-AV3000 ended up completely eclipsing the previous model in terms of capabilities and customization options.
It was soon discovered that the market also desired a lower priced and less complex touchscreen model, prompting Sony to recently release the $149 RM-AV2500 (read our review). As a beefed up version of the older RM-AV2100 (read our review), the RM-AV2500 lacks many of the sophisticated capabilities that were introduced with the redesigned RM-AV3000. Yet the RM-AV2500 is several years newer, so naturally Sony’s engineers were able to pack in a few new tricks not present on the RM-AV3000.
Since it wouldn’t do for a top-of-the-line remote control to be missing something available on the second-from-the-top model, Sony has finally come out with an enhanced version of their RM-AV series’ flagship model – you guessed it, the RM-AV3100. An upgraded model always means one thing – more work for me trying to figure out what’s new!
As the RM-AV3100 looks, operates and is otherwise nearly identical to the RM-AV3000, this addendum will only cover the differences between these two models. If you’re new to Sony’s series of touchscreen remotes, avoid becoming hopelessly lost by going back and starting at page 1 to learn about the physical design, primary features and general operation. If you’re already familiar with the RM-AV3000, continue reading this review.
Changes are in the eye of the beholder.
Place the RM-AV3100 and RM-AV3000 side-by-side and you’d be hard pressed to notice any difference. From the case style and button shapes to LCD screen and printed labels, everything looks absolutely the same. Indeed, apart from the updated model number, there are no design changes. But look a little closer, and two subtle hardware differences help separate these virtual twins.
The first change is with the material used to form the remote’s hard buttons. The keys on the RM-AV3000 are constructed of soft, pliable rubber, the type used by many remotes. While at first glance the RM-AV3100’s buttons look the same, they have a completely different feel: harder and smoother. Either the plastic material has changed, or the rubber has been coated with a matte varnish. Whatever the case, tactile response is now slightly firmer. This is most noticeable on the four long and thin directional keys which now bend softly, depressing only directly under your finger, where before the entire surface would lower with a more perceptible “click”. Although curious, this change has no significant impact on the remote’s ergonomics.
Possibly as a result of this change, the RM-AV3100’s glow-in-the-dark component keys charge slightly brighter, but don’t last any longer and fade out after 11 or 12 minutes.