Control all your entertainment devices more effectively
The Harmony 900 is a ‘universal' remote control that can replace several separate control units.
There are two main differences between this and cheaper models: firstly, the number of devices to be controlled isn't restricted: because the Harmony 900 has its own touch-sensitive screen there's no limit to how many things it can command.
Secondly, instead of controlling each device individually, the idea is to set up ‘activities'. So you might set up a ‘watch TV' activity that switches on the TV and the satellite box and switches the TV to the correct input. Changing from that to ‘listen to music' will turn both devices off, switch the hi-fi on and set a CD playing.
The Harmony 900 comes with its own charging cradle that requires a mains connection, and there's a separate RF receiver that we'll cover later, which requires another mains socket. The remote control itself must be plugged into the computer to set it up. The supplied CD loads Logitech's slow and clunky but easy-to-follow set up software. We were upgrading from a previous Harmony model, so it was annoying to get most of the way through the process only to be told that our existing account was unable to work with the Harmony 900 and to create a new one. It wasn't at all clear why Logitech couldn't upgrade the existing account but once it was done we were underway again.
We had to tell the software the model numbers of each of our devices, and it matches them to its database of known remotes. If it doesn't know your device you need to point its remote and the Harmony at each other, and the Harmony learns the right commands. Then it prompted us to set up activities, and it prompted us with some suggestions. Finally it copied the details to the remote control.
Once we'd unplugged it, the Harmony 900's screen displayed a series of steps to test the devices. If not all of them are pointed in the right direction, the RF receiver comes into play. This points at the problem devices and relays commands from the Harmony.
In use, the activities worked well, and in some cases the Harmony 900's powerful transmissions worked much better than the ‘proper' remotes. Generally it was pleasant to use, though the touch-screen was occasionally unresponsive. Because there is a limited number of physical buttons, anything that isn't covered by those must be accessed by paging through the touch-screen, which was a little annoying.
The Harmony 900 is a very impressive remote control, and if you're drowning in a sea of remote controls it'll be a worthwhile investment, although people with fewer devices to control will find a cheaper model better value.
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This easy-to-use remote control worked very well, though setup could have been much simpler
Can control all sorts of devices; comes with extender for devices in cupboards or otherwise blocked; easy to use
Setup process looked very dated and was convoluted; touch-screen isn't always a good way to access control buttons
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