>>I'm John Falcone, Executive Editor at CNET.com and we're taking a look at the Logitech Harmony 300i. This is Logitech's most affordable remote to date with a list price of just $50 and it's available for closer to $40 at some online retailers. It's available in two versions; the 300i shown here has a glossy finish that's susceptible to fingerprints while the Harmony 300 has a flat matt finish instead. Overall, we really like the feel and the ergonomics of this remote but that's because it has the same basic design as the more expensive Harmony 600, 650 and 700 models. Unlike those more expensive remotes, however, the 300i has no LCD screen. Instead the top of the remote as five channel Favorite buttons and a dedicated TV input toggle.
The Harmony 300 only controls up to four devices which you assign to the four buttons at the top. Notably, you'll also find the Watch TV button at the remote's top. It's the only activity based command that's available on the 300i which is a big change from the product's more expensive siblings. Otherwise, the 300i has nearly all the buttons you need for controlling a TV, cable box, DVR and DVD or Blu-ray player. Just to name a few of the possibilities.
Like the previous Logitech remotes, the Harmony 300i is programmable via a Windows PC or Mac. Just connect the remote via a USB cable to the computer and fire up Logitech's web based MyHarmony.com software. Type in the model number of the device which you want to control then the system automatically downloads the correct codes from Logitech's massive data base which includes more than 200,000 devices. In fact, this is a new version of Harmony's software that's easier to use than before. Using a graphical version of the remote on your PC screen you can simply drag and drop functions for each device to the corresponding button. You can also configure the Watch TV buttons so all of the relevant devices including the cable box or DVR will turn on and switch to the correct input.
Because it only controls four devices and has only a single Watch TV macro, the Harmony 300i is not recommended for sophisticated home theatre systems. But that's fine since Logitech has two other LCD enabled models that are available for under $100. But for a secondary bedroom or den system where you have more than just a TV to control the Logitech Harmony 300i is a great choice. I'm John Falcone for CNET and this is the Logitech Harmony 300i.
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