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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 h659user from PA, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 54 made on Friday November 12, 2004 at 11:49 PM.
Strengths:Ease of Programming
Intuitive Use
Activity Based
Help Key
Weaknesses:None so far
Review: I had A Harmon Kardon Take Control for several years, and programming macros for it was a chore. It finally stopped working and I needed to replace it. I did some research and found the H659 and I liked the feature set. (I wanted computer based programming.) I found it at Tiger Direct, an "authorized retailer," for $109.00 plus shipping. Using the "test drive" feature I set up the remote before it even arrived. I had kept my component manuals and the model numbers were easy to find. (JVC TV, JVC Receiver, JVC DVD, Sony VCR) My components were all already in the database. I had a very good experience programming with the web-based utility. I only chose to download a weeks worth of programming at a time for about 18 channels. The remote programming worked like a charm from the minute I unplugged it from the computer. I may tweak the VCR device settings a little, but pushing the activity buttons caused the exact actions needed to complete every activity, including scrolling through inputs on the TV and receiver as required. It works every time, for every activity and button.
I have decided that I prefer hard buttons (H659) to touch screens (HK). It would be nice to have more text visible on the LCD screen, but it is what it is and I find it more than adequate. I thought it might bother me, but it does not. After programming macros the old fashioned way, I can't believe people are complaining about the Harmony activity based programming. It is orders of magnitude easier and less time consuming. I probably completed it in 15 to 20 minutes, compared to several hours for the HK remote, which also required lots of tweaking. I might add that I experienced no notable delay using the web based utilities.
My wife and grade school age children operate the remote without instruction from me, and I don't get any more calls at work asking how to get the home theater reset to watch TV because a macro didn't go off properly. There haven't been any aiming issues. I would add that you should turn your system OFF before downloading TV listings or doing any additional programming, since the remote resets to this condition after downloading, and will need to be resynchronized with the help button otherwise.
I donít think youíll find another remote in the $110 price range with these features. If you do, Iíd like to hear about it.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by sanssome from California.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 6-12 months.
Review 53 made on Sunday November 7, 2004 at 1:59 PM.
Strengths:Flexible programming.
"Activity" driven macro control.
Huge database of device codes.
Fits into the hand nicely.
Weaknesses:Doesn't always send signals to device correctly, causing partial actions to occur.
Delay in signal send.
Inability to move between activities easily without powering everything off and on or resorting to device mode.
Review:The promise of the Harmony 659 is ease of programming and corresponding ease of use through activity centered functions. By selecting an activity, all buttons on the remote, hard and soft, are programmed to control exactly those devices and the functions needed on them to perform the task. No switching between devices on the remote to move video inputs on the tv, adjust audio receiver parameters, and perform DVD navigation when watching a movie. Granted, many remotes work around the above through the use of macros and cross device control from a single view, but the programming is never as simple as it is with the Harmnony using their Web based activity and device configuration program.

That being said, there are detractors with this remote. I moved from a broken Sony RM-AV3000 that my wife just loved, but I found lacking in full device control from a single screen with switching device modes. Thought the Harmony would overcome that. Well my wife hates the harmony, complaining about the size of buttons and failure to perform tasks corretly each and every time presumably due to signal delay when sending IR information to devices. Keys just don't always do the right thing, particuarly in a repetetive fashion. I've tried to adjust delay using the programming facilties provided, but I can't seem to overcome it no matter what I do. I also find that I have to resort to manual device control when a device is alrady on or off and I am switching activities, because the Harmony can't account for that in it's activity macro system. Otherwise you'll find switching to "watch a movie" when you were already listening to music may inadvertently turn your stereo receiver off because it doesn't support a discrete on/off function and it is "toggled" off.

At some point I'll move to a new remote, perhaps back to another Sony when there's more money due to my wife's displeasure with this unit and my frustrations outlined above. Perhaps the Pronto -- everyone seems to like those.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by W. David Mills from Texas.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 52 made on Monday October 11, 2004 at 2:33 PM.
Strengths:Easy to set up
I like software based configurations
Worked the first time I tried it.
Web tool was good but a little slow.
Weaknesses:Product Manual could be more robust.
Shape of remote and location of keys should be tweaked. A home theater deserves a remote that looks Upscale.
Review:I bought my remote at 3:30 pm and was using it by 5PM. Having recently encountered negative experiences with Samsungs HD satellite receiver/remote, I was pleasantly suprised to find this device actually delivered as advertised. It is great knowing that this remote will not be obsolete as my configuration changes. My wife who is typically challenged by all the options of other remotes, had no problem at all with this one. It turns on the HD sat. recver, the HD TV, and the Yamaha Dolby Stereo and sets all the proper inputs and options with the push of one button. This is how things should be designed. Since I only had it for one day I can't speak to the battery life or premature failures that I have read about. It has a one year warranty that I hope I won't need to use.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by hippo from USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 51 made on Monday September 27, 2004 at 2:46 PM.
Strengths:Flexibility of programming. Activity-based controls. Seemingly unlimited memory. Cool back lighting. Ease of use once programmed.
Weaknesses:Web site is not head-compatible, but can be figured out with hours of work. Transport keys need to be moved up for single hand operation.
Review:This remote took every useful command from my Sony television (KV27V42), Panasonic DVD recorder and Harmon Kardon AVR130 receiver. I had to tweak it some and the web site is maddening, but I got it done in about 3-4 hours over a couple days. You really have to hang in there to get this thing programmed right, but once you do...! If the test is whether you still need the other remotes -- it passes the test. I can now set recording and play DVDs effortlessly, adjust television controls and use all functions of the HK receiver with just one really cool looking remote. So can my wife and 7 year old. My wish to have the transport keys moved up has been granted in the new model, but I can live with this one. If you love gadgets and are a control freak, this is the remotes for you. It actually works as it is supposed to.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Todd Fiedler from Kansas City, MO, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 6-12 months.
Review 50 made on Sunday September 26, 2004 at 3:44 PM.
Strengths:Excellent feature set, easy to use once it's been set up and configured. Config can be saved as a file and restored from. Help function. Mac OS X support!
Weaknesses:Battery life, battery life, battery life. Need I say it more?
Review:This remote has an excellent feature set and once you've got it configured, it works well extremely well. I especially like the focus on how you use things as part of an activity. The interactive help function is nice too and for the most part it'll fix the problem. I do like the website although it could use some improvement in application flow and overall speed.

I really like the support of Mac OS X too. It just works and I can avoid using that crappy OS everyone else likes.

Battery life leaves a lot to desire but at least you'll know when you need new batteries because your equipment becomes less responsive.

My major complaint is that my remote will occasionally turn stuff off on it's own and when this happens, I have to remove the batteries from the remote. The help function will usually fail to resolve the out of sync condition at this point and the remote locks up.

I think it would be better priced around $149 though.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Mike from Alberta, Cananda.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 49 made on Saturday September 18, 2004 at 10:58 PM.
Strengths:Internet programming was great, the interface could be better but is not that bad to navigate through.
The addition of a full set of menu keys for the cable box was a great idea.
Weaknesses:Poor quality all the way around! The buttons have a very poor feel to them and do not always seem to respond when pushed.
The hour glass shape of the body is a little awkward too. Overall the body has a cheap look and feel.
For some bizzare reason it transmits the entry for a channel slowly instead of intantly like most remotes.
The LCD screen does not seem to have a sleep mode it is always on, which I think would drain your batteries.
The volume and channel buttons should be larger in my opinion.
Simply put it has more weaknesses than I want to list!
Review:The ideas behind this remote are much better than the remote itself!
It just does not seem to work as well as it should, especially for the retail 200 dollar CDN price tag.
It came as not suprise to me about the quality issues once I found out it was made in fact by Logitech. Their computer products always seemed to be of poor quality and this seems true of their remote controls!
I ran this remote back to the store to ensure getting a refund ASAP!
I would have to say avoid this product, it just does not have the quality and function that a remote in it's price range should have.
Quality: Features: Value:

Written by Zoober from California, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 48 made on Wednesday September 8, 2004 at 12:51 AM.
Strengths:Finally, a remote that can be programmed. And from either my PC or my much-preferred Macintosh.
It does it all. For the first time ever, after experimenting with other remotes, there is only the H659 on the coffee table.
Weaknesses:Those who have trouble with navigating computer websites seem to have problems setting it up. But once you get the hang of it, it's just so easy (albeit a bit time-consuming).
Review:I've bought remotes before that are supposed to do everything. But after spending a few hours and realizing I still can't get one to do certain tasks, I was back to using separate remotes again. But the H659 FINALLY solved the problem. It operates my DirecTiVo and complicated receiver (plus the normal TV, DVD, VCR, etc.) with ease. Even sets up complex tasks, like setting the surround sound mode differently if I want to use the satellite receiver for a movie or for music. And I did this with my keyboard easily, rather than some complicated code.
Now when I go to use it, I press ONE button for all the functions. Then another to either switch activities or turn everything off. Finally, a remote that I can program and my mother can operate: "Mom, just leave it on the coffee table point that way and push 'off.'"
I had one problem with a feature, called customer service. As I was getting ready for the long hold time, I got a live person instead who solved my problem instantly, then easily answered a few questions.
To be honest, I rarely endorse products this strongly. (I criticize things for a living.) But this is the remote that finally has the solution to that mess of remotes. Now I can finally let my wife put knick-knacks on the coffee table instead of covering it with remotes!
Quality: Features: Value:

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