8-device universal remote offers full IR code learning, a dozen macros plus a new button layout.
Posted by Daniel Tonks on January 22, 2010 at 8:03 AM
Sony rarely creates any fanfare when the accessories division releases a new remote control... they just appear one day on Sony’s dealer site. Thanks to one reader noticing that something was new today, we can bring you details on a complete refresh of the company’s lower end universal remote controls. The entire trio sports the same new look, which builds on the most recent RM-VL610’s ideals but appears to address one of the primary areas we had criticism on – the button layout.
For coverage of the RM-VZ220 and RM-VZ320 click here.
The third and most advanced model announced today is the RM-VLZ620, which replaces the not-particularly-old RM-VL610. In fact, the close timing of this refresh reminds me of the extremely short product life cycle of the altogether excellent RM-VL710, which lasted mere months before being discontinued in favor of another model. The RM-VL610 is also an great remote in both capabilities and build quality, and while the new RM-VLZ620 does appear to have a number of worthwhile design upgrades, I do note that a couple of the prior model’s frills do not seem to have made the cut into this new one – namely the replaceable color back panels.
But let’s talk about what you do get. The RM-VLZ620 is an 8-device remote that features both a preprogrammed code database and full infrared code learning capabilities. If the RM-VLZ620 holds true to the last several generations of Sony’s learning remotes, there will be enough memory for a learned command on every single possible button – something unheard of at this end of the market. The RM-VLZ620 also includes 12 system macros (one on each device button plus 4 System Control buttons at the bottom), that “Ultra 3x Remote Signal” dual IR emitter item mentioned on the RM-VZ310, plus non-volatile memory. Dimensions are listed at 2.05” wide, 9.29” high and 1.02” deep.
Of the three new remotes the RM-VLZ620’s overall design is the least radically altered from its prior model, since the new look has been based on the RM-VL610. The button layout, however, has seen a rather large overhaul with a new dedicated Blu-ray Disc device button, repositioned key clusters, larger buttons and several new labels: EXIT becomes RETURN, TOOLS becomes OPTIONS, and PIP has been dropped in favor of EJECT. It also has what appears to be a dedicated Television Power button.
The RM-VL610 has been one of the best remote control values on the market, and although no prices were included in the information I received today, I expect the RM-VLZ620 to continue this trend. However what’s still up in the air is the remote’s ergonomics and build quality. I quite like what I’m seeing on the keypad redesign (although I’m uncertain about the placement of the transport keys), but for the build I’ll have to wait and see.
Of note... the build quality of prior remotes in chronological order: RM-VL900 excellent, RM-VL700 okay, RM-VL710 excellent, RM-VL600 poor, RM-VL610 excellent... hopefully the RM-VLZ620 breaks the pattern!
For more visit our Sony Remotes forum.
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