Product:
Logitech Harmony 880 remote control

Reviewed by:
Chris Thompson,
Summary:
Easy to program, customizable, rechargeable

Details:
Programmable, learns IR codes, macros, & help all built in

Rating:
4 of 5

Our Sony multi-function remote was getting old, so we decided to try the Logitech Harmony 880 remote after reading good reviews (note the 880 design is a few years old however). I ordered the remote on eBay in a bulk shipment from China, new refurbished for around $95. It definitely had some quirks we had to work out, the biggest being it wouldn’t charge on its base.



The Fix:
Since we ordered this from China, I figured I should try to fix this myself before sending it back. The remote wouldn’t charge on the base, the connection was flaky and the remote would stop charging after one minute it seemed. Adding weight to the remote to help make the connection didn’t help either. First I tried opening the base up to see if I could raise the connectors. I didn’t get far, there’s no easy way to open the base. I ended up adding some solder to charger’s three prongs to fix the problem. This added just enough height to eliminate the issue. Just heat up the buttons a bit with a hot soldering iron for 20 seconds then drop 1-2 CM of flux onto the buttons. Problem solved and looks OK as you can see in my photo below.
Logitech harmony 880 remote and base
The Review:
Overall, I like the Harmony, I’d give it 4 of 5 stars. Ours definitely needed the base fix described above, otherwise it would have never charged (and USB charging doesn’t seem to work either). Ours also has some discoloration on the screen, probably because this remote is refurbished or perhaps didn’t pass retail production quality inspection. After two weeks I don’t even see it now so it’s a minor issue for me (see the bottom left of the screen in the photo above, click the image to enlarge).



The Good:
– The remote is programmed via USB connection to your computer. Easy to learn interface, seems to have the basic functionality we use for macros.
– Good feel, buttons slightly click when engaged. Base lights up and looks cool.
– Easier to use and smarter than our old Sony RM-VL710. We have a TV, AMP, and Uverse; if one doesn’t turn on when everything is started, the remote has help that can walk you through troubleshooting. My wife really prefers this.

The Bad:
– Almost a great remote but quality issues and other weirdness. The issue with the remote not charging on the base makes Logitech look like amateurs.
– Buttons make a click which we like but they still feel cheap, like they’re going to wear out quickly. The buttons around the display screen have a weird form factor, it feels unnatural.
– Software interface feels like Windows 95. Although, it did everything it needs to do.
– Buttons are small, sometimes tricky to navigate.

Conclusion:
Although the Logitech Harmony 880 has its issues, we do like it better than the old Sony and we’re going to keep it. At moments the quality makes you question why you spent over $100 for it, yet once everything is straightened out it does a good job. It also makes managing several devices less of a chore, and has some intelligence built in. We hope this one holds up for a couple years like the Sony did.

*First blog entry from the iPad 2
*Photo taken with iPhone 4S

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