Universal Remotes Reviewed

My Universal Remote Recommendation

One day at work, I told a co-worker about a movie scene which showed me that I'm not the only woman who has gotten a call from her husband or boyfriend asking her to record a tv show and been stopped cold by the incomprehensible series of buttons with little squiggly marks on their universal remote.

I used to be able to program our ReplayTV. It might take me a few tries, but I could manage. But our ReplayTV remote control died one day. Even with new batteries, it would not respond and was out of warranty.

Enter the common Universal Remote, feared by many a casual TV watcher. Personally I think only a dedicated boob-tuber can truly master the common Universal Remote that you'll find at Best Buy or Target for $20 or $30.

"You should get the Logitech Harmony Universal," my co-worker said. "It's less than $100 from Amazon. All you have to do is enter the model of your TV and other devices and the defaults make sense and if you want to customize it, it has any easy programmable interface.

I wasn't convinced. With our current Universal Remote and my husband's advance electronics abilities, he still used three different remotes. So I asked my friend, "Do you still use more than one remote?"

"Nope," he said.

"Really?"

"Really, I took the batteries out of them and put them in the drawer.

My friend later sent me the link. We bought the remote and it works just like he described. My husband programmed it without complaint and now I can record tv shows on Replay with the best of them!

There are a few different models of the Logitech Harmony Universal Remote. As always extra features cost more money. Here are the available models and their features:

ModelFeaturesTo Buy

Logitech Harmony 670 Universal Remote

The basic model that we own.

Logitech Harmony 880 Remote Control

The display is customizable and this model includes a recharging station.

Logitech Harmony Universal Remote - 720

Very similar to 880. Comes with six customizable buttons (880 has eight). The 720 has a lower list price, but Amazon's sale price on the 880 makes it the cheaper of the two models today.

Logitech Harmony 890 Advanced Universal Remote Control

No line of sight required! This model works on equipment that is behind cabinet doors, even on the other side of walls. Wow.

Logitech Harmony 1000 Advanced Universal Remote

All of the benefits of the 890 model, plus a 3.5 inch touch screen display

Conclusion:  My friend was right. Buying a Logitech Universal remote really did solve our I-can't-get-the-*&%-remote-to ... problem. Our budget didn't allow us to consider anything more than the basic model. The 890 model is the bestselling of all four models.

Don't Want to Just Take My Word for it?   It's okay, I don't mind you wanting another opinion, maybe from an established expert.

CNET gave the identical top mark to four universal remotes:

The Monster MCC AVL300-S Home Theater and Lighting Controller and Harman Kardon TC 30 Activity-Based Remote Control, are described as being Logitech Harmony remotes with slightly different features and marketed under the other brands. Clearly the Logitech Harmony Universal Remotes are recognized as being the best in the industry. Now you just have to decide which one is right for you.


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