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User reviews for the Harmony 659 / H659 / SST-659 from Logitech.
Harmony 659 / H659 / SST-659
RatingsReviewsMSRP (USD)
Average: 3.88/5.00
Median: 4.33/5.00
The Harmony H659 remote control features simple Internet-based programming via USB, Smart State control for easy system automatation, full backlighting, a redesigned user interface and a large complement of hard buttons!
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the Harmony 659 / H659 / SST-659 remote.
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Written by m kelch from Ontario, Canada.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 5 made on Tuesday January 13, 2004 at 9:36 AM.
Strengths:great design, lightweight, contoured to fit your hand easily, excellent blue backlighting, logical button layout, TV listings on-screen a major plus, not a battery hog, adaptable to most a/v setups, website seems comprehensive and offers a lot of information to help a new user learn how to program the remove, website programming means feature set can be regularly updated..... it's the first of many remotes we've owned that my wife LIKES to use.
Weaknesses:setup not as simple as advertised, website operated incorrectly several times during learning of infrared commands (the site downloaded the wrong files several times - repeated tries finally got the correct files downloaded), tech support seemed a bit clueless when I used them to try to solve a problem, end up solving it by myself (much simpler), pricey, some buttons too close to edge of case, some buttons feel "squishy" (especially the small white ones surrounding the display) and all buttons lack tactile response (not a major issue though), requires a change in thinking by the user about how a remote should work (learning activities versus learning individual devices), programming of some settings (ie: speed settings) require advanced user knowledge and are almost a necessity to improve the response of the remote since the defaults make it seem a bit sluggish. NOTE: some users would consider the ability to fine tune such parameters a STRENGTH, I'm sure.
Review:The remote is thoughtfully designed with killer backlighting and logical layout. The TV listings feature is really useful. Be prepared to shift your thinking about how remotes are supposed to work. Programming via the Harmony website (the only programming option) is not as intuitive as Harmony would like you to believe. My relatively simple a/v system took multiple runs back and forth from computer to system to test the downloaded codes. Major complaint is lack of remote simulator program for the Mac (a Windoze version is included). The website is not for the faint of heart and trial and error is required to finally get things flowing properly. In one instance, the website was just plain wrong. While trying to learn VOLUME UP and VOLUME DOWN commands, the site is supposed to download small programs that prompt you through both VOLUME UP and VOLUME DOWN operations. Instead, the site downloaded 2 VOLUME UP programs and NO VOLUME DOWN program. I had to try several times to get the VOLUME DOWN program to download, which it eventually did. An unskilled user would have a frustrating time accomplishing this, methinks. Mac support (OS 10.2) seems smooth and website access via Safari is flawless. Once one navigates through the maze of the Harmony website and finally gets the remote programmed the way you want, the remote itself operates very well indeed. On the bright side, the website is always improving and software improvements for the remote can easily be downloaded as they are developed. It's unlikely this remote will become outdated anytime soon.
What would make it better? Get the bugs out of the website. Keep buttons away from the extreme edges of the case. Get some tactile feedback for the buttons, especially the small squishy ones surrounding the display. And of course, drop the price a tad. All in all, a great Canadian product, definitely "outside the box" design and concept, and worth the bit of extra effort required to get it configured and fine-tuned.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Brendan Schilling from Los Angeles.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 4 made on Tuesday January 13, 2004 at 1:12 AM.
Strengths:Handled everything I could throw at it; reasonably simple programming interface for such a complex set of abilities; value; design; one-touch buttons a godsend; help button actually...helps!
Weaknesses:Website programming a bit slow, not waterproof.
Review:I actually owned two of these - one for about a week before it went swimming in a glass of water (courtesy of my two year-old), and the second for about two weeks now. After the first one died, I didn't hesitate to replace it with the exact same model.

I have a witch's brew of different audio and video equipment in my AV system, from regular name-brand to some mid-major esoteric stuff. Not a problem - the 659 "ate" every infared challenge I threw at it, burping only once on something so simple to fix it is hardly worth mentioning.

Creating and modifying the one-touch buttons was a snap, though I did have to modify the "basic" settings for my taste more than once. repeded visits to the programming website tested my patience with slow response times, but that was a very small price to pay for being able to evict no fewer than 9 remotes from my living room. This thing even controls my IR ceiling fan!

I am not (yet) an X-10 user, but a remote this powerful yet simple to set up makes me want to automate my house just so I have an excuse to buy another! Highly recommended for all but the most jaded of the remote control junkies!
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Mike Williams from Ottawa, ON.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 3 made on Thursday January 1, 2004 at 10:15 AM.
Strengths:Easy to setup -- the inital setup gave me a workable configuration for a 6 component home theater system.

Easy to use -- activity based controls work great.

Adaptability -- just the right amount of programmability if you just care about the high-use buttons on your remotes.

Physical design -- the best control I have in my inventory.
Weaknesses:The Website: for a web based product it can be slow and has some very clumsy page transitions. For example, programming media content.
Review:I am a very happy owner/user. This is the remote I had been looking for.

I was able to replace 6 remotes with the 659 without sacrificing any of the controls I normally use. I didn't find the 4 softkey limit restricting.

The activity based approach is very effective -- and a marriage saver.

The ergonomics of the remote are excellent especially considering it's relatively small form factor.

The basic configuration process for the 659 is very straightforward and effective. I followed the instructions (written and online) and 15 minutes later I had a functional control for a 6 component system. (Note, I did have to re-program my firewall to allow cookies for their sites.)

I am concerned about the security of the web site. It is basicaly an online database of all the home theater equipment in my house -- who has access to it? how is it being used? can it be traced back to me? They should at least use SSL to secure the member sessions. I'd also like to be assured that this information is available only to me.

I'd also like to be able to download the configuration file (XML?) to my own PC as an additional backup mechanism.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by John Kingsley from Pennsylvania.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 2 made on Saturday December 27, 2003 at 11:05 PM.
Strengths:Ease of use, Wife Appeal Factor, internet programmable, Smart State Technology, massive list of supported devices, lots of buttons, excellent tech support with real time code adjustments to support unsupported devices.
Weaknesses:No Macros, Some device functions cannot be deleted, device functions in LCD cannot always be prioritized, 6 buttons for LCD based functions, but only 4 can be used, Internet System takes time to get used to, no computer based application support - all setup activities must be performed via internet based application.
Review:This is truly a wonderful remote, but it has its quirks. I am hoping that Harmony will address the issues highlighted above. Particularly, allowing for prioritization of functions for devices within the LCD and making available a PC based application for tweaking the remote which can be updated as needed. HARMONY... WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO IF YOUR SITE WERE TO CEASE TO EXIST? If this were to happen our ~$200 remotes would become essentially worthless!!

I am giving this remote the ratings I have based on an expectation that Harmony will likely resolve most of these issues. This company really listens to its customers!
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Charles Van Ness from Cleveland, Ohio.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 1 made on Thursday December 11, 2003 at 11:38 PM.
Strengths:Traditional remote setup with plenty of hard keys and a highly-functional LCD panel which offers customizable hard keys and media information (e.g., TV guide listings) all of which is set up from the internet.
Weaknesses:Lacks dedicated TIVO button; Somewhat confusing to program; Slow internet access even with cable/dsl; No scroll wheel;
Review:The new Harmony SST-659 combines all of the right elements for a remote control in today's multi-media home theater systems, offering complete control of devices from TIVO/PVR units to digital music servers. While Harmony is marketing the 659 as the "family" remote in its line of products, it actually surpasses the capabilities of the 768/748 line in many ways with a far more intuitive setup. Unfortunately, Harmony does not offer some of the power or customization features on the 659 that many remote central fans crave. This will change soon when Harmony responds to the overwhelming customer demand for power on the 659 interface.

I was immediately hooked on the 659 for use with my DirecTV/TIVO receivers. The hardkey setup offers ideal access to most traditional satellite functions, and is the closest alternative to the TIVO "peanut" remote on the market. Upon receiving the 659 on a Friday, I spent the entire weekend updating and fine-tuning the remote functions. Although it took hours of internet access and downloads plagued by slow response time, the final result was well worth it. My 659 now operates all of my components seemlessly, all with a single remote. My system consists of a Directv Tivo satellite receiver, Directv High Def receiver, vcr, dvd, surround sound receiver, and digital music server. I can now access any of my components with a single push of a button or two, and switch between them without delay. My mother-in-law could control the system if I let her!

If you want an intuitive, ergonomic remote that is easily be controlled with one hand, then the Harmony SST-659 is worth a long look.

Quality: Features: Value:

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