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In terms of ergonomics, I'm not certain there's a clear winner between the ProntoPro and TSU2000. Despite being only slightly larger yet also a little lighter, the ProntoPro feels bigger to hold - and for some reason, "airier". This could be because the Pro lacks certain design features from the previous model. The back of the ProntoPro is completely flat - as opposed to the original, which bowed inwards. That concave curve served several purposes: it allowed the remote to rest securely on a leg, it provided a more comfortable grip, and it made the remote feel thinner than it was. As well, I found it harder to get a secure grip on the ProntoPro, since the case is now thicker and wider at the bottom.
The remote's plastic housing is made out of impact resistant ABS plastic, finished with a matte texturing. Both the silver and gray upper portions are painted, however the lower black section is solid in color - which should help the remote avoid noticeable scratches or wear marks. No tactile coating or rubber grips are provided. Structural rigidity is good, with little lateral twisting, however I noticed that the upper left and right sides of the gray screen bezel are not secure and could be pushed downwards. The case has a quality feel but, as mentioned, could have benefited from further ergonomic finessing.
Two's company... four's a party!
One of the most welcome changes to the Pro's design is the inclusion of two additional hard buttons beneath the screen. Many users had difficulty determining exactly what to do with the original Pronto's pair of hard buttons - two just wasn't enough to be truly useful. With the Pro's four, functional examples immediately spring to mind - such as [PLAY], [STOP], [FAST FORWARD] and [REWIND] for a VCR. A five-way menu joystick thrown into the mix would have been fantastic, but this is a step in the right direction.
The five buttons along the right side of the screen remain as before - [MUTE], volume [UP] and [DOWN], plus channel [UP] and [DOWN]. Instead of the hard, rounded buttons on the TSU2000, these five buttons are arranged with the channel and volume groups in flat toggle arrangements. I appreciate the new shape, but still wish they were larger. On the left side of the case you'll find a contrast wheel and a backlight button. On the bottom side is the docking station connector, plus an RS-232 serial interface in the guise of a headphone jack.
Backlighting fit for a PDA.
The color LCD's backlighting is adjustable, in the Setup Menu, to one of four different brightness settings. The highest setting on the ProntoPro is by far the brightest I've seen. The screen is lit from the left, consequently that side is slightly brighter than the rest. Since the LCD requires the backlight to operate (otherwise it's jet black), there's no light sensor or option to run without. The light can be enabled by one of four methods: by the backlight button on the side, by tapping the screen, by hitting a hard button that changes screens or - new to the ProntoPro - by picking it up. The integrated motion sensor activates the remote when it is tilted vertically to a 50 degree angle but, unlike some sensors that sense any sort of movement, is not activated by other types of movement. I found that I preferred the ProntoPro's implementation over some remotes that are so super-sensitive that they activate at even the slightest movement.