Logitech Harmony 890 Reviewed

The Harmony 890 has finally hit the shelves and the reviews are trickling in. On top of the features his younger brother the 880 offers, the new model adds RF (to make it through those pesky cabinets and walls) and is fully backlit. But is that really worth the $150-$200 premium? With a list price of $399, I just can’t stomach paying more for this remote than I’d pay for an Xbox 360. Heck, it costs more than my HD tuner, DVD player, and Xbox 1 combined. The later 600 models are still my favorites of the Harmony line, though we’re currently using a 520 in our living room.

Business Week says: Logitech’s Harmony 890 Advanced Universal Remote costs more than many of the TV sets and stereo components it controls. It promises to change channels on your TV, turn up the volume on your stereo, pause your DVD player, and manage a multitude of other devices. The 890 uses radio frequencies in addition to infrared, so it can control devices behind cabinet doors or even in rooms a floor away. If it sounds a bit too ambitious — well, it is. A big problem with universal remotes is that the TVs, set-top boxes, and stereos they control are so intricate that no all-in-one remote can possibly handle every function with grace. Give the 890 credit for trying.

PC World says: It took a bit more effort to get the Harmony to work with its wireless RF extender. To enable the RF features, I had to specify whether the device I wanted to control was to be operated by the remote (via infrared) or by the extender. The 890 did practically everything I asked of it, flawlessly controlling equipment located in a nearby room. Unfortunately, my shipping unit routinely lost the connection when I tried to control my first-floor stereo equipment from the second floor, where I have remote speakers. In contrast, my year-old Home Theater Master MX-600 from Universal Remote (purchased for $450 and now available for half that much) handles this location easily.