"It works great!"on by rafalink
Pros You can program this remote with the use of a PC with an internet connection. The remote can learn commands from the remotes that you already have, even when this will be unlikely necessary.
Cons You need to expend some time to customize the programing of the remote to your own needs.
Summary I bought this remote after buying a Blu-ray player, as now I have five components (TV set , Satellite box, A/V Receiver, DVD and Blu-ray). It was hard to convince my wife to expend $150 to buy something that does the same thing as the original remotes, but in one unit. After programing the remote to do six different things (watch Sat, DVD or Blu-ray only and watch Sat, DVD, or Blu-ray plus A/V Receiver) even my wife agreed that this is an excellent device, very easy to use and worth the money. I don't think that it has a chip feel to it, and in fact prefer the design and feel compared to the Harmony One (as I compared them at the store).
Pros Good (enough) hardware.
Huge database of emulated devices.
Cons Very ill-designed software platform (including the fact it's web based).
Very much less flexible in programming than usually stated.
Pricey, if you consider the many software shortcomings and therefore its limited usefulness.
Summary After unpacking it, the first impression is quite good: very sleek design, well balanced in hand. Buttons have the right feeling (likely better than the average remote controls it has to replace), the display seems a good idea (and it is, really) and the automatic lighting up when remote is tilted is a very smart touch.
Battery lasts several weeks of (light) use an that's good.
Moreover, Harmony remote controls database is huge, so likely you'll find some ready-made emulations for your devices. Anyway, you can always change and fine tune function assignment to buttons as well as instructing Harmony to "learn" commands from the original remotes.
Unfortunately, Harmony smartness stops here or almost so.
Have you read rave reviews about Harmony remotes? Have you heard high praises about their "flexibility"?
Well, I think there is a good amount of hype around Harmony remotes.
Or, at least, it's opportune to say that they could be considered "simple" to program only if you adhere to "Harmony software philosophy", which is centered on "activities" instead of "remote emulation states".
This means, for example, that for every task that needs to switch from a device to another you have to define an "activity" that handles both devices (an activity is a "programmable" command sequence that links all devices used by that activity, e.g. "Watch Satellite" o "Watch TV", to some pre and post actions to perform on them).
Unfortunately, this also means struggling with the stubborn Harmony wizard that, by default, puts at the beginning of the activity command sequence some (unchangeable and not deletable!) commands to manage input selection and on/off state for each device, almost according to is own choice.
I'm saying "almost" because you can really choose some configuration settings to allow a more "free" programming but this is absolutely much less straightforward than you could think and that should be.
I can say that with good reason because, after some days of struggling with my 700 on a supposedly simple task (switching my TV set between a terrestrial decoder and a satellite decoder, just sending to TV an input selection string and then being able to switch to the appropriate remote emulation state), I've asked for support on Logitech Harmony forum, without receiving useful suggestions (at the end someone said that their technology is "better" than other manufacturers' "state emulation" philosophy, another person told me that I've simply bought the wrong kind of remote for my needs!).
After that, I've asked for advices on Remote Central forum and finally a smart and kind guy pointed me in the right direction: it can be done, after some configuration changes into the awkward Harmony software interface.
So, at the end I found that my 700 is a strange prepackaged beast, with a clumsy web based interface and a set of wizards that are likely good for basic and "standard" operations but not good at all for any operation that stays outside its "philosophy".
I've bought it with great expectations (given the good reviews and high praises I've read about) but I'm now convinced that Harmony's software philosophy is badly flawed:
- too much rigid and "activity-centric" (activity wizards are OK but they should be a benefit not a straitjacket!)
- internet connection MANDATORY for any configuration change (what if I go to my tourist home on the mountains for holidays and I have no internet connection? It also has a crazy timeout that thrust you out after some time of inactivity, without saving your modifications! Absolute madness ...)
- no configuration backup (scary ...)
- no configuration cloning (it would be very useful when testing new activities derived from existing ones)
- no step-by-step command sequence debug facility (isn't this a "programmable" remote? so, why no "debug" mode to send commands one-by-one to devices, allowing to individually check the effect of any command?)
- poor programming interface (clumsy menus, no possibility to edit already assigned commands, not even to simply change delays, etc.)
I've been a software developer for fifteen years and, frankly speaking, in my opinion Harmony software is a significant example of ill-conceived software.
All in all, I think that these remotes are (at least my 700 but I suspect it's quite representative of the whole family) both too much complicated for inexperienced guys and too much limited by their software for in-depth remote programming.
For sure, it can't be given with a light heart to elderly or absolutely non-technical people you have in your family.
So, I can't think of a user category to which these remotes could fit well, maybe just the soft-core technology amateur which lives alone ...
Anyway, if you are thinking about buying one of these devices please consider their activity-oriented nature and the fact it means being quite rigid and limited in programming.
Much more rigid than you could think when reading enthusiast reviews on the net.
Pros Amazingly easy setup and operation.
Motion sensing back-light and screen on control
Great Tech support.
Adjustable delay for input switching after power on.
Adjustable keystroke transmit time per device
Cons Some of the setup functions in the tutorials do not Match the actual program screens. Those functions (power on input switch delay and on screen activity order)have to be set with the help function on the remote. This is where tech support Shines.
Summary All activities (watch TV, Watch DVD. Listen to CD, Play game)require just one keystroke to turn on all relevant devices and switch to the correct inputs. Also you don't have too power all devices off to switch to a new activity. Unneeded devices will power off and needed devices power on and switch to the correct inputs.
Volume control stays locked to my AV receiver where all my audio goes. Motion controls stay locked to either The DVR or DVD player, whichever is in use.
Punch through buttons are easy to set up. I set the blue button to cycle my TV's aspect control (screen size) from any activity.
Over all it has exceeded my hopes for an ideal remote
Pros Programming the remote via computer from device model numbers, learned buttons automatically update the centralized website database. Remote lasts about a month between charging. Being able to assign macros and control room lighting.
Cons Can be troublesome if your devices do not have a button dedicated to a specific input. If the remote needs to cycle through your device inputs, it could be hit or miss if it lands on the right one when turning on the TV or Receiver.
Summary Overall this is by far the best universal remote I ever owned. Programming was simple, just look up the model numbers of the items I wanted to control and it automatically downloads the buttons into the remote after downloading the software and registering the remote at the Harmony website. You get 90 days of free technical phone support from the time you register. I love the color screen and the ability to program up to 23 favorite channels and even download their logos right into the remote. Harmony has a website for it and you can even use logos meant for the other remotes in their series.
The remote lights up when you move it or shake it and all of the buttons light up except the ones above the computer screen (activity buttons), very easy to use in the dark. You can even control the light duration and turn off the motion feature. The batteries seem to last a month between charges, and it only needs to be charged for 3 to 4 hours.
I spent a lot of time tweaking the remote during the first week I had it. Afterwards, I only had to update it when coming across buttons I forgot to add or reorganize the existing buttons to make it more efficient when different situations came up. I just had to modify my existing settings on their website and download it again into the remote, takes about 5 minutes each time. The remote can also control my lighting, and other items such as appliances.
The color screen is clear and easy to read. It contains 4 quadrants with 2 buttons on each side controlling the items that are not listed as stand alone buttons. You can even duplicate the other stand alone buttons on the remote and organize what button shows up in each quadrant and page if several of them exist. The 3 buttons at the bottom of the screen allow you to page over to additional screens if needed, the middle button allows you to select between Devices and Activities. Devices are the modes like any other standard remote. If in DVD mode, the remote only controls DVD functions, if TV is selected, it only controls the TV functions. The Activities option is a mode where you can blend different devices together for a certain purpose. When I select Watch DVD...my TV turns on, flips to HDMI1, Receiver turns on, flips to HDMI2, Blu-ray player turns on, tray opens, overhead lights either turn on or turn off after several seconds, channel up and down become Chapter Up and Down on the Blu-ray player, Volume Up and Down control the receiver volume, all with the press of the Watch DVD activities button. To switch to different activities, you need to hit the All Power Off button, and everything turns off, then press the next activity button and those devices will turn on and the remote will be configured to work in that mode. It sounds complicated, but the software allows you to set this up fairly easily, and tweaking it is simple after you get use to the process.
If you had someone set up your system for you, make sure they are the ones programming the remote because you'll need to know what inputs are used in each device and how each of them were wired. An example would be TV is connected to the Reciever's HDMI 1 port and the TV's audio out is connected to the Reciever via its TV In Input, VCR works on Channel 3 on the TV, etc.
If there is a button missing after downloading everything, you can have the remote learn the missing button from the original remote. The neat thing is that the learned button also goes back to the Harmony website and if anyone else has that same device in the future, your button will be available for them when they do their download. I thought that was very interesting. Overall a very good remote and a definite improvement from the older ones I use to use.
Pros I like it's sleek design, it is easy to hold and fits comfortably in my hand. The display screen is the perfect size, not too big and not too small.
Cons There is nothing I don't like about this remote.
Summary It operates my DVR easily with extra DVR buttons while operating my televisions, surround sound receiver, PS3 (Use as my BluRay player), the Xbox and Wii. Activity buttons let me push 1 button to watch tv, xbox, or a movie, it turns it all on for me, even the input. The screen allows me to easily find each individual device when I need to. I also am able to program an "All Off, All On" function which shuts everything down or turns everything on at the touch of one button.