You may not recognize the RTI name brand, but they’re no stranger to remote controls. Though the TheaterTouch T2 is the first home theater controller marketed under their own name, RTI has also designed and constructed the high-end Lexicon 500T and 700T remote controls. So you know when you look at the TheaterTouch what you’re really looking at is the functionality of an expensive dealer-installed tabletop remote, shrunk down to a slick package that fits in your hand.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the new $649 USD TheaterTouch T2 is its unusual shape. At more than nine and a half inches long and under three inches wide at its widest point, the T2 does not resemble any remote I’ve previously seen. Everyone that has walked into my "wonderful world of universal remotes" has gone to the TheaterTouch, turned it on, and plainly stated "I like this". The substantial 11 ounce weight is well balanced in your hand, naturally directing your thumb to the large circular control section in the exact center of the control surface.
In that circle you’ll find a number of useful physical buttons, including channel, volume and menu controls. Above the menu controls is the "Main Menu" button, which can be configured to always bring you back to the remote’s starting point. To the sides of that are power and mute buttons. Beneath the circular section is a well spaced keypad along with "Enter" and, oddly, "*" buttons. At the very bottom of the remote is a large glow-in-the-dark backlight button, which turns on the LCD screen at the top and lights up the entire keypad.
All physical buttons are well labeled and have ergonomically rounded edges, with a firm feel that provides plenty of tactile confirmation that it has been pressed. Due to this it’s quite difficult to accidentally press a button –indeed you could even rest your hand on the keypad without fear of transmitting stray commands. Though the entire remote is obviously designed to be used with only one hand, I found it somewhat uncomfortable to reach across the circle to reach the channel or volume controls on the other side. I personally would have preferred hard transport controls over menus, though taking screen layout limitations into account I can see why they did it this way. The ABS plastic housing of the T2 shouts "high quality". Made of thick textured plastic, the case allows for absolutely no flex or twist – quite an engineering feat considering the unusual size and shape.