Logitech Harmony 300 Remote Review

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Logitech Harmony 300 Remote Company: Logitech


The Logitech Harmony 300 Remote is a perfect remote for its niche. For those looking to remotely control a small entertainment setup, winnowing several controllers down to one (and being able to activate an entertainment center at the touch of a single button), the Logitech Harmony 300 Remote is an ideal solution. Better yet, it's available for only $50, making it competitive with vastly inferior "universal" remotes. The temptation that electronics junkies have to overcome is trying to save big bucks by relying on this remote for a complicated entertainment center. The Logitech Harmony 300 Remote simply isn't up to the job of taking on multiple devices that rely on constantly changing input configurations – for that, you'll need a more expensive (and flexible) remote.

Rating:
Kyle Ackerman


Logitech Harmony 300 RemoteIf you, a loved one, or close friend needs a remote to take care of a simple home setup, such as a television and cable box or digital video recorder (DVR), the Logitech Harmony 300 Remote is an affordable and elegant solution that will activate all devices with a simple touch of a button. It's also easy to set up for such a system, requiring little technical expertise. The Logitech Harmony 300 Remote can also be set up to manage up to two additional devices, such as a DVD player, although operation of these devices will require the usual universal remote rigamarole, such as switching between devices to manage various commands. This is all available for $50, making the remote an affordable choice for its wide array of functions. The Logitech Harmony 300 Remote even has buttons for DVR functions missing from most remotes.

I was able to configure the Logitech Harmony 300 Remote for a variety of TV and DVR/cable box pairs with little effort, and Logitech's online setup supports virtually any device (that uses a remote control) that you can think of. It automatically configures the remote – all the user needs to be able to do is plug the remote into a USB port and enter specific device information into MyHarmony.com (that the web site will help you locate). The remote will then turn on both devices with the touch of a button and control volume appropriately. It even has buttons (like "list" to call up the list of recorded video) missing from many universal remotes.

Logitech Harmony 300 RemoteAll the buttons are configurable, and can be reprogrammed through the MyHarmony interface. While a reasonably tech-savvy person will easily be able to reprogram buttons (or assign channels to the "favorite" buttons), and the interface is extremely user-friendly, this process will still be daunting to technophobes. It's a straightforward trade-off – the more customizable, the more knowledge is required to customize. It should also be noted that the USB connection doesn't support USB hubs, so some computers (particularly specific laptops) have some problems connecting to the remote. Also, Logitech's technical support was as helpful as most customer support services, which is to say nearly useless. So while the remote is easy to set up, don't expect that you can hand it off to your grandmother and have her resolve her questions by contacting customer support.

If you are dealing with a more complicated set-up than a TV and DVR/cable box pair with perhaps an associated DVD player or similar device, you should look at a more flexible universal remote (Logitech offers many, even-more impressive, higher-end models). The Logitech Harmony 300 Remote can change the TV input, and has remarkably customizable buttons, but if you have a second device that manages multiple inputs (such as an amplifier), you'll have a devil of a time making things work with this remote.

I was almost able to make the Logitech Harmony 300 Remote work with a TV/DVR/Amplifier combination. I customized all the remote buttons, associated the amplifier with all volume changes and was able to get the remote to turn on all devices with a single touch of the "Watch TV" button. I could then do anything I wanted to do with the controller, including switch to favorite channels with a single touch of a button. The only problem was that when turning devices off, my configuration would turn all devices off, then turn the amp back on. I was unable to resolve that problem, making the remote still useful for a complicated set-up, but less-than ideal. Gamers who have multiple additional devices, such as consoles and many inputs to swap between to go from television to movie to game will simply want to focus on a higher-end remote.

The Logitech Harmony 300 Remote is sturdily and ergonomically constructed, with the buttons configured intuitively. Not only is the layout desirable, but the buttons seem sturdy and reliable. I really appreciated that the remote could be configured to access both the TV and DVR simultaneously, so that the volume control was always associated with the right device, not requiring me to constantly hit device buttons to play my own entertainment. This remote is ideal for a simple entertainment set-up and, at $50, offers tremendous value for its configurability and capabilities.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on April 28, 2010 8:31 PM.

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