Friday, January 6, 2012

Harmony 650 Review

 I've had several Harmony remotes (880x2, 890, Harmony One, and now this) and while this remote loses all the checkbox fights against the higher-end Harmony remotes, I will tell you it's the best bargin of the bunch!

No it doesn't have a big touch screen like the One.. but is that worth $120+?? After owning this, I will tell you no! Unless you are the type that is constantly in your device view on the touchscreen, the smaller screen is more then plenty.

I was originally concerned about the fixed activity buttons at the top.. no worries.. activities are shown on the screen as well.. just like the bigger remotes.

The key availability is the same as the bigger remotes.. it has the color keys for BluRay players, and a good layout for DVRs, etc.

It runs on batteries vs rechargable. Well anyone who has owned logitec rechargables over the years will tell you over time the charging contacts get worse and worse and often are the death of your device. The early harmony remotes were REALLY bad with this. I've had this remote now for almost 4 months and I'm still on my first set of batteries with no end in sight. The AA battery design is going to be more reliable in the long haul and has plenty of battery life.

5 Device limit - unless you have a big home theatre you are trying to setup.. this will be MORE then plenty for most people.

Not all the buttons light up like the higher end remotes, but that is a reduction in features I haven't missed in real world use.

Undeniably, unless the 5 device limit is constraining you, this is THE harmony remote to get. It's far cheaper and looks like it will hold up without problems for the long haul. Even if it didn't, at 1/3rd the cost you can afford to buy a replacement if you had to!

This remote has all the same device compatibility as the other IR Harmony remotes so no worries there.  It also uses identical software to the other remotes for programming, so no differences there either.

Really the difference between this and my 3x as expensive Harmony One is...
- AA vs recharging dock
- Smaller screen, no touchscreen
- Rubber buttons vs clicker buttons on the H-One
- 5 Devices vs 15 devices
- Design

After owning both - I can tell you undeniably without hesitation, unless you gotta have that 'sexy' remote on the table or are buying a remote for a huge system, buy the 650.  At Amazon right now it's only $40!  Most IR learning remotes are $20-$30.. this is only a $10 premium for the best type of remote out there.

The software does require someone not afraid of computers to use to setup the remote, but its pretty straight forward and has gotten much easier to use over the years.  This should not be a factor for anyone unless you are the type that just wants it to work right out of the box.  If so, pay your kid or your neighbor's kid $10 to set it up for you :)

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