How many remotes do you have in your home? On my last count i had 6! 6 remotes, all to do different things so that i can watch my tv, or a dvd or a Blu Ray! Isn’t that crazy? Not only do these remotes control our devices, they control us as well! Oh the panic when one of them cannot be found! How in the world we will change channel? Heaven forbid we have to get up off the couch to do it! I got tired of having so many remotes!
There are quite a few choices on the market today for universal remotes, ranging from the basic one for all remotes to remotes that would not look amiss on the international space station. I had always heard good things about the Logitech Harmony remotes from friends and family and they had a few to choose from, the one that caught my eye though was the Logitech Harmony 520 Xbox 360 edition. It was decently priced at $99 and looked very stylish!
When I got home I unpacked the remote and had a closer look at my new savior. The remote really is pretty sexy! It is about 10 inches long and 4 inches wide. There is a very cool looking LCD screen on this remote that shows various options relating to what activity you have selected (more on that later) The buttons are very nicely laid out and are easy to see, especially in the dark as the whole remote glows green, like the Xbox 360 does. There are 4 buttons around the middle of the remote that represent the Xbox 360 buttons from the control pad, y,x,a,and b! I am sure these will come in very handy if you use your Xbox 360 to watch dvd’s!
The remote is very comfortable in your hand! It is very light and all of the buttons are easily reachable while just using one hand! The back of the remote is covered in an anti slip, rubber like material that feels pretty nice. My only concern is the bottom of the remote is pretty thick so that it can accommodate the batteries but as the case of the remote goes up toward the screen, the overall thickness of the remote goes right down to almost nothing, which is a little worrying and I wonder about the overall durability of the design. Other than that the remote does honestly feel sturdy, the buttons have a nice click to them when you press them down.
The thing that scares most people off of buying these universal remotes is the programming of them. I am very computer and tech savvy so for me setup was a breeze. I wanted to see how easy it was for some to setup who is not tech savvy though. I deleted everything I had done in terms of programming and asked my wife to give it a go! The remote comes with some very nice software which allows you to setup you remote via the web! The amount of devices that this remote can control is over 80,000 and that grows every day as Logitech is always upgrading their database of products! Once you have the software installed it is time to connect the remote to your computer via the USB cable that comes packed with the remote. Once you are in the software the setup is very easy! My wife had the remote up and running in 15 minutes without help from me.
The first thing the software will ask you for is information about your devices. It will list tv, dvd, game console, cable / satellite box surround sound receiver and so on. All you do is type in the model number of your devices into each field and the software will automatically program the remote for those devices. The cool thing about this remote is about to come though. You can set up activities with this remote.
An activity could be watching cable. The software will ask you what devices do you use when you watch cable? Well the first thing you would select is the tv itself, and then the cable box. I also use a surround sound system as well so I told the software that I also use the surround sound. You will then be asked what settings your products are set to, for example. My surround sound is set to cable and my tv is set to HDMI. Once that has been done you have set your first activity. Well what does that do for you? Imagine all of your equipment is off and you want to watch cable or satellite. You would press the activity button that is located at the top of the remote and all of the activities that you have programmed will be displayed on the LCD screen. You would select watch cable, the remote will then turn on all of your devices and change them so that all of the settings are correct, like tv set to HDMI and surround set to cable and thats it! All of your devices are turned on and you are ready to watch tv just like normal! The remote will have already programmed all of the most popular buttons from all of your remotes into the harmony 520.
The LCD screen shows the most popular button choices from all of your remotes. There is a scroll button underneath the screen so you can through the pages of buttons! The Remote is so easy to use! You can customize to your heats content though! With the software you can make any button on the remote do anything that your other remotes can do! If you are like me and want to customize absolutely everything then this is for you! If not and you just want to be able to do the basic things like change a channel, change the volume, use your DVR etc then all of that is setup for you! You can make it as easy to use as you like, set things up how you want them setup or you can use the settings that the software chooses which is pretty much everything, everyone needs anyway!
You can program up to 12 activities on this remote. If you are watching cable and then decide that you want to play your game console then all you would have to do (as long as you have programmed it) is press the activity button and press play games, then your tv would change to the correct setting as would your surround sound, and your gaming system would be turned on! Any devices that would not be needed to play the games, like your cable box would be turned off! It is absolutely fantastic! At the end of your session when you want to turn things off and take a break, just hit the power button and all of your devices will turn off with one button press! Talk about convenience!
I know what you are thinking! $99 for a remote control! Thats crazy! Believe me I was skeptical at first and did not think that this universal remote would work very well! I had bad experiences with cheaper remotes, the ones where you have ti enter in 3 digit codes! The Logitech Harmony 520 is nothing like those old remotes at all! My life is now so much easier because of this remote, I am so glad that I took the plunge and went out to buy this remote! My wife loves it too! The remote is easy to setup and very easy to use! If you have a lot of devices and have a lot of remotes, you will be able to eliminate one of your headaches once and for all by buying this universal remote from Logitech!