ATI All-in-Wonder 9600XT

Review

posted 4/5/2004 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
The Remote Wonder II is finally packaged with an AIW board and it’s a very nice change from the original. A new physical design encompasses the new Remote Wonder II. From the onset, the remote looks longer but has the same width and is not as deep as the old one. It’s also got a lighter feel to it. As you can see from the pictures, there are plenty more buttons albeit smaller than the original remote. I did enjoy the feel and size of the old Remote Wonder but it didn’t take me long to get used to the newer sized buttons and I actually do have some remotes that have the same sized buttons. To be a little nitpicky, I would’ve liked the size to just be a little bit more though. To compare the number pads on both remotes, the new one has smaller but more spread out buttons and also has letters labeled next to each one that are similar to cell phone labels.



Change in the directional keys are present with wide yet thinner directional buttons but a bigger center OK button. I do like the newer design over the old one. The C-D and E-F buttons are now grouped together and are placed in a pattern that corresponds with the newer VCR control placements. Where the old VCR buttons are placed in a square pattern, the new remote has the buttons in an arc. I would’ve preferred the record button on the outside so that I don’t accidentally hit it as much as I would in the position it is now.

There are four AUX buttons that are new to the remote and which I will get into more a little bit. Depending on which function is active (i.e. an AUX or the PC), that particular button will light up when you are using the remote to easily tell when a command is sent and for which component you are controlling.

The volume and channel buttons have changed from one long button to two separate ones. In my opinion, the change is pretty insignificant although I do know some that do like the one button design. The channel and volume up buttons are also larger than the down buttons to help distinguish them.

The mouse control button has been completely redesigned and now protrudes from the remote a little. Moving the button with the thumb was pretty comfortable and the button is pretty sensitive to your movements. The mouse click buttons has moved from the bottom of the mouse control area to the top on the new remote.

I found holding the controller to be pretty comfortable even with the increase in length. There’s a nice indentation on the bottom that helps gripping the remote easier. One less AAA battery powers the remote with the Remote Wonder II needing three batteries instead of four. Instead of a two-by-two configuration, the three batteries now lay side by side across the remote.

Besides the remote itself, the receiver has gone quite a metamorphosis also. Gone is the small silver rectangular receiver with a wire hanging off the front. Now, a large, black, round receiver takes its place and a long generous USB cable allows you to place the receiver a good distance away. The receiver receives remote signals in the 433MHz band. On one side of the receiver there are two 2.5mm plugs. HTPC users should be excited to know these are expansion ports for IR blasters so that you can control your traditional components with the Remote Wonder II. There’s no timetable as to when it’s going to be released but the sooner the better I say. This is one feature I’ve been waiting for on the Remote Wonder so that I can consolidate my remotes for my HTPC in the living room. That’s where the four AUX buttons will come into play.

Range for the remote is rated at 60 feet but I had problems getting it to work from that far away. In fact, my optimum range was around 30 feet before the remote stopped working. It seems that my limit on range is not the norm as I’ve read a few other reviews saying they have achieved the range listed. The improved remote featured with the product should make a lot of multimedia users very happy with it’s improved functionality and expansion capabilities.
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