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Sunwave SRC-1600 review: Sunwave SRC-1600

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The Good Number pad hard buttons. Thousands of preset codes. Low cost.

The Bad Outdated pre-set codes. Slow load time. Poor feedback from LCD.

The Bottom Line A six-in-one universal remote that's ideally suited to the small and medium home theatres.

7.6 Overall

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The latest universal remotes entering the market can be expensive and are packed with many features most users will never need. Sunwave's SRC-1600 is capable of controlling up to six different devices and is aimed at users who want a simple way of getting rid of several pesky remotes.

Design
The SRC-1600 is Sunwave's entry model in the SRC range of touch sensitive universal remotes, and features most of the functions of the higher spec models. Measuring 158mm long and 58mm wide, the SRC-1600 is relatively small compared with other universal remotes on the market, including its bigger brother SRC-3820. The front of the remote has a metal faceplate with the Sunwave logo embossed at the top. The rest of the device is encased it plain black plastic. The backlit touchscreen LCD has an adjustable button layout which gives off a beep sound for feedback. This is usually inaudible during movies meaning we were often pressing buttons more often than necessary.

One of the highlights of the remote is the hard buttoned number pad. This comes in very handy because LCD soft keys are rather difficult to press without actually looking at the screen. The buttons are well spaced and backlit in the same blue as the screen. Unfortunately, like most of Sunwave's products, the buttons feature the same shape and can be confusing when pressing blindly. Frequently used buttons such as channel and volume changes are including as hard buttons for convenience.

Features
Even though the SRC-1600 is considered basic by universal remote standards, it still has a bevy of useful features that will please most users. Included inside the box is a foldout list of thousands of pre-programmed codes for different manufacturer's devices. Note that most popular manufacturers have more than a dozen codes for each of its devices, so some trial and error will be involved when programming your remote. Otherwise you can quickly configure the SRC-1600 for each of your own devices by using the remote's learning eye feature. You can then program the remote using the advanced macro function to initial a chain of up to 60 commands with the press of single button.

The SRC-1600 also features Sunwave's "punch through" function which enables you to simultaneously control devices using the LCD screen while assigning the hard buttons to other devices. This means that you can control a DVD player and change the volume of your receiver without have to switch between the two. An automatic power function turns off the remote after 90 seconds of inactive use, which helps save the 4 AAA batteries. Sunwave has an optional PC USB cable and a transmit cable, which wasn't provided or testing. These can be used to load updates or transfer duplicate data to another remote.

Performance
Before you can use the remote, some initial set-up is required. As mentioned, you can either use the preset codes or the learning eye to input codes. We found that despite the thousands of codes, some fairly common devices were missing. The list may have been outdated because we were using fairly new equipment. This was disappointing because using the learning eye for almost all functions takes very long and gets frustrating after a while. For a reasonably complicated home theatre set-up you're looking at least a solid two hours of programming. During the set-up phase you can also change the layout of the LCD screen, delete unwanted codes or enter new macro commands. The included manual provides clear and simple instructions and most users should have no problems. Since Sunwave is based in Taiwan, the product's Web site provides limited support with downloadable copies of the manual and preset codes available.

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