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★★★★☆

“Difficult set up, but worth it”

Written on: 12/07/2011 by glenc (319 reviews written)

Having invested in a nice Onkyo surround sound piece of kit and a philips blu ray player, the number of remotes in our house were getting a bit ridiculous, so I thought Id venture into the world of universal remotes - with a little trepidation I must say.

I previously hadn't used a universal remote (apart from the kymera wand, but that's really just a play thing) and was a little sceptical about how well they might work.

Having done my research it appeared that the Logitech Harmony range were the best, so I set about seeing which one from the range suited me best.

I was tempted by the all singing, all dancing ones, but ultimately decided for two reasons to get a cheaper one. Firstly, I have two small children, so the chances of the lovely touchscreen model being smashed to smithereens was quite high. Secondly, I just wasn't sure if I was going to get on with a universal remote, so wanted to get a relative entry level one to start with (I could always use it in a different room if I then went on to buy a top of the range one later....)

I opted for the Harmony 650 because it had a screen, which I like, but was still pretty budget. Picked it up for £40 on ebay.

I liked the look of the remote when it arrived, didnt look too cheap and plastic, but I was disappointed by the set up process. It didnt just set up easily and auto-find my products so I had to try and set it up manually which was near on impossible. It didnt like the Onkyo 5405 amp basically.

Id say Im moderately technical but still really struggled.

So, I resorted to their technical help email system which I must say was absolutely first class - and 4 or 5 email flurries later I had the remote set up satisfactorily.

Once set it up works really quite well. Takes a little while to get used to where the buttons are vs your normal remote, but that's always going to be the case.

The buttons are marked and laid out pretty well and after a day or so I was already pretty comfortable with it.

It's a real shame that the set up wasn't intuitive. It feels like they should spend more money on decent set up software / software help rather than spending it on support staff who have to sort out your issues as the software isnt that great.

However, its great that they have at least got great support people - so you can actually get it set up, albeit you have to ask for a bit of help and thus it takes a bit longer than you'd like

So, nearly a 5 star, but due to the set up issues Im giving it 4.

Still a cracking product for the price, Id say its well worth getting if you have 5 or less devices you want to control (5 is the max for this remote) and you're not that bothered about touchscreen controls. The rest of the functionality is basically the same as the remotes costing 5 times as much, as you're not missing out by having the entry level ones

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