Impressions and Conclusions

In its most basic form, the Harmony remote is a device that can take separate IR commands, store them, and emit them when requested. This means that any IR emitter (like a remote) can be replicated on the Harmony since the Harmony can learn any IR command. This could mean that the Harmony can learn to control more than just home audio/video equipment. Remotes are used with a lot of devices these days ranging from ceiling and floor fans, alarm clocks, digital cameras, video cameras, iPod remotes…. the possibilities are really endless.

To drive the point home about the Harmony’s flexibility, here’s an image of the Harmony 880 acting like a remote control for my Nikon D50 camera and taking a picture of itself using IR commands learned from the official Nikon remote. If you want detailed instructions on how I accomplished this, please feel free to email me!

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A photo of me using the Harmony 880 to control my digital camera.
Anything is possible.

Thankfully, programming the Harmony 880 remote isn’t very tricky and getting it to do what you want it to do is relatively simple. However, the tricky part comes when your devices don’t quite react the way you expect when using the Harmony. In these cases you will need to revisit the software and troubleshoot the issue using the wizards or teach the Harmony new IR commands.

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After spending a few weeks with the Harmony 880 I have to say that it is a potent device that accomplishes what it says: control all your devices. I wouldn’t say it’s the easiest device to set up and use, but Logitech has done a very fine job of simplifying the whole process while giving easy access to powerful troubleshooting and programming features. The web based software is an ingenious way of saving Harmony configurations for customers, while allowing Logitech to bolster their growing database of IR devices and improve their software interface.

For a consumer who has major brand products in fairly conventional setups, there isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t consider the Harmony 880 — it should work like a charm in your setup. But for those of you with obsure brands or strange configurations, you may need to play around with the Harmony 880’s programming a bit before things run smoothly. If you’re one of these people with weird setups, the chances are you’ll be more than happy to play and debug the behaviour of the Harmony… who knows, maybe you can teach it to do something you didn’t think possible.

The Harmony 880 is an inexpensive tool relative to the high-tech equipment so many of use have in our homes these days. In December 2006, I saw prices of the Harmony 880 hit as low as $90 USD with an average sale price of $110-115 USD. These deals will only become more frequent as Vista rolls into our homes and the new Harmony 1000-series hit the shelves.

The Logitech Harmony 880 is by far the best universal remote I have used and it makes me wonder why I didn’t get one sooner. There are many different competitors these days, but none are as easily usable or programmable as the Harmony 880. The elegance of the Harmony solution and the power of its flexibility earn it an Editor’s Choice here on PC Perspective.

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