If you ask a Pronto owner what his/her favorite feature is, chances are good it's customization. The Pronto family of remotes is a tweaker's dream, allowing you to customize button shapes, colors, labels, graphics and channel logos. What you can do with the Pronto interface is limited more by your imagination and amount of free time than anything else.
Setup/Ease of Use
The user manual supplied with the ProntoNEO is sorely lacking, only hinting at some of the exciting things it can do. However, the official Pronto website (www.pronto.philips.com) can be called upon for a thorough explanation of features and useful information.
The ProntoNEO handled my Sony TV and DVD player just fine, but controlling my Harman/Kardon receiver and Philips DirecTV/TiVo satellite receiver required a lot of manual code learning. When all was said and done, it performed as advertised.
Using the ProntoNEO takes some getting used to, especially if you've never used a touch screen remote before. For the most part, the screen is very legible, though I found it to be rather fuzzy when dealing with logos and custom graphics.
The ProntoNEO felt awkward in my grip, and there were several instances when I found myself using two hands. I'm sure the more time you spend with it, the easier it becomes. I didn't care for the remote's hard buttons, especially the four immediately beneath the screen. I found these buttons to be too small and too close together. The rubbery channel, volume, and cursor buttons were functional but had a little too much lateral movement for my taste.
Like other Prontos, the ProntoNEO allows you to customize its interface on your
home computer with the included NEOedit software. Using the NEOedit software is completely optional and a computer is not required to use the ProntoNEO. That said, however, using the NEOedit software is the only way for the ProntoNEO to live up to its full potential.
The programmed codes, buttons, and page designs on your ProntoNEO are stored in one configuration file. NEOedit allows you to modify that file. The software has a fairly steep learning curve, but there are other users out there who can help if you get stuck. Many of them congregate at http://www.remotecentral.com/files/index.html. You'll find areas where other Pronto and ProntoNEO owners have posted their configuration files, which you can freely download.
The large and friendly Pronto owner community, while wonderful, also represents my biggest gripe with the ProntoNEO. Configuration files for all other Pronto models are incompatible with the ProntoNEO. This means that you cannot download and use the configuration file from a Pronto or ProntoPro, but only from another ProntoNEO. This is where the ProntoNEO begins to develop an identity crisis.
The inclusion of the editing software in this package is clearly an attempt to make the ProntoNEO as much a Pronto as its older siblings, but its incompatibility with other Pronto models make the NE0 a bit of a black sheep in the Pronto family.
So what's the verdict on the ProntoNEO? On one hand, it's a touch screen. For some, that will mean a slick, customizable interface. The ProntoNEO will control all of your components, it's fully backlit, and it sports robust learning
and macro capabilities.
On the other hand, it's a touch screen. So for others that will mean fumbling for buttons in the dark and draining battery life on backlighting. The ProntoNEO suffers from awkward ergonomics and its proprietary file format isolates you from the throngs of other Pronto owners.
If you like the idea of a customizable touch screen remote, I recommend you scrape together the extra money and spring for the TSU2000, the ProntoNEO's older brother. It does everything the ProntoNEO will do (and then some) and it also gives you instant membership to the large group of happy Pronto owners and their support.
If the only question you're still struggling with is whether or not a touch screen is right for you, ask yourself one question: Do I like Neil Diamond? Well do ya, punk?
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