Philips Prestigo SRU9600
- Works with wide range of devices, can learn from existing remote, can be programmed for use with up to eight devices
- Bulky, too expensive, limited functionality, superfluous scroll wheel
The Philips Prestigo SRU9600 is great if you are looking for a basic universal remote control, but fails when put up against its more functional competitors.
Price$ 299.95 (AUD)
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The Philips Prestigo SRU9600 is a universal remote designed to replace up to eight controllers in your home. It can be programmed to perform common activities and is compatible with devices from a large number of manufacturers. Unfortunately, it is not as user-friendly as its competitors despite having a somewhat customisable touch screen interface.
Universal remote controls are only useful if they can be used to fully replace your original remotes. The SRU9600 is able to store functions from up to eight remotes but since it can only do it on a basic level, its usefulness is limited. Let's say you wanted to use it to control a Blu-ray player. It will automatically learn the basics of the player allowing you to do things like play, fast forward, rewind and whatnot. However, specific functions like changing the output resolution or telling the difference between the main menu and the top menu are not possible. The Prestigo can learn extra functions from the original remote but only if it is in a pre-determined list of functions that is associated to the device type. If you are using a television, Picture-in-Picture will be in the list, but the "Vierra Link" key (found on Panasonic televisions) will not. Even if you add the device using the manufacturer name, it cannot differentiate between model numbers so you will never be able to use every function of your original remote.
With products like the Logitech Harmony on the market, a universal remote control needs to be highly configurable to be a viable purchase. Logitech uses constantly updated computer software to upload every single button of an original remote to the Harmony. The user can then choose which buttons are most important and which buttons will be displayed on the main screen. The only flaw to this system is if the user has no access to a computer or the Internet.
The face of the Prestigo is dominated by a large back-lit touch screen. It can only produce pre-determined images which are imprinted on the screen itself. This greatly limits the number of buttons that can be displayed at one time and the extent to which the user can configure the screen. The touch buttons are things like the number pad, play, rewind, etc which are very common among most AV devices. Other compatible functions can be accessed using the "jog mode" function via a smaller secondary LCD screen. The middle of the remote has a rather stiff and uncomfortable scroll wheel which is rotated left and right to scroll between secondary functions. This wheel is superfluous as there is also a four-way direction pad in the centre of the wheel.
The SRU9600 can also be programmed to perform activities. If you want to watch a DVD, you can program it to turn on the TV, the home theatre system and the DVD player one at a time. Once you have all your devices set up, creating an activity is very simple. This is a great feature but it has its share of problems. Since the remote cannot handle specific buttons, things like changing the TV to the correct AV input channel is not possible. Also, once the button sequence is completed, the remote defaults to a random device. If you are watching a DVD, you don't want the TV controls on-screen once everything is turned on and ready to go.
The Philips Prestigo SRU9600 isn't a bad device; it just has the unfortunate luck of being part of a market where it is easily out-classed. With much better remotes available from Logitech, we find it hard pressed to recommend this one.
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