Following on from my K750 solar keyboard review which proved popular here's another mini review but this time of the £29 Harmony 300i remote control. This will be a short review due to the nature of the hardware, it is just a remote after all and only so much can be said
As a starting note, my only experience with all in 1 remotes in the past has been one4all remotes where you punch in a bunch of codes for your device from the manual hoping that they programmed in the right button presets so this is a new venture for me especially the setup process.
First off some initial pics:
Front profile with USB connector
And a before (DVD, FreeSat-HD, TV, Sky-HD)
-Ergonomics & Design
I found it to be a comfortable remote to hold and I have medium size hands although if I were to complain about comfort in other areas then it would probably be that in use it really is a two hand job because of the length (approx 22cm) of the remote and the thinness after the first quarter of the length from the bottom that it's a bit trickier to slide up and down with one hand to press different buttons without the aid of your second hand - I found that without using your second hand I was shimmying the remote up and down quite a bit when remote cruising.
It uses 2xAA batteries (Duracells are supplied) and uses a MiniUSB connector to connect to the PC. It would have been nice for it to have a rechargeable battery inside like other Logitech devices have now that are long lasting and can recharge off a MicroUSB connection or better yet, the new solar panel technology used in the K750 keyboard!
There is also a sensor at the bottom that's used to train the Harmony for specific remotes and finding model information, in my case it will be used for the Samsung SkyHD box according to the Harmony site.
Overall though, it's a nice curvy remote with nice feedback on the buttons and LED lighting to indicate what source is selected.Installation & ConfigurationOn the Harmony page
you can check if your device is compatible with the remote and it looks like there's a huge database of supported devices:
Once I confirmed compatibility I created a Harmony account and began downloading the installer for the software which appears to be just a plugin for the browser to load the Harmony setup page (opens in browser, no start menu shortcuts are created) which is neat I thought as I dislike having too much software for various hardware cluttering the start menu.
I encountered a strange issue in Firefox 3.6 where the sync progress was stuck a quarter of the way so I cancelled it, opened IE and it continued from there once I went on to the myharmony webpage. Chrome is not supported sadly, I would have preferred some Chrome support as I had to wipe dust off IE before I proceeded ¬_¬
Once the configuration was done (properly this time!) here's what it looked like
I could now configure the buttons and do some other jazzy stuff but I just want to see how it is set up out the box after a sync so off I went...In Use
Out of the box all 4 devices core functions worked apart from source select for the TV, I had to configure these in the Harmony website and sync the remote. Quite impressed with how it's worked as well, there are some nice touches like when in Satellite control mode, adjusting the volume will adjust the volume on the TV instead of the currently active device - Other remotes might have this too but from previous experience with one4all remotes this wasn't the case!
I know this remote is the lower Harmony model and supports only 4 deviced and that the higher end ones do have more features but at this kind of price I think it does everything most would need and then beyond via the customisations in the Harmony control panel on the web portal.
I'd give it a solid 7.5 out of 10, the minus points for the browser hiccups I encountered and also the slight pointers about ergonomics. Other than that the remote looks, feels and dishes out some business in this price bracket I reckon.