102 of 105 people found the following review helpful
Brian K. Reynolds
- Published on Amazon.com
EDIT2: Wow, I've had this remote for nearly 5 years now. It's still going strong. I had to replace the battery once, but it was easy to find a replacement. It's the same battery that is used by many digital cameras. I think I paid less than 15 bucks for a new battery.
I can't believe how much these remotes sell for nowadays. I paid $99 for it at Best Buy! At the time, the competing Harmony was selling for $299, so it was a no-brainer to buy this remote. Since I wrote my review below, I've acquired two more of these remotes (for two of my bedrooms), used, on e-bay. I'm planning to buy a couple more of them soon, but I snipe them when I can get them cheap.
The web programming interface has improved over the years.
The remote still works just as well as it did when new, and so do both of the used remotes I bought.
Since writing the review below, I have simplified my setup considerably. I made sure to only buy components that have separate on and off commands available (by actually programming my remote for the new component before I buy it, and then walking into the store with my remote to test the component!). You'd be surprised how many components have separate on/off commands, but the remote that comes with the component only has a power toggle button. Then, when you program this remote, you find that there are commands that don't exist on the remote that comes with the device. For example, many components have separate ON, OFF, HDMI1, HDMI2, HDMI3, and other commands that do not exist on the remote that comes with the component. You won't know unless you program this remote for the specific component... and then try it in the store.
In recent years, the folks over at the JP2 forum have even written a program called RemoteMaster (Google it) which can be used to program this remote if you don't like the web interface (or if the web interface ever ceases to exist). I haven't used RemoteMaster yet, but I plan to test it soon because I have recently changed some components in the bedrooms and I want to see how RemoteMaster compares to the web interface. As I understand it, the RemoteMaster software does not require an Internet connection. If I remember, I'll update my review here with my findings about RemoteMaster. I imagine that it is even more flexible than the web interface that comes with the remote.
To summarize, I'd still recommend this remote. From what I've read, the Harmony remotes don't last very long. The buttons on them fail. This remote has withstood several years of use by me, my two kids, and several girlfriends and their kids over the years. It still works fine.
EDIT1: Many of the problems I mentioned in my review have since been fixed in their software. For example, you can re-order devices in the software now.
Here's my original review:
I read many reviews before I bought this remote. From what I could see in the reviews, the software is cumbersome, but it appears to be a good deal for the money compared to the Harmony One or the Harmony 900. I bought the AR-RX18G at Best Buy on Sunday to replace my old Sony RM-AV3000. I started setting it up that night. I spent about three hours on it before I figured out that I couldn't move devices so that the most frequently used ones are on the first page and also that I couldn't move soft keys for a device from one page to another. So I decided to give up for the night and start over the next day.
Monday night, I deleted all the devices and started adding them again. To my surprise, they didn't appear in the order I added them. I reset the remote to factory defaults (Settings > Reset > 981 > Factory Reset) and added the devices again. This time, they appeared in the order I added them. The web pages for searching for a device are VERY slow. However, once the devices were added, I was able to go to the Advanced button and see an image of the remote. This allowed me to click a button on the computer screen and select what function I wanted on that button. I was pleasantly surprised to find many more commands than what were available on my original remotes... including my RM-AV3000.
For the commands that were not on the website... I had to disconnect the remote from the USB cable in order to learn those commands from my original remotes. It would have been easier to do this via the website, but the learning function on the remote is not too difficult (it's MUCH easier than the learning process on my old RM-AV3000!!!). The real problem with the learning process on the AR-RX18G is that I had to logout of the website and log back in so that I could upload the new commands from my remote. This is not an intuitive process and I might not have known about it without reading the reviews online. I think many users would miss this. It would be much easier if there was a button on each page to upload from the remote. This button should appear on the website right next to the "download" button.
Also, there were a few inconsistencies with the learned commands. For example, if I learned a new command on a soft key, then edited any keys on that page via the software, my learned commands sometimes stopped working. In order for the learned commands to work reliably, I had to finish all my editing of the soft keys before doing any learning.
There was one strange thing about the device setup for my TV. When I added my RCA HD61LPW42 television via the software, none of the commands worked. However, when I tried adding the TV via the remote menus, it worked fine... and it was using the same T1447 remote code that the software had picked. Evidently, the commands for T1447 on the website are incorrect, but the ones stored in the remote work fine (with the only exception being the input selection... but I was able to learn those commands from my original remote).
As for all the reviews that mention how the Harmony remotes keep track of device states... that would be a nice feature to add to this remote. But, I've lived without it for years so I don't think it's a show-stopper. I have discrete on/off commands for my TV, receiver, and DVD changer. My other devices have power toggle commands. Basically, my "All ON" activity turns on my TV, receiver, and cable box and sets them to the correct inputs for watching cable TV. From there, other activities set the correct inputs for other devices and stop short of actually turning on/off the device unless it has discrete on/off commands (like my DVD changer). It's really no big deal to press the power button after the activity has done its thing. Besides, when I open the tray of the Blu Ray player, it turns on anyway. My "All OFF" activity turns off the TV, receiver, DVD changer (it has a discrete "off" command), and cable box. If other devices are left on, it's really no big deal because they don't draw much power and it's easy enough to turn them off when I'm done using the system. The only one that might draw some power is the amplifier for my 2nd room audio, which goes to my back porch, but I don't use 2nd room audio very often anyway.
To summarize, the setup process is frustrating. I spent three hours on Sunday only to find out that I had to start over in order to get my most frequently used devices listed on the first page. Then, I spent five hours on Monday night and an additional three hours on Tuesday night. I setup all my devices, all my favorite channels, three profiles, and most of my activities. The activities will probably require a little tweaking in the coming days, but I'm mostly satisfied with the remote. The IR is a little weak compared to my other remotes, but I plan to buy the RF extender anyway, so hopefully it will take care of the problem.
* Backlighting is terrific!
* Key layout is mostly very good. However, I would prefer to see the play/pause buttons transposed.
* Very simple operation.
* Can operate the remote with one hand.
* Touch screen works very well.
* "List" key for my DVR!
* RGBY keys for my Blu Ray!
* Key-command assignment is very easy via the software.
* The website is slow.
* Cannot change order of device soft keys!
* Cannot move command soft keys from one page to another!
* The learning process needs improvement.
* Learned commands should not be overwritten when editing other soft keys on the same page.