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Logitech Harmony 880 Advanced Universal Remote Control (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
- Optimized for complicated HDTV and PVR systems
- Quickly choose a 16:9 or 4:3 ratio depending on the program source
- Includes a sleek docking station that keeps the remote fully charged
- Color LCD is both functional and stylish, with user-customizable backgrounds, button icons and text
- On-screen battery level indicator shows you charge status
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A dream comes true! One remote control for your entire home-theater and HDTV system. The Harmony 880 Advanced Universal Remote puts you in control of your entire audio-video system with just one button. It\xb4s home entertainment the way it should be?simple. Optimized for complicated HDTV and PVR systems, the Harmony 880 helps you tame tough configurations like switching your television between video aspect ratios depending on the program source. The interactive color display lets you quickly choose a 16:9 ratio for movies and HDTV, or a standard 4:3 ratio for basic television programming. High-end systems deserve a high-end remote. Designed with brushed chrome and charcoal accents, a color LCD display and a low-profile recharging station, the Harmony 880 Remote will match your most advanced audio-video components perfectly. Logitech has won a total of eight Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) in the past two years, including five of Japan\xb4s prestigious 2004 Good Design Awards. This experience helped develop the Harmony 880 and its ergonomic design. Featuring a comfort grip shape and a centered directional pad, it fits easily in your hand and naturally guides you to the most frequently used controls. Even the buttons are sculpted, to help you locate them by feel not sight. Smart State Technology allows the Harmony remote to completely control an entertainment system by knowing how to control each separate component while tracking the current state of up to 15 devices simultaneously. Simply press an Activity button, such as \"Watch TV\" or \"Listen to Music,\" and your Harmony Remote automatically sets up each of the devices required for that activity. Sleek docking station that remote fully charged Programmable with Windows PC or Macintosh computer / USB Cable included 53 top-mounted hard buttons and 8 on-screen activity buttons 2 MB non-volatile flash memory
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Top Customer Reviews
For this price the Harmony One which I own is a much better remote.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Set up was quick and painless. The Harmony knew about all my devices, so I didn't need to go thru the painful process of head-to-head training.
Once my devices were defined, setup walked me thru a wizard which assigned the most logical "activities" to the remote. "Activities" are basically macros - power on the selected components, select the proper inputs/outputs, and assign the buttons.
An example is "Watch a DVD". This powers on the TV and selects VIDEO5, powers on the receiver and selects the DVD/LD input, and then powers on the DVD player.
The wizard asked how I control the volume or channels for each activity. When I watch cable, I use the TV volume; when I watch a DVD, I use the receiver volume; and so on.
This may sound a little confusing, but going thru the wizard takes only about 10 minutes. If you compare this to other remotes, you would have to press about six or seven buttons, and even then, you'd not have full functionality.
If you're not happy with the Activities, you can redefine things. I changed the behaviour of the VCR, which defaults to pressing play when you select "Watch a video".
When you're using Activities, the Device button will still let you fully control any device. I like to watch TV with Closed Caption, and that was actually easier to do with the Harmony than the factory Sony remote!
My only gripe is the physical buttons. They're a little small and placed right next to each other, so it can be easy to fumble. I find that I need two-handed operation when I want to fast-forward my VCR, because the FF/REW buttons are in an awkward location which makes it hard for my fingers to find.
After several replacements I have finally learned that the design of the battery compartment is the problem. The battery fits loosely enough in the compartment that it can move slightly away from it's contacts. When this occurs it is the same as quickly removing and replacing the battery, the remote shuts down and then restarts.
Solution: Until Logitech redesigns the battery compartment, here is a simple fix. Take a piece of paper (card stock works well) cut the same size as the battery. Fold one end several times like an acordian and then place that between the lower compartment wall and the battery end. This should act like a shim and prevent the battery from moving away from the contacts.
It has completely eliminated the need for all the other remotes. Even the more advanced/complex functions of a unit's remote can be easily programmed into the Logitech Harmony. And with Logitech's online remote control data base, you just enter the brand and model number of an electronic product and, chances are, it already has all the information you'll need, plus the features you'll most likely want to put onto your Harmony. Some of the default features that it put into the remote for my devices didn't work, however, and I had to adjust them manuaully.
If you want to incorporate all the features of your old remotes into this one and have it work smoothly, it will take some time - programming, testing, reprogramming until it is tweaked to perfection. But once you're there, you'll be set.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT IS EXCELLENT - Logitech has a dedicated department (at the time of this review) for the Harmony Universal Remote. I had to call them twice. The wait time was short and the technicians solved my problems quickly both times.
CHARGER/CRADLE ISSUE: Several reviewers complained about problems with the charger. I, too, have experienced this problem - where the unit would not charge. I called tech support and they suggested I clean the contact points in the cradle. When I checked I saw one of the points was "stuck" and not actually making contact with the unit. Cleaning the contacts fixed the problem. That was four months ago and I haven't had a problem since. I suspect there was a manufacturing problem that left a tacky substance in the contact area that created this big problem. Since I don't see this issue mentioned in the most recent reviews, I assume it's been addressed. I still give this product FIVE STARS.
Lastly, one of the best features of this remote, besides it's true universal application, is that it lights up when you pick it up so you can read everything on it, including the buttons (they're backlit). And it has a clock on the display. Don't forget it has its own rechargeable battery and charger stand.
The failing grade is the result of a miserable piece of junk that is called the cradle/battery charger. It is a disaster. If you're lucky, you'll get one that actually charges the remote. Or you might get one that is fiddly and that takes shifting it around until you finally get a charge going.
Or you might suffer through a frequently discharged battery because someone walked through the room with a heavy foot -- and then find yourself with a charger that is dead and not easy to replace if at all. Mine failed completely after making me miserable for a most of the time I;ve owned the 880.
The design concept might or might not have been good, but the execution in any event is bad. You can look on all sorts of forums and you'll find this is a common problem. Among myself and three friends who bought this remote, only one of us received a charger cradle that has worked with some consistency. And it's not great. That's only 25 percent. A local video store says it carries this remote but actively discourages its purchase because of this problem. They do recommend other Harmony remotes.
I also have a Harmony 720, a Costco special. It does most of what the Harmony 880 does, i.e. it has less backlighting and small things. It costs a good bit less. And wonder of all, it has a cradle that at least consistently charges the battery. It works.
In fact, were it not for the 720, I would have had to toss the 880. I use it to charge the 880 battery (the batteries can be swapped between the two). The design uses only two contact points and it does not require a lot of fiddling about.
But I would not buy either of those remotes again despite their capability. The battery charger issue and Logitech's failure to stand behind its products is just too frustrating. This is a competitive field and there are other remotes with better support in terms of quality control.
The only point here is that if you buy the remote, you'll like it. If you're lucky, you'll get a battery charger that works correctly. The 880 is a little like a Ferrari with an empty gas tank and no service station for a thousand miles.
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.