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Monster Controller 300 reviewed: it's worth it


If you wept in great anticipatory globs at the introduction of the Monster Controller 300, then you'd better sit down, Gladys, the review is out. What looks to be an obnoxious clutter of buttons actually delivers an antithesis of ease to home theater and environmental control. See, this mega remote is developed in a partnership with Monster Central and Logitech, yeah the outfit behind the highly regarded Harmony Universal remote controls. As a result, the controller takes full advantage of Harmony's beefy device database and setup infrastructure for AV control. However, it also packs multi-room RF and advanced lighting control. First impression? Well, RemoteShoppe says the AVL300 controller looks "a lot better in person" than it does in the pics. Initial setup was quick and smooth -- the mini-USB-equipped AVL300 remote and OmniLink RF receiver were both auto-detected (by what we assume was XP) and the installed Monster Central Setup software automatically checked and downloaded the latest firmware for the devices. Nice. The software then allowed the reviewer to add additional AVL300 controllers to the home system, one of the "biggest advantages" the Monster Controller has over all other remotes in this price range, according to RemoteShoppe. The reviewer then installed a couple of RF lighting modules for controlling the room brightness before dropping the new room configs into the Monster Central Setup database. After the AV components were added, the AVL300 and OmniLink were update in about 4 minutes. Conclusion? The AVL300 with OmniLink and ControlNet lighting is "revolutionary" with "unbelievably easy set-up," affordable price, and hottastic Z-wave RF technology which obviates the need for direct IR control -- nevertheless, the AVL300 can be used as a line-of-site, IR controller in a pinch. Sure, there were a few nits like a preference for a higher resolution screen; and that center joystick feels just a bit too "fragile." But if your home touts a state-of-the-art, multi-zone, whole-home theater/audio system, well, this is about as good as it gets in this price range.

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