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I started with the NCE Power Cab but upgraded to a Power Pro later (a very easy upgrade. while the NCE does have a "TV remote" look to it, it is very "user-friendly" and ergonomic. It is easy to use one-handed, either right or left-handed.

However, I'm not totally "one-eyed" in my support of the NCE; the Digitrax Zephyr is good too, and the ESU ECOS is a brilliant piece of kit but rather more expensive. The NCE Power Cab has two small drawbacks, in my view:
1. it only supports one "slave" controller as it comes; and
2. it only has two memory slots to "remember" what locomotives you are running.

For a starter system this shouldn't be too much of a hindrance and, as Richard Johnson has said, it is very full-featured - it even has an ammeter function the Power Pro system doesn't have access to!

My advice to people is to try out a few different systems if they can before they buy but it seems like you may not be able to do that if you are as isolated as you make it sound.

I was lucky enough to be able to play with a mate's Digitrax system and a Lenz Compact before making my final decision to go for NCE. All of the systems (including the expensive high end ones) have some compromises or variations on features which complicate your choices. As someone else earlier said, there is no easy answer to your initial question.

Whatever you do choose to go with I wish you the best and I'm sure you will get many years of enjoyment from the system and your model railway.
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