Universal Electronics NevoS70 Universal Remote Control
To Have and to Hold
To say I’ve found and fallen in love with the perfect universal remote control wouldn’t be 100-percent correct. After all, the NevoS70 certainly has its flaws. But then so do I, and yet my wife loves me anyway. In the case of Universal Electronics’ NevoS70, there are so many good features, it’s hard to remember any that might not be so good.
First and foremost, the NevoS70’s shape is a great fit for the average person’s hand (a.k.a. my hand). Because of the way the back of the remote control’s case curves and where the unit’s center of gravity is located, the most comfortable and natural way to hold the remote puts the most-used keys (volume, channel, and directional keypad) within easy reach of your thumb. From there, it’s not much of a stretch to reach the touchscreen. A small scroll wheel for navigation is mounted on the right side of the remote (I’m sure not coincidentally), which is exactly where your thumb rests when it’s not pressing the keys on the front. Should you need or want it, the right side of the remote’s casing also stores a standard PDA-type stylus.
My wife tells me that communication is an important skill that I need to work on. The NevoS70 has the ability to communicate in a variety of ways. In addition to blurting out IR commands, it can also speak 802.11g and Z-Wave. If that’s not enough, you can pair it with a NevoConnect NC-50 base station. This adds individually addressable IR blasters, as well as serial device control and power-sensing capabilities.
So Wonderful It’s Scary
All of this power in the hands of the rabble is a dangerous thing, so Universal Electronics only sells the NevoS70 through custom installation dealers who will be the ones doing the programming. While I know in my heart that’s the best way to go, it’s a shame, as the NevoStudio Pro programming software is very easy to understand and quite a bit of fun to use. You can accomplish most everything within the program by dragging and dropping icons, buttons, backgrounds, and IR codes. However, things get a bit trickier when you attempt to program operations that involve serial, power-sensing, and Z-Wave-enabled devices (such as light dimmers and thermostats).
One of the beautiful aspects of a remote control with this much programming flexibility is that you can customize it for multiple users. The NevoS70 allows you to configure multiple virtual universal remote controls to operate differently based on who uses them. For example, the Home page on the NevoS70’s touchscreen could have three buttons labeled Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear. Papa Bear has buttons and links for doing every blasted thing the system can do. Mama Bear, on the other hand, has buttons for only the standard array of things she’d want to do with a home theater system. Baby Bear might only take the little holder of the remote to a page with icons for Nickelodeon, Toon Disney, and Bloomberg Television. (Hey, Baby Bear needs to learn how to pay for his own remote control someday.) All the codes and macros remain programmed into the NevoS70, but some options are invisible to some users. This design should make operation of your home theater system as easy as eating porridge no matter how big or small you are.
The remote includes yet another level of programming complexity. It lets you use the NevoS70’s Wi-Fi capabilities to access and control IP cameras (in Baby Bear’s room, for example), locally stored digital content (like the thousands of bear photos stored on my hard drive that my wife complains about not being able to leisurely peruse), and Web content (sports scores, weather forecasts, TV program guides, and helpful hibernation information).
You Are So Mine
I like the way the NevoS70 looks even before the screen lights up, and I like the way it feels in my hand. Sadly, the remote doesn’t include a built-in motion sensor. In order to wake it from its electronic slumber, you have to press one of the buttons on the front of the NevoS70 or give the side-mounted scroll wheel a spin.
Beyond that, my only complaint about the NevoS70 is that I don’t have one. Well, that’s not my only complaint. If I did have one, I’d never be able to stop fiddling with it and tweaking the programming long enough to enjoy using it to control my home theater and the rest of my house. If it’s true, as they say, that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely, then I am ready to be absolutely corrupted by the NevoS70.