CNET First Look
Logitech Harmony 900While it's expensive, Logitech's Harmony 900 ranks as one of the best universal remotes we've ever used.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:07 >> David Carnoy: I'm David Carnoy Executive Editor for CNET.com and I'm here with the Logitech Harmony 900 universal remote. If you remember last year Harmony put out the Harmony 1 which is one of our favorite universal remotes but it did not have RF, it only had IR and RF allows you to use your remote control through walls and other obstacles to get to your components. This remote does look a lot like the Harmony 1 and really the only differences are that the LCD screen is a little bit high resolution so you get a little bit crisper display on it. There's also a little row of buttons in the middle that are new. Those buttons correspond to the red, blue, green and yellow buttons on your Blu-ray player. Like the Harmony 1 this does come with a lithium ion rechargeable battery, it is removable and replaceable and there is a dock for recharging the whole unit. You can get about a weeks worth of battery life from a single charge but most people just keep the remote in the docking station. Also to conserve battery life you can set the LCD to go off after about 10 seconds, you can set the interval between 10 and 30 seconds and you can also lower the brightness level if you really want to conserve battery life. Like other Harmony remotes this is a PC programmable remote and it is easy to set up. You hook it up to your computer, you run some software, you run through a wizard and you set up all your components that way. Before when you updated other Harmony remotes with RF you had to update the RF module as well and that was a real pain especially if you had the RF module in a complicated cabinet unit and you just wanted to keep it there. Now you can do that because this model you do not have to hook up the RF module to USB, everything is done in the remote itself and that's really a nice feature. One of the other things we liked about this remote are the buttons. They are backlit, they are hard and they are also different sizes so they're a little bit easier to operate by feel. This does have a glossy black finish and glossy black finishes tend to attract fingerprints but that's the price you pay for an elegant, sleek design remote. Now when you go to set up your RF module the idea is that you stick the main RF module in the back of your cabinet. It is a powered unit but then you attach 2 mini IR blasters to it and you set those blasters in front of your components on a couple shelves. The key about IR blasters is that they do reflect off surfaces so you can get that IR to bounce around and inside a cabinet those 2 IR blasters should be enough to control all your components. We're also kind of surprised because we had this out in the open, one of the IR blasters and we were able to operate most of our components just by setting it in front of the unit it really worked pretty well. All in all we really like what Logitech has done with the Harmony 900. It's really taken the best of what was in the Harmony 1. It's added a better touch screen, it's also added a few more buttons and really the RF option is much improved. Put it all together and what you have here is probably the best consumer style remote with pro aspirations, it's not cheap, it lists for about 4 bucks but for those who are looking for this type of remote, it is well worth it. [ Background music ] >> I'm David Carnoy and it's the Logitech Harmony 900.