Intro by Julie Jacobson
Crestron's new TSR-310 remote is winning rave reviews from seasoned professionals and discriminating consumers since the wand-style controller debuted at ISE 2018. It sports a 3-inch touchscreen and just the right number of hard buttons in all the right places with backlighting that appears only when you need it.
Dealers seemed appropriately impressed with the look and feel of the device at ISE, but they truly marveled at the hidden touches that only an accomplished controls company can pull off. Take Wi-Fi. As PanTech's Troy Morgan describes below, Crestron put some serious effort into a new wireless scheme that wakes up a sleeping remote, connects it to the network, and implements commands almost instantaneously when a button is pressed. At the same time, the process encourages the remote to fall asleep to preserve its battery life.
For a closer look at the touchscreen model, we turned to the pros at ADAPT (PanTech Design). As a longtime Crestron partner, ADAPT makes software to help Crestron systems easy to program. The team also pokes and prods at pre-production versions of new products to offer feedback to the manufacturers on everything from the stickiness of the buttons to the speed of the UI. By the time the new gear comes to market, ADAPT is ready to roll with software for system configuration and design.
What do they say about the new product? “We love it. It could even be our favorite Crestron remote yet.”
Review by PanTech founder and CEO Troy Morgan
The Best Features of Crestron's New TSR-310 Touchscreen Controller
Unlike the HR-310, which was released in January 2018, the TSR-310 features a touchscreen display. Now, here’s our favorite part about the touchscreen on this remote: It just looks fantastic. The high-contrast screen makes it easy on your eyes, allowing you to maneuver through the options on the remote clearly.
The touchscreen is also home to your favorites now, thanks to Crestron’s new cloud-based guide system to populate channel presets. This feature eliminates the need for a favorites button in the middle of the remote.
“The TSR-310 easily gets the ADAPT team’s seal of approval.”
What replaced the favorites button on the TSR-310? Voice control. Just press a button right in the center of the remote to activate it. It’s perfectly convenient and avoids wasting battery power by requiring a button press to activate.
And it works flawlessly. I even tested it while watching a movie, so in an environment with plenty of surrounding noise. The remote recognized my exact command, without issue. You’ll find it features incredibly improved voice performance compared to devices like a Google Home or an Amazon Alexa.
Now, since the TSR-310 operates through Wi-Fi, you might be wondering about any potential delay. I never encountered one! As the remote recognizes a person lifting it, the connection happens in less than a second. That’s also about the same time it takes for me to finish picking it up and find the button I’d like to push, so my experience is never interrupted.
The user can choose to be immediately notified of any connection issues that do occur, and we have tested this feature as well. We found that in the rare occasion of a connectivity interruption, the remote reconnects so quickly that we didn’t even have time to react to the notification.
Movement and Light Detection
This is one of my favorite aspects of the TSR-310: The remote will activate when you lift it up, and button backlights will activate according to the amount of ambient light in the room.
Say you’re watching a movie and you lift the remote. The backlit buttons instantly will brighten in the dark, allowing you to maneuver the remote. But the best part: The touchscreen component remains dark unless you press on it.
We liken it to using your smartphone at the movie theater. You might take your phone out of your pocket, but you don’t want the bright screen automatically to turn on and ruin the viewing experience for everyone! Crestron anticipated this situation and made sure that it wouldn’t occur with the TSR-310.
Smooth and Efficient Handling
We at the ADAPT team really think the TSR-310 stands out regarding its usability. Its uniquely curved and smooth back makes it easy to maneuver.
You comfortably can slide the TSR-310 in your hand, allowing you to use the touchscreen at the top of the remote and then quickly moving all the way down to press the DVR button at the bottom.
The TSR-310 also is wider than your average remote and shorter than the widely acclaimed TSR-302, which we found to be noticeably more comfortable to handle.
Simply put, we love the way the TSR-310 feels.
Stable Charging Base
The TSR-310 features a charging base that, when docked, proves to be incredibly secure.
When we tried pushing the docked TSR-310 off a table, the remote and the charging pins remained connected. That bodes well for those times when you (or your dog’s tail) might accidentally knock the remote over while it’s charging.
Other Similarities to the HR-310
In our review of the HR-310, we noted how we loved clicking the remote’s satisfying, traditional buttons and how it removed (but secretly kept) the Red, Green, Yellow and Blue buttons.
We’re happy to report the TSR-310 also features those same assets!
Our TSR-310 Conclusion: A Home Run
I’ve been involved with Crestron systems since 1997, and I’ve been fortunate enough to test and use their new devices through the years.
To me, the improvements Crestron made to the TSR-310 are significant enough that I fully expect it to replace the TSR-302 as my go-to remote moving forward. The TSR-310 easily gets the ADAPT team’s seal of approval.
…. or take it buttoned up
The $1,000 touchscreen-endowed TSR-310 above is the step-up version of Crestron's all-button HR-310 remote ($400). We raved about that screenless wonder last year, noting the remarkable care Crestron took in revisiting every detail of such a classic device.