Logitech Harmony 650 Review

How many of you have a separate digital TV receiver, TV, audio receiver and more separately connected devices in your home theater? How many of you experience frustration in switching inputs between them or have difficulty with family members figuring it out? How many remotes do you have on your coffee table? Enter, the Logitech Harmony series of remotes.

Logitech Harmony 650 side view

The Harmony 650 is one their midrange remotes. Fancier versions have touchscreens, IR blasters, and other fancy gizmos. This one is just a really smart replacement for your other remotes. With standard remotes, there are 2 big problems:

  1. Crappy “universal” remotes that come with your TV, audio, or satellite receiver aren’t all that universal and often have compatibility issues or only implement partial sets of functionality.
  2. Switching audio and TV inputs to the correct ones can be a pain in the butt. Confounding the problem, audio receivers usually don’t have enough video inputs to be the universal box that switches everything, and TV receivers usually don’t have enough audio ins and outs. Since your standard remotes have buttons that can’t be reconfigured, you get stuck with ridiculous scenario’s like using the DVD/VCD button for computer audio.
The Harmony simply supports more devices than pretty much any other remote out there and it sets up really easily. Want to check if it supports your TV or devices? It will, but just in case, check out their quick compatibility check. Even if it’s not in there, you can use the learning IR port in the back of the remote to learn new commands.
Infrared learning port on Harmony 650
Micro USB Port on Harmony 650
The remote is programmed over a micro USB on the front to your PC or Mac using either their device software or a web based program.
Harmony Config screen
Scripting order of events on the Harmony 650
The software itself has bit of a learning curve, but uses wizards to help configure all along the way. It makes it easy to pick out buttons, customize the home screen, and set out scripted actions like “Watch TV” or “Listen to Music”.
    Connecting USB to Harmony 650
The colors aren’t actually as bad as the pictures show. I couldn’t capture them with either my Canon point and shoot or my smartphone camera, but just trust that they aren’t so ugly. Also, the custom TV channel images have to be programmed in manually. That means you have to download the image from the internet, and program it into the remote. It’s not seamless, but it’s easy enough.
If I had one criticism for this remote, it’d be the battery springs. Rather, they’re bent tabs, and the metal they’re made of is soft and not very springy. What this means is that when the remote is dropped from a coffee table, the battery clips compress, and the batteries are able to wiggle around and the remote has connection problems. Bending the clips back to shape fixes it, but I feel like some engineer at Logitech really dropped the ball here. Springs work, why fuck around with bent tabs?


Logitech Harmony 650 Review

Reviewed by Adriel Michaud on Dec 13

A great upgrade if your coffee table is overwhelmed with remotes
A great value at $70 to remove some of the confusion with switching remotes

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