Philips Prestigo SRU8008 remote

A burgeoning collection of home gadgetry ultimately means more remote controls lying around the place and increasing frustration at not being able to find the one you want. Philips want to bring simplicity into your living room with the Prestigo SRU8008, a universal remote that you can programme to control up to 8 devices. We looked at the Prestigo SRU8015 earlier in the year and this model offers an entry-level alternative. But does the step-down lessen the experience?

Out of the packaging, the SRU8008 looks like a quality device, better in build quality than many remotes shipped out these days; there is a good weight to the remote and it feels solid in the hand. The LCD screen in the 8008 is 1.4in and lacks the impact of the more expensive bigger brother.

There are the normal array of buttons which are all responsive and have a satisfying feel to them, but also a rotating controller to use in conjunction with the LCD display. This rotating control also acts as a four-way controller and OK button. The rotating action is unfortunately rather gritty and lacks the smoother action of the 8015 and in our review sample, quarter of the dial gave no response. However, through this range of options, the SRU8008 gives you access to a huge range of options.

Set-up is easy, and the remote guides you through the process with the help of the screen, rather than having to rely on codes. You select the manufacturer and type of device, then the remote cycles through the codes it has until you get a response. You can then test the more advanced functions to ensure you have the right settings for your particular device.

To get round the problem of not having corresponding buttons for all functions that you might want access to, there is a "More" button that opens up a range of additional functions in the display – so if your TV has picture-in-picture, for example, then the option will appear here (in theory). This means it is important that you do explore these functions as you set-up your remote, otherwise you might be left with basic controls only, although you can add and remove from the menus at a later time.

If you cannot find your device or don’t get the controls you want, you can use the key learning feature (like universal remotes of old) to map those keys from your existing remote.

The Home button found on the 8015 is replaced with a Devices button allowing to select those you have set-up and then enter the controls for that particular device. In a sense it is easier to select and control your device of choice than with the 8015, where the sensitive controls easily skip to different options.

There is a great Activities feature that allows you to programme shortcuts for various actions, to save you having to (gasp) press too many buttons. If you have a regimen which requires a number of key presses, you can programme these in – such as watching a DVD, which might be to power on the DVD player, switch the amp over, change the TV input and so on.

With support for up to 8 devices, you could be really spoilt for choice and certainly this beats having five remotes for your home cinema and it supports a huge number of manufacturers, from the common to the obscure.

All the keys are backlit when in use, but also the display lights up – and this happens on every button press so your screen will flash on for every slight adjustment of the volume which can be irritating.

Verdict

Overall this is an impressive controller. The screen brings an advanced dimension to the controls allowing easy set-up that beats the code-entry option hands down.

Along side the 8015, you can see where the cuts have been made to bring it down in price. The smaller display still delivers the great benefits of having a screen, but the removal the favourites (Fav.) button is a shame. But the real disappointment was the circular control, which was really lacking.

With a price only slightly lower than the SRU8015, we'd recommend going for the more advanced model.


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