Logitech is popularly known for making speakers, gaming products and mice. The company also manufacturers all-in-one remotes under the Harmony brand. Recently, Logitech released a bunch of Harmony all-in-one remotes in India. We got the Logitech Harmony 650 remote for review. While on paper, an all-in-one remote sound very promising, read our review to find out how it actually fares in real life. At first glance, you will notice how awkwardly long the Harmony 650 is for a remote. Its almost 1.5 times bigger than a normal remote, and has lots of buttons, and I mean lots. The Harmony also has buttons, and I mean lots of them. A new user can easily get confused after seeing so many buttons.
Before using the Harmony remote, it must be connected to a computer and so that it could be setup. The Harmony houses a microUSB port, which is very common among mobile devices nowadays. After connecting the Harmony to their PC, users need to head over to Logitech’s Harmony website and setup the remote from there. Keep in mind, that downloading the Logitech Harmony software will not work. I downloaded the software, and tried to install it but the installer would exit midway without giving any error. I tried re-installing, re-downloaded the setup file, tried to install the app in compatibility mode in vain. Sadly, the Logitech Harmony website only works on Firefox and Internet Explorer. I got a compatibility error, when I visited the site on Chrome.
While this might be a small issue for some, we should not forget that Chrome is rapidly gaining popularity. Hopefully, Logitech will fix this issue sooner than later. The Harmony webpage is like a web-app, and provides you with step by step instructions on how to setup your Harmony. Before using the Harmony, users need to configure which all devices they will be using. This is a pretty tedious process, and involves finding out the model number of your device (TV, A.C etc), which can be a tough task if you have a seemingly older model. Thankfully, Logitech has a huge database of devices, and it automatically suggested me the correct model number of my LG TV.
Even if you are not able to find the model number of your device, just enter the device make and type, and the Harmony should work with it. In my case, I just entered LG and TV as device manufacturer and make, and skipped all the remote setup and it worked flawlessly. While setting up the Harmony remote, you may be instructed to point the remote of the original device towards Harmony’s infrared sensor, and press some specified keys. Don’t worry if it does not work. It did not work for my LG TV, and ultimately I just skipped the whole thing. The Harmony still worked like a charm with my age-old LG TV though.
This particular model of the Logitech Harmony which I am reviewing (Harmony 650) supports a maximum of 5 devices only. Before using the remote with any new device, the remote must be connected to a PC and the make/model of the device must be synced to the remote. I found this to be quite cumbersome. It would have been nice if I could have directly added the device make and model no. from the remote itself.
On a day to day basis, I found the Harmony remote to be quite useful in my living room. Sadly, if you thought that you can just sync the devices to the Harmony, and afterwards point it at the device and use it then you are wrong. Before using the Harmony with any device, you must specify which device you are going to use it with. The small screen on the remote shows the name of all the devices synced to it, and then the users need to select the required device using the buttons around the screen.
The main purpose of the Harmony remote is to unify the functions of all your remote. It will be mainly useful in living room and bedrooms, where people generally have a lot of remote controlled stuff including TV, A.C, DTH, Home Theatre and/or a music systems. After I had synced all the remote controlled devices with the Harmony 650, the remote worked flawlessly, on a day-to-day basis. There were a few hiccups like sometimes I had to press the buttons multiple times for the desired action to take place.
One really nice touch from Logitech is the in-built accelerometer. Thanks to the accelerometer, the Harmony 650’s small screen automatically lights up when someone picks it up, and switches off when its kept down on a table. The battery life of the remote also seems to be pretty good. I have been using the remote for the last 1 month to control 5 of my devices, and there have not been any low battery warnings until now. Sadly, there is no battery indicator on the remote. It will only warn you when the battery is low.
I got another all-in-one remote, easily available at any big electronic retail stores in India, so that I could compare it to the Logitech Harmony 650. Unlike the Harmony, this all-in-one remote actually looks like a remote. Unlike the Harmony, the all-in-one remote from lacks a screen. Also, the remote will only work with a TV, DTH system, DVD player and/or a VCR. It does not support other popular remote controlled devices, commonly found in a household, like A.C, Home Theatre system, Hi-Fi music system and much more. Since this all-in-one remote does not have a screen, and it was not working with my LG TV, I actually had to go through a cumbersome process of finding the exact TV code specified in the remote’s manual for my LG TV and enter it.
Thankfully, it worked just fine with my Tata Sky DTH system. Nevertheless, the price difference between the Logitech Harmony 650, and the all-in-one remote is negligible (4.5k vs 4k), and if you are looking for an all-in-one remote, the Harmony is your best bet. The much easier setup process, build quality and Logitech’s brand name are enough to buy the Harmony over its similarly priced competitors.