I have been through a large number of universal remotes. This remote is light years ahead of the previous models Harmony has come out with, and really delivers outstanding bang for the buck. I say this from an ergonomics as well as functional standpoint.
The screen is beautiful and highly legible. Icons as well as text make choosing an activity easy to understand and execute. The buttons are extremely solid. Much better than the 688 that I also own. It was quickly relegated to the bedroom system when I saw this unit.
The keys are MUCH better located and logical. On the 688 you had to turn on the backlight to press any button because none were in a position that you could feel your way to them. On the 880 they are pretty much right where they need to be. The 4-way directional control and select buttons are very easy to find in the dark and the function is rock-solid, no question as to whether it's been pressed enough, and the command signals are very strong, so it's not usually necessary to point right at the equipment.
For those of you who have never tried or maybe even heard of the Harmony line, you will love the internet-based simplicity of the programming. This interface has not changed since I first got my 688. To control both remotes, I had to add another userid/password, so I was unable to transfer any of my commands from my previous unit to my new one. This is a small peeve.
Some notes on programming. The initial setup could not be easier, you just type in your equipment model numbers and it adds them to your remote. It found every piece of equipment I own easily, and some of my stuff is obscure. Then, you set up activities, like "Watch TV" and the website creates that activity instantly. Sometimes no tweaking is involved whatsoever, and sometimes you do have to either add or change equipment included in that activity or add a few buttons to the existing commands available when doing that activity. Here is where experience pays off. It's not 100% intuitive how to add soft buttons, nor is it always clear whether you need to train the remote by using the original remote for that command or whether that command is already trained and just needs to be added. Also, I found that often you need to relabel an existing command so that it reflects what is on the original remote, which means that the Harmony database is not perfect.
However, the database gets you 95% of the way there, and after you play around with the website a bit, you start to understand it and can soon get to the point of customizing it exactly as you wish. In the end, I probably spent two hours to get my 880 to operate exactly as I wanted. But I'm pretty picky; many users may be happy with it after the first 5 minutes of programming. You will all be impressed by the enormous size of the Harmony database, and by the simple function of the remote.
It is rechargeable as well. This is a big bonus compared with the previous Harmony 688. Another thing I really liked: even when the 880 is out of its cradle, it knows when you pick it up, and automatically lights up. I cannot hear any type of mechanical sensor rattling around in there, but somehow it knows when it is moved and gets ready for your input. I love this simple feature. Would be interested to know how it does that.
All in all, I say it is probably not quite as good as having a Pronto or other really high end remote, but it is far easier to program, performs perfectly once correctly programmed, and costs MUCH MUCH less than any other remote with its power. The screen is sharp and beautiful, the keys function great. I have nothing but good things to say. I don't think you can go wrong for the price.
UPDATE 4/21/06: On this morning, my remote stopped working. I contacted customer support and was quickly handled. They are going to send me a new remote. Lucky for me, the new one will be able to be completely reprogrammed by connecting it and downloading all my existing codes. I will update again once this is accomplished if there are any issues. Otherwise, I continue to rate this item a 5-star pending the results of this warranty issue.
Update 5/22/06: The replacement remote came on schedule and has been working perfectly. Logitech's RMA system and follow-up were very professional and prompt.