Despite the leaps and bounds in technology over the years, universal remote controls remain as popular as ever. This is due to a number of factors, not the least of which is the ever-increasing popularity of home theater setups. Because when a TV, Blu-ray, surround sound speakers and AV receiver are involved, it is always best to have one remote to rule them all.
A quality universal remote doesn’t need to possess multiple features in order to be worthwhile, but the features it does possess need to function smoothly. Not only that, but the ideal universal remote should be easy enough for a grandparent to use. After all, what good is all that excess functionality if only they most tech proficient people out there can figure out how to use it.
Price is also an consideration. There are few reasons even an excellent universal remote needs to be cost a fortune. So with that in mind, here is a look at the Logitech Harmony 650, one of the more popular mid-range universal remotes on the market.
Logitech has many high-end universal remotes on the market, and this is one of their more affordable models. It features the same Windows and Mac-programmable Logitech software found in many of the company’s other remotes. Also, the look of the 650 is reminiscent of other popular models such as the Harmony 600 and Harmony 700. And like these other remotes, the design of the 650 offers nice ergonomics and a shape that counters pleasantly to the hand.
In fact, the 650 is so similar to the 700 that there are few differences at all – and those that are noticeable give a clue as to the 650’s reduced price. The Harmony 650 has the capacity to control five devices instead of the six the 700 controls. Also, the Harmony 650 doesn’t come with rechargeable batteries like its counterpart does. That said, the 650 maintains its prominent color LCD screen, which is a lovely feature when taking the low price into account.
As for functionality, all the buttons required to operate a TV, disc player and cable box are included. Also, there are simple task-based button commands that make switching from device to device a quick and straightforward process. Programming is also a breeze, as all users have to do is plug the unit into a PC or Mac computer, select their model of electronic device from the window and the proper codes are instantly downloaded to the remote. Once the remote is fully programmed, the unit should control all devices flawlessly and efficiently.
Those who aren’t particularly tech savvy may find the Internet-programming process a bit challenging. But it is worth noting that this process is far easier for most newbies to grasp than is programming macros on many other, older universal remote control models.
Positive: Great design; straightforward functionality; included color LCD screen.
Negative: Only programs five devices instead of six; requires Internet to program; adding favorite channels can be tricky.