Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
Nice remote with a few quirks
on October 14, 2009
Previously, I owned a Universal Remote Control (URC)MX 700. URC makes a nice product but they went from direct to consumer to direct to installer in 2006 and pulled all the on line updates for the IRC codes for equipment and reserved them for approved dealers only. Bottom line is that URC screwed over prior and prospective customers. I was not about to pay $200+ for a URC remote and then an installer programming fee of $125 (base price)and then another $50+ every time I needed an update on the URC so I tried the Harmony One when I changed to FiOS TV.
The Harmony One is slick in terms of usability and programming which is good but also slick in that it's like a greased banana. It's so smooth and slippery that it's ten times easier to drop or mishandle than the URC remotes which are non-slip. Mishandling means sending all sorts of weird commands to equipment and dropping means potential damage to the remote. I had hoped the Zagg folks who make protective non-slip coverings for cell phones and related devices would make a full body covering for the Harmony One but they don't - only a screen protector.
On the plus side, the on line IRC codes for the Harmony One are extensive and accurate. It is fairly inutive to program and it has a ton of capability. The color touch screen is bright and adjustable and the onboard accelerometer that turns it on when moved is a nice touch. My local URC dealer basically lied to me when he told me that the Harmony wasn't as capable of complex macro sequences as are the URC remotes - it is, you just have to figure out how to make those work. The reason URC dealers don't like the Harmony One is that they can't bilk you for the programming fee. The Harmony is a lot more user friendly for people not familiar with your system and once you get the cable favorites progammed, the on board station artwork and logos are cool. The USB cable hook up is nice and works well. Many of the older and even some current URC remotes are still using antique serial cables not that it matters anymore because URC won't let anyone but dealers program the units on line.
On the negative side, programming the cable favorites on the Harmony One was a real chore but once it's done, the art work for the stations will make any tech junkie happy. The more complicated your system is, the more complex it is to program the Harmony One. Stuff like 12 volt triggers on interconnected audio equipment can give you fits until you figure out how to deal with these quirks. Other reviewers report that the screen is a fingerprint magnet and that is dead accurate. I will try the Zagg screen protector to eliminate this issue. [...] To reiterate, my bigggest complaint about the Harmony One is that it's like trying to hold a fresh trout with WD 40 on your fingers - it justs want to flop out of your hand.
In summary, the Harmony One is an impressive unit, it will run just about any equipment and the learning curve for programming is a function of how complex the system you are trying to control. There are a LOT of sub functions that require some skill and a potentially high learning curve so don't think you will be able to set this unit up for a 6 piece system in 30 minutes. It took me 3 to 4 hours to really get the programming accurate and I'm still tweaking it from time to time. The rechargeable cradle is nice and works well. The color touch screen is bright and all the keys light up which is really nice at night but it's easy to hit the wrong button when you fumble with the unit which is inevitable. $200 is a lot of dough for a remote but compared to the URC remotes which cost at least $200 plus the dealer programming fee of $125+, it's a bargain. If you are truly a tech junkie and have some computer ability, the Harmony One is a good choice.
Update - I've had this remote about one month and my opinion of this unit is not as favorable as it was initially. The commands work sporadically and I've reprogrammed it a few times to get it to behave. Simply stated, it's not the remote I reach for regularly because it's so slippery, it's very touchy and it's not as intuitive as the URC MX 700 I have had for a few years.