Logitech's Harmony series of remote controls are some of the most popular all-in-one universal remote controls out on the market (considering it supports over almost a quarter million devices out there). With different models of the Harmony out there and different price point, it can get a bit hairy to figure out which works best for you. We've broken down some of the most popular models and segmented it by price so you can see which Harmony remote works best for you and your budget.
Logitech Harmony 300i Universal Infrared Remote
Usual price: $16.99 to 25.99
Pros: Supports over 5000 brands of devices. Most old devices can sync with the Harmony 300i. Provides simple online setup using a USB cable. Doesn't use button sequences or device codes. Uses the "Watch TV" button - a one-touch TV/cable button to simultaneously switch on or off your TV and cable/satellite box.
Cons: Has only 1 programmable button. Can only control up to 4 devices. Some users experience some difficulty reprogramming the remote.
To install the Harmony 300i, your browser should have the latest Silverlight installed. If your objective is to organize your viewing experience then this one does the job at a very cheap price. The Harmony 300i looks just like other higher-end Harmony remotes, though with fewer features, but can do more than what is expected.
Logitech Harmony 650 Universal Remote Control Usual price: $49.99 to 66.99
Pros: Has bright LCD color display. Features one-click activity buttons for easy switching. Controls up to 5 entertainment devices. Has a built-in Help feature. Easy remapping of buttons.
Cons: No special buttons for favorites. Still uses AA batteries.
Ergonomically designed and far from bulky, the Harmony 650 is a great mid-range remote to eliminate clutter. The Harmony 650 online setup won't work with Chrome even if the latest Silverlight plugin is installed, so you'll need to download the setup software from Logitech's MyHarmony website. Registration is required.
Usual price: $99.99 to 113.99
Pros: Controls up to 6 devices and comes with rechargeable batteries. All the benefits you'd expect from the Harmony 300 and 650.
Cons: No docking station to charge batteries. Batteries last for a week only. Need to reprogram buttons when batteries are removed (but you don't need to remove to recharge).
Tip: You can buy used or refurbished Harmony 700 in mint condition for as low as $66. These are mostly returned items (practically new) from users who can't set up the remotes because they lack the software or don't know to use online setup.
Logitech Harmony One Universal Remote
Usual price: $159.99 to $257Pros: Customizable menu provides favorite channel icons. Controls up to 15 devices.All the perks from the Harmony 300, 650, and 700.
Cons: A bit pricey for something that controls devices that may not be present in your living room. Do you seriously have 15 devices in your living room?
Harmony One comes with a docking station to charge the batteries. It is ergonomic, naturally positioning your thumb on the most important buttons. The remote is elegantly designed to match your devices, and it doesn't feel cheap.
Aside from eliminating excessive remote controls, the number of devices you want to organize is usually the biggest factor for choosing a universal remote. If you have a dozen devices to control, the Harmony One or a higher-end model seems like the best choice. But an average family room has only 4-6 devices - including the TV - so buying a Harmony One may not be a practical choice. And for a household full of kids, a remote control with a touchscreen may not be kiddie-friendly, as screens are vulnerable to abuse.
Among these remote controls, I think the Harmony 700 may be the best choice. Its LCD screen only serves as a menu for the buttons that do the major functions. You may find replacing AA batteries a bit annoying like I do, so try to deal with charging the remote every week, just like you would a cellphone. Also, there are refurbished or used Harmony 700 remotes that are good as brand new and sold for half the original price.
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