The latest lines of the Logitech Harmony universal remotes have been much cheaper when compared to its earlier models.

2010 models like the Harmony 300 and Harmony 600 were sold for $50 and $80 respectively, while the Harmony 650 we’re trying to review here was sold for $100.

Apart from the color schemes which are totally different, the Harmony 650 (its gray  colored, but also comes with black buttons), has a similar chassis and button layout like  the latest model Harmony 700 (which is black) and its older model – the Harmony 600  which has a silver color with white buttons.

The monochrome screen of the Harmony 650 is an improvement of its 600 model. It comes with a colored version of the screen that allows it to display colorful icons of your favorite channels unlike that of the Harmony 600 model which is all text.
However, the Harmony 700 model costs more than the Harmony 600 or 650 as it  has a  retail value between the range of $120 – $150 but can also be used to control six  different devices while the 600 and 650 controls five.

The Harmony 700 can recharge the Sanyo Eneloop batteries attached to it by itself once the USB AC charger is attached to it. Both components are always included in the Logitech Harmony 700 pack.

Like all Logitech remote control products, the Logitech Harmony 600, 650 and 700 can be programmed through a Windows or Mac device and activity based commands like Listen to Music and Watch TV can be used to control a complete home AV system.

How the Logitech 650 Works:

The remote control is roughly divided into three major areas, the top, the middle and the bottom part. The color LCD screen dominates the top section and it’s a 1- inch-by-1-inch square display screen. This is not a square screen and it has two buttons on each side with one on the bottom you can easily use to choose contextual items on the screen.

If you need a touch screen remote, you’ll have to pick the Harmony One which costs twice as much as its value. There are additional screens you can easily page through which increases the available choices. There’s a five way directional pad, channel, and volume controls, some standard DVR keys like info, Exit and Menu within this section.

At the bottom part of the remote, you’ll find the standard video transport control keys which include the rewind, pause and play buttons and a 12-digit keypad. In addition to the LCD, all the buttons on the remote are backlit, making it easy for you to use them in a dark room.

The setup process for the 650 is similar to all past Logitech Harmony remotes. You connect it to your internet enabled Mac or Windows PC device with its USB cable and install the software of the specific version – the 650 in this case – from Logitech’s Website.

You’ll be expected to answer some simple questions within the online questionnaire that comes up and also choose your home-theater components listed within the list.  Explain how they are connected and define their various roles or functions like ‘‘Watch DVD”, “Listen to Music” or “Watch TV”.

You’ll have to specify which inputs and devices the remote should enable and choose the keypad functions to specific devices. For example, you can make the channel buttons control your cable box or dedicate the volume controls to your TV. Once, you’ve completed the questionnaire, the software uploads all the relevant control codes to the Harmony 650.

It also automatically maps common functions to the default keys like “2” to “2” and “pause” to “pause”. However, you can always customize and change the functions to suite your preferences. You can also set specific functions to the colored buttons on the remote and contextual areas on the LCD screen.

What We Like:

In conclusion, on the Flip-side – the Logitech Harmony 650 model is a very powerful, universal remote with great ergonomics which includes features like its overall designs, excellent button layouts, a colored LCD screen surrounded by five contextual buttons. Its ability to support custom sequences and macros is also a good thing coupled with the fact that it’s a great device that can be easily configured on the Web with any Window or Mac PCs.

What We Don’t Like:

The downside of this device is that it can only control five devices, requires an internet enabled Windows or Mac PC for its configuration and it’s often difficult to add your favorite channel icons. You’ll have to spend a further $20 to get the rechargeable batteries of its step-up model.

For less than $100, this is a very great buy.

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