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Logitech Harmony H655 review

The marriage of Logitech and Harmony bears fruit

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Our Verdict

Requiring an internet connection may limit the market for the device slightly, but at least it's unlikely to go out of date

For

  • Easy to set up

    Built in macros

Against

  • Fiddly to change devices

    Looks cheap

Logitech is a PC peripheral company that acquired Harmony - a reasonably successful remote control specialist. The H655, therefore, still bears the hallmarks of a PC-related product. First of all, this isn't a learning remote; there's no pointing your old remote at it for it to pick up the IR signature. Instead, the only way to program it is to use the USB port on your PC, connect to the internet and then tell the dedicated website all the devices you want to control. Its massive online database will then send over the correct IR commands, and helpfully pre-program a number of macros at the same time.

And this is where the Logitech Harmony H655 scores some serious plus points. Watching a DVD has many individual processes - you first have to turn each device on, then switch the TV to the correct AV channel and finally press 'Play'. The remote demands all this information at setup, but once it's in then you automatically have 'Watch a DVD' and 'Listen to Music' and other common activities available along the top of the remote. Even better, it also remembers which devices are switched on and what channel they're on, so if you press 'Watch TV' and then decide to 'Watch a Movie', the macro doesn't turn the TV off again.

If the biggest selling point for the remote is that it's completely idiot-proof, then more experienced users are getting the raw end of the deal. The screen is small and simple, and when you want to switch between devices you have to choose from an on-screen list, instead of having a dedicated button for each one. It's annoying for everyday use - increasing the volume on the amp and then changing the channel on the digibox requires three more button presses than should be necessary. It's a logical design choice, as it reduces clutter on the remote, but prolonged use results in an experienced user wishing it had been made a bit easier.

The remote feels built to last; the buttons won't wear off and there's a 'Glow' button that lights the fascia up for use in a cinema room. And to its credit, I had a hard time finding devices both in the office and at home that couldn't be controlled by the H655. Requiring an internet connection may limit the market for the device slightly, but at least it's unlikely to go out of date.