Your Universal Remote Control Center
Remote Control User Reviews
Previous page Next page Up level
Up level
The following page was printed from

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!
Get it

Navigation: [ < Previous|Next > ]
Now viewing user reviews page 3 of 13 for
the Harmony 659 / H659 / SST-659 remote.
[ Go to: |1|2|3|4|5|6|7|Last >> ]

Written by Steve Tye from Queensland, Australia.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 75 made on Friday September 9, 2005 at 7:38 PM.
Strengths:Intuitive initial setup and automatic setup of activites. Fully customisable and comprehensive device database.
Weaknesses:Web-based management requires constant downloading. Web interface is a little cumbersome.
Review:I bought this device new for $95 AUD inc postage via ebay. Overall, a very polished product with intuitive features and very customisable.

The device is designed mostly for AV systems and does not apper to allow easy configuration of other devices like air conditioners and lighting etc, but that was not what I bought the remote for. It is of a good weight and is very ergonomic.

A read a few reviews on the web about the remote prior to purchasing and I have found a few statements to be off target:
* The LCD display will allow all 6 feature buttons with a firmware upgrade and a setting change within the application.
* The buttons do not give poor response or do not (to me at least) feel "sticky".

The only complaint I have with the device is that the web site is somewhat poorly structured and hard to navigate if you wish to do more than use its built in wizards. The web interface makes updates to your remote take longer than it probably needs to, a annoyance when you are first setting the remote up. If a client-side version was on offer that contained the complete device database, this might make things easier.

Overall however, great value for money (especially in my case) and a very good product.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Deke from MI.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 74 made on Tuesday September 6, 2005 at 9:43 PM.
Strengths:It just works and the wife is thrilled that she now has independence with all the media!
Weaknesses:A few odd ergonomic and usability issues, but minor. You might add the lack of customization, but this is only applicable to the geekiest control freak! This IS the remote for the rest of us!
Review:Okay, I have tried them all. Well, not all, but a lot! :-) URC-300, Home Theater Master, Rotel RR-969 and the Sony AVs. This is the remote I am going with. Well, actually I have the 676 and I think its steady state option makes this the remote for me since I have a few inputs on my TV.

I am really trying to help you. It is a jungle out here. Let me explain myself and see what you think about this.

I am a complete gadget and computer freak. I spend hours and hours adjusting all kinds of things in my house, but I realize it is really just a personality quirk. My computers talk to me and I can talk to them. I even set them up to talk to each other once and it almost worked. I mean "talk" not over the network. Buut you know what, 80% of my effort is a waste and just fun for me. With this remote I came to realize something. The value of something isn't in its tweakbility, it is in its functionality. Sure, there could be a few little improvements in interaction design and or options, but the thing just works and works well. Set up with the web app was a breeze. It was not slow for me and all my components were there. I have a somewhat less popular AV receiver from Rotel and it is handled perfectly by the remote. I actually had a problem with the remote having my TV input wrong on watching TV, but the Help feature fixed it in 30 seconds!

Would I love to go back in and be able to program macros, assign labels, move and assign buttons? Sure I would, but it is a sickness!!! I absolutely don't NEED to do this with this remote. If you are some kind of expert who charges people $80 an hour to set up their home theater, well, I guess this is NOT the remote for you.

So, if you are just someone who wants to spend their time NOT spending time with gadgets and just watching TV, movies and listening to CDs/radio - all at the press of one button. This is the remote for you. If you are a geek who might just realize that being a geek is sometimes a waste of your leisure time, this is also the remote for you.

The activity based paradigm of Logitech is superior for those who actually spend their time on these activities. The other mid priced remotes, with their bazillion geeky features are not practical. I know, I have retuirned many of the ones reviewed so highly on this very site. They cannot equal this remote in the combination of functionality + ease of use. I'm telling you, this is the way to go.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Danny Fuller from Texas, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 73 made on Tuesday June 28, 2005 at 5:03 PM.
Strengths:Freakin' Awesome control of devices.
What you need when you need it.
Awesome backlight.
Perfect button configuration.
Review:this is the best remote EVER! I couldn't have even thought such a dream existed. Push a button and everything to watch a dvd turns on. To boot, the functions displayed on the remote, control what you need to watch a DVD and adjust your sound on your receiver. Awesome. Go to the more activities button, and select Watch HDTV, and the DVD player switches off, inputs switch on the TV, HD box switched on, sound input switches, now I am watching HD, and all the controls on the remote control my HD box, and the sound is done with my receiver. You get the picture. Awsome. To additional things I want to point out. I had a Sony AV2500, but could not get it to control both my Dish Network DVR and my Dish Network HD box. With the Harmony I was able to go in on the net and change the language my remote communicates with my HD box. It is awesome. Both my Dish Network devices use UHF/RF frequency so i thought I was not going to be able to control one of them because both of the boxes have to be on a diffrenet frequency so that the both remotes don't control both boxes. Does that make sense? Anyway this was not possible with the AV2500. The harmony is awesome. Second thing is that the internet setup is awesome. it does take a little while to figure out, but everything is 100% customizable. Rename your devices. rename your activaties. What a labels reads next to what button on the LCD screen, what order they appear in, it is just awesome. I am over joyed with my purchase and can't think of how any remote could be better than this. You can assign what activity happens when you hit watch a movie. Do you want to watch a DVD or VHS? Watch TV... HD box or DVR box. Listen to music... Radio or CDs. All of the other choices are accessible from the More Activaties button. It is great. I can't believe this remote doesn't cost more!

Take the time to learn what this remote can do and you will not be dissappointed!!!!
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Greg from Southern California.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 72 made on Tuesday June 21, 2005 at 6:07 PM.
Strengths:- Activity based features
- Web based programming
- Almost everything else ;)
Weaknesses:- The three un-assignable buttons.
- It did not ship with the most recent drivers... I had to uninstall then reinstall updates.
- You can't update your remote off-line
- Buttons on either side of LCD screen are a little weak.
Review:I won't go to much into this review because there are so many before me. But let me say that the single best feature about this remote is it's activity based operation. With the press of ONE BUTTON, I can be watching TV through my cable box. This is great for my wife, who is not a technophobe, but has little patience with technology. When the 'watch TV' button is pressed, the following commands are sent:
- Tv turned on
- Tv input set to cable box
- Cable box turned on
- Amplifier turned on
- Amplifier input set to cable box
- Amplifier set to 5.1

I can add more and more commands to this button if I want. This remote can also control home automation devices (turn down lights, close drapes, etc).

Run don't walk to get this remote. Newegg has it for $90. Circuit City had it on sale for $99 (after $50 rebates).
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Paul Wlodarczyk from Rochester, NY.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 71 made on Saturday June 18, 2005 at 5:32 PM.
Strengths:+ Activity-based approach (simpelr than macros)
+ Layout and ease of Use
+ Balance of hard and soft controls
Weaknesses:- Programming is not a easy as I would have liked, with a bit of trial and error on Day 1 (but still not a big issue - see notes below)
Review:The H659 is hands-down the best remote I've ever owned, having previously owned an RCA Universal Custom 8, two prior IR learning remotes with macros, and various OEM "universal" remotes that came with components or the cable box. I even was desperate enough to hack remotes through JP15. I am controlling a Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8000 DVR/cable tuner, Toshiba TV, Sirius Satellite Radio, Pioneer ProLogic surround receiver, Panasonic CD-DVD carousel, and a VHS and cassette deck, plus a game console. I use the DVR to tune cable channels and the receiver to control the audio. The 659 controls everything without any need to learn IR codes, program macros, or reprogram buttons. What is truly amazing is how it manages to select the correct inputs on the TV and receiver -- neither of which has direct selection but rather requires cycling through inputs serially. The 659 handles this gracefully -- and no special tweaking by me. I did have to fuss around with customizing the soft button key assignments and labels for everything --the activities, the devices, and the "sound" and "picture" buttons for each device (all of which was less than intuitive). My biggest complaint is the awkward navigation on the Harmony website that you use to customize button and soft-button programming. Also, you have to experiment with organizing soft buttons to get them to group in pages of 4 or 6 (they don't always display in the order you enter them...). It took about 1 hour to get the device setup for first use (my wife timed me), and then another 4 or 5 iterations to get it exactly the way I like it. The Listen to Music activity for the Sirius radio omitted programming andy of the Sirius remote functions (even though it included the remote in the activity), and I had to enter the functions through the customization interface. So, not perfect, but far and away the best yet. I'd give it a 9/10 for ease of programming, and a 10/10 on ease of use. Also, my family and I LOVE hard buttons, and this unit has struck the perfect balance between hard buttons and soft. It's well balanced and has good feel on the buttons (despite other reviews on this site which probably had units with manufacturing defects). Finally, a great value: Got mine for $90.22 at less a $20 mail in rebate = $70.22 in June 2005.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Dmitriy Briskin from New York, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 70 made on Thursday June 2, 2005 at 3:09 PM.
Strengths:* Ease of initial setup, use and advanced configuration. Perfect "family" remote.
* Updatable Firmware.
* Extensive online repository of device configurations.
* Ability to "learn" from original remotes.
* Excellent value for its price.
Weaknesses:* Battery life is somewhat short.
* Button placement for DVD/VCR functions is uncomfortable.
* Buttons feel too "soft", no "pressed" feedback.
Review:I've owned this unit for about 2 months now and aside from a few minor inconveniences I absolutely love the remote. I bought it mostly for its alleged ease of setup and use and have yet to be disappointed.

Software installation and firmware update went quickly and without a hitch. I was browsing the site for my devices in no time. The online database of pre-programmed devices is impressive and will only grow as more users upload their own configurations.

The configuration is made extremely easy by various wizards that step you through adding devices. Yet another wizard allows you to arrange your devices into "activities" so that switching on multiple devices and putting them into appropriate states (to watch a DVD, for example) can be accomplished with a single push of a button. The remote can also manage which devices need to be toggled on or off when switching between activities. A single "Off" button turns off all currently active devices. Very convenient, considering that I have 7 devices each with its own remote (TV, Cable Box, Audio Amplifier, DVD player, VCR, Audio Jukebox and a powered Subwoofer).

Advanced tinkering allows you to add other IR functions if necessary, or change the functions of most buttons. Another extremely helpful wizard will walk you through adding a device in case it isn't (yet) listed on the website. It politely asks you to point the original remote to the 659 and press each button until all the codes are learned.

The unit lacks in only a few aspects. First - battery life. In the 2 months I've owned it I had to replace the batteries twice. I guess I shouldn't count the first time since I used the batteries included with the unit which lasted only for a week. Two months of hardly using the remote is too short of a battery life for four AAA's.

Another shortcoming of the unit is the placement of the buttons. The most commonly used DVD/VCR controls are placed towards the bottom of the remote, which makes it very uncomfortable to reach with the hand that's holding the remote (this is resolved in the later models though). Also, most of the buttons do not give any feedback that they've been pressed. If a device doesn't respond, there's just no way of telling whether you're not pushing them hard enough, or if it's the batteries that are failing. The exceptions are Volume and Channel Up/Down controls.

Overall, this unit is a great investment for a family all-in-one remote that won't deplete your checking account ;)
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Bruce Morris from Portland, OR.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 69 made on Friday May 20, 2005 at 6:37 PM.
Strengths:* Activity Based Macro control
* "Smart State" remembers the last status of input selects, on or off, etc.
* Help Key fixes problems when the real world status doesn't match what the remote thinks is true.
* Initial setup is fast
* GREAT tech support
Weaknesses:* Web interface is ridiculously slow
* If initial setup doesn't work, it takes hours to get it right
* Code database is less than ideal
Review:If you have read many of the reviews, no doubt you have seen that people either love this remote, or can't get it working and take it back after just a few days. There is a reason for this. I'll start with the love side, then get into what can go wrong.

There is a lot to love with this remote. What makes it soooo lovable is the "activity" paradigm combined with the smart state technology and the Help key. This winnning combo makes this a great remote for the technophobes among us. Even your grandmother will be able to get all the inputs set correctly on your home theater system.

The activity paradigm means that one button press will turn on the right components, set all the inputs, and then leave the remote in the right status to control that activity. Yes, you can get almost the same thing with the "device" based paradigm of other macro capable remotes, but the activity paradigm lets you further customize what buttons are active and which of several devices they control based on the "activity" (e.g. volume buttons control the reciever while you are watching TV - which is really your PVR-based satellite connection, so all the PVR buttons work too).

The smart state technology in combination with the Help key is sheer genius. Smart state means the remote remembers the status of your system, which components are on and what inputs they are set to. That can be a huge help if you change from watching TV to watching a DVD without first turning the system off. Of course its possible that a component doesn't switch on or off correctly, or an input was changed with another remote, or any of a million reasons why the real system state doesn't match what the remote thinks. Thats where the Help button comes in. After pressing an activity button, if the system isn't set up correctly, the Help button will guide the user through a set of yes/no questions that will eventually get everything reset to the proper on, off, and input states. Very cool, and very easy to use and explain to a non-techie.

So what can go wrong in this little paradise? Initial setup! If you are lucky (and judging by the ratings in the user reviews, many are), the code database for all of your components will be correct, and setup will be very fast. The web based wizard asks for the make and model numbers of all your components, what inputs you have them plugged into, and then loads your remote with all the proper codes and macros.

If however, the initial setup doesn't work right, the wizard based nature of the web site can be maddening to navigate. Even when you know, as I did, exactly what is wrong with a macro or setup code, finding the way to make the wizard correct the problem can be exasperating. The web interface is unaccountably slow too, which just makes things worse as you cast about for the right place to fix what is wrong. Because the web interface is slow, and the wizards are hard to navigate, a "lets see if this works" approach to fixing problems will have you wasting your time until 3:00 AM. In reading the reviews, most folk who have been displeased with the remote have taken it back because of the inflexibility of the setup wizards. The tech support folks have a direct interface into programming the remote and loading alternate codes. Logitech could help themselves greatly by making that interface available to the public as an alternative to the wizards.

Some of the problem is no doubt caused by the code database. The code database is uploaded by the consumers, then tweaked by Harmony when they find errors. This approach means that unless you are the very first Harmony user with the very newest TiVo, someone else has already populated the database with all the learned codes for your device. The problem comes when the yutz who went before you loads up bad codes, or describes the inputs incorrectly, or otherwise messes up. Until Harmony catches the error and fixes it, you have to live with the bad initial download and fix it yourself.

Speaking of tech support, its the BEST I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED. You don't wait long and the techs are extremely knowledgeable and friendly.

If you buy this remote, don't set yourself up for failure. Don't plan on using the remote the night you bring it home. If you are lucky, things will work perfectly. If they don't, then give yourself just 3 chances (about 1/2 hour of work) to make it right. If that doesn't work, just call tech support who can usually fix things quickly. And keep the packaging, in case you get frustrated and decide to take it back.

Quality: Features: Value:

Navigation: [ < Previous|Next > ]
Now viewing user reviews page 3 of 13 for
the Harmony 659 / H659 / SST-659 remote.
[ Go to: |1|2|3|4|5|6|7|Last >> ]

Previous PageReturn to the user reviews index...
Add your reviewAdd Your Review

Hosting Services by ipHouse