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When it comes to all singing, all dancing, universal remote control's Philips' Pronto brand is something of a legend. If you want to control complex setups, with a large icon driven colour screen, then they are connoisseur's choice. However, the downside is that they're very expensive and probably overkill for most people's needs.
Philips's has now moved the Pronto brand into the custom install area and for the mass market has introduced the Prestigo line. This intention is to make an affordable, easy to use, and importantly, easy to program universal remote. The Prestigo takes a very different approach to programmability to something like Logitech's Harmony remote control. Rather than requiring you hook up the remote to a PC and download the database to it - a database is preloaded onto the remote so that it's easier and quicker to get up and running.
Design wise this is a nice bit of kit, that lives up to Philips' big brand reputation. It's quite a long and sleek handset, that's bulky at the base that houses the three AA batteries, and then tapers in the middle. This shape at the rear makes it easy to hold. Even better, this means your thumb falls neatly on the control wheel that circles the central directional pad. This reminds me of the wheel on a San Disk Sansa MP3 player and spins easily.
Within this is a large button labelled, 'OK', but confusingly this isn't used to confirm choices - this is done via a button just underneath this labelled with a tick. To be fair, this information is shown to you clearly on the LCD screen at the top.
The 1.5in x 2in display in a highlight of the remote. It's actually a far better quality display than on the Harmony 895, a much more expensive unit. The display is bright and has pleasingly rich icons. The buttons are also pleasingly firm and have a solid feel. All in all it's very well built for the money.
The design and spacing of the keys is also better than the Harmony 895, making it easier to find your way round the device. All the main keys that you will need to control something like a Sky box are present and correct, such as Menu, Guide, Back/Exit and Info. The colour coded buttons are at the top and the important Skip, Stop and Play buttons are located above the numeric keypad and below the circular dial, which is where you want them. The whole remote is backlit, which illuminates when you rotate the dial, which also lights up the main display.
Programming the device proved to be pretty much as easy as advertised. Below the screen is a More, Favourite, and a Home button. Holding down the Home button for three seconds brings up the Setup menu and from here you can choose the device language, (English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch and Italian), and most importantly add your devices. You select your device from a list of types such as DVDR, Cable, Satellite, Receiver, Amplifier, etc and then select a brand. This is typed in using the number pad, like writing a text on a phone.
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