Logitechshop - Harmony 525 universal remote for $44.95 delivered

16 September 2010

This has appeared before, but went out of stock. They have it again, and it's at an amazing price. This controller is full of features, is simple (for a remote like this - although the interface can be slow and has areas that could be improved) to setup with a computer, and generally works a treat. You basically go online and say what devices you want to control (Foxtel IQ, TV, DVD, BluRay, Receiver, etc). In the unlikely case a devices isn't in the database, you can add your remote in as the remote can learn commands. It then works out "activities" (such as "watch TV" and "watch DVD") and all you need to do is press one button to - say - watch a DVD. It turns on the DVD player, the receiver, and the TV and switches them all to the correct input. The with the one remote you can change volume on the receiver as well as control the DVD. When finished, you press the off button and they all switch off. It also glows so it's easy to find those rarely used buttons when the room is dark.

If there's ever a problem (for example someone walks in front of the remote as it's switching an input) then all you need to do is press the "help" button and it works through possible solutions that will generally fix the issue. Normally problems like that are rare as it has a good strong IR blaster in it.

Batteries (four AAA) last at least six months in my house, usually up to 12, but that may vary depending on how much it's used. It's probably a little more fragile than a normal remote, or at least seems so, but that's partly due to the weight (so if it's dropped there's more mass and a higher likelihood for damage), the complexity of the components inside, and also due to it being used so much (ie instead of spreading the usage over multiple remotes, the one unit is doing everything). In a normal household it should survive quite well though - just try not to throw it around as much as you might a normal remote. If you treat any of the high-end remotes roughly, things will start to fail - with this one it tends to be the LCD screen that goes first, followed by the buttons if they get mashed too hard and/or food/liquid gets in (although you can open the unit and carefully clean the pads/contacts with isopropyl - you can get these in little packs in chemists).

All up a brilliant product that used to cost around the $150 mark, and you can still pickup in the likes of JB HiFi for around the $100 mark. This is half that, and includes delivery.

Be aware that Logitech have brought out new remotes with a slightly different design that personally I don't like. They also are generally unable to control the number of devices that this unit can. The possible equivalent new 600 device only controls five devices (the 525 does up to ten) and costs more than twice as much. I have a spare in my study for when/if my current one dies. If you don't have one, get at least one now before they run out of stock......

What do you think?

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