With a new owner, has the Harmony remote ethos changed enough to make any difference to the consumer? For a long time the name Harmony has been the be-all-and-end-all in the universal remote world. We reviewed theSST-768 in September last year and really liked it. A year on and Harmony has been bought by the peripheral giant Logitech. But has the new force meant that everything has changed? We took a look to find out.
For the most part it’s business as usual. This version - the Harmony 655 positions itself as the Advanced Universal Remote and there is no denying it that title, not only has it got more buttons it than we care to list, but it also has all the functionality of previous models.
For those not familiar with the Harmony remote series, the universal remote works by connecting via a USB cable to a PC or Mac and then downloading the data from a very large database depending on what equipment you have. The benefit is two fold. Firstly that it saves you all the hassle of trying to program the remote manually and secondly the procedure is fairly painless.
The online interface hasn’t changed at all as far as well can tell and if you are simply upgrading your harmony remote you can get the online software to remap your current setup onto the new controller.
The controller is a bit daunting with so many buttons and an easier panicked user may find that it’s a bit of an information / choice overload, but then when your cramming the ability to run 15 remotes from the one device you have to expect this I suppose.
One of the beauties of the controller and the software is you can set the remote to have shortcut buttons that get your home entertainment centre ready for listening to a CD or playing a DVD. This is great in practice, but the buttons for doing this aren’t clear enough. In our mind if it’s going to be a shortcut then it’s got to be big and bold to see it in the first place.
Like the Harmony SST-768 this is an impressive remote, however apart from the styling nothing much as changed in a year. In fact, we actually think that this design is a little too overpowering. For the home cinema enthusiast, you can't fault that it meets all the requirements offering you to combine everything in one controller than is black-lit and can easily be updated online.