Next down is a horizontal row of small round buttons, labeled [Display], [Top Menu], [Pop-Up Menu] and [Return]. Most of these will again be familiar commands, except for “Pop-Up Menu” which brings up a BD’s quick-access menu at any time. Below this is a circular 5-way menu cursor control, comprised of a single outer plastic ring for directions and a large circular button in the middle for [Enter]. Flanking the outer corners of the ring are four buttons transplanted from the game controller, [Triangle], [Circle], [Square] and [Cross], three of which have been given secondary labels for [Options], [Back] and [View].
Continuing down are more game controller functions, this time the three [Left] and three [Right] buttons, the main [PS] key, plus [Select] and [Start]. Buttons with game controller functions (as well as the direction pad) can be utilized at any time to operate the PS3 and not only while watching a movie. Finally at the bottom of the remote is a rather spacious section with 9 large transport control keys, including chapter skip and slow motion commands.
This Small Space
Ergonomically speaking the BD remote control’s layout isn’t particularly ideal. The 9 transport buttons at the bottom as well as the 5-way menu cursor pad are pleasantly large and well spaced, but for everything else the remote’s designers appear to have been pressed for space and have tried to fit twice as many functions into half as much space. The top 6 rows of buttons are particularly cramped, although not so much that they’re unusable. What isn’t ideal is that for a product designed to be used while watching movies – something almost always done best with subdued lighting – the BD remote has no backlight or glow-in-the-dark feature. This will make it very difficult to find a specific tiny key in a completely dark room... never mind also remembering what it does!
The remote is made entirely of dark black plastic, with the top half of the housing rating a sparkly metallic black finish that manages to bring a touch of class to what might have otherwise been rather dull and drab. This glossy finish is also exceptionally adept at collecting fingerprint smears, and I found myself wanting to clean it off fairly often – lest someone in my family gets the urge to order one of those “CSI” fingerprinting kits.
The sides of the case curve smoothly around to the lightly textured back, where you’ll find a large index finger groove located directly behind the cursor controls. The join between the two case halves is nearly perfect. The large battery compartment door opens with little effort, but latches securely enough that it doesn’t seem in any danger of falling off accidentally. Two small feet near the front of the remote help prevent it from rocking side-to-side when used on a tabletop. As with every Sony remote I’ve ever seen, a lanyard hook can be found on the bottom. There is no LED on the remote to indicate transmission.
Despite the small key size, tactile response is surprisingly good with a limited but noticeable amount of key travel and a definite “click” sensation. The 5-way menu cursor control is one of the more comfortable and easy-to-use designs that I’ve had the pleasure of using, although the center [Enter] button could be a little less rubbery and perhaps not depress nearly as far. Excepting the four brightly colored buttons and the plastic menu cursor, every other key is made out of black rubber with a harder and smoother surface texture than I’m used to. Most labels are printed in light silver, and tactile nubs are present on the  and [Play] keys.