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User reviews for the Harmony 520 from Logitech.
Harmony 520
RatingsReviewsMSRP (USD)
Average: 3.85/5.00
Median: 4.00/5.00
The Harmony 520 is the most economical activity-based remote control from Logitech. It features a completely redesigned format, backlit LCD screen with 4 adjacent hard buttons, fully backlit keypad, code learning, USB communications and online setup.
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the Harmony 520 remote.
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Written by clintre from Houston.
The reviewer has used this remote control for under 1 month.
Review 9 made on Thursday August 10, 2006 at 9:02 AM.
Also owned:RCA
Strengths:Easy to setup and easy to learn.
Works with almost every brand out there.
Weaknesses:The number buttons are a bit small.
Must be connected to the internet to program.
Review:I really can not really understand how some people think that this remote is hard to setup and/or user. It took me all of 10 minutes to install the software on my computer and setup the remote to use for my components:
(Sony TV, Sony DVD, Motorola Cable Box, and Denon Receiver)

I found the remote very self explanatory on how to start an activity and it worked great. If I selected "Watch TV" it would turn on the receiver and set it to the correct settings, turn my tv on and change it to Input Video 4, turn on the cable box, and set the volumn control to the Receiver.

Pretty much all of the original functions are available through this remote via the LCD display, including the amozing amount for the Denon receiver.

I did not want to spend more than $100 for a remote and was worried that this one being their entry level would not do everything I needed, it did and more.
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Written by rolandpibb from Telkwa BC.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 8 made on Tuesday June 20, 2006 at 5:07 PM.
Strengths:Number of codes, devices, activities
Wife acceptance factor
Weaknesses:Lengthy learning curve (not that it's a real weakness-I love to tweak)
Creaking noises
Review:I have owned a Cinema 7 learning remote (wife hated it--L1 is actually this, L2 is actually that, pah)

and currently a Kameleon 7 (nicknamed "flashie" because of the annoying flashing mode it goes into when itís eaten up another set of batteries) (wife loves it-does what the button says it does)

I now own the Logitech Harmony 520 and we all love it.(after much "sighing" from the wife in the purchase stage)

My audio/video system has plenty of different inputs etc;

TV- JVC (AV-36FA54)
VCR - Toshiba VCR (W-522)
DVD - Philips DVD (DVP-642)
AV Receiver - Kenwood AV Receiver (VR-407)
Satellite - Bell ExpressVu Satellite (2700)
CD Player - Kenwood CD Jukebox (CD-424M)
PVR - Toshiba DVD Recorder (RD-XS34)

And the 520 controls them all and all the input changes with ease. BUT YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE TIME TO REALLY DIGEST THE SOFTWARE. Understanding what you're doing and how to do it is really important. It took me around 5 hours to get everything set up the way I want (didn't mind the time at all) and now the remote does everything me and the wife want.

I hit Watch Satellite TV--The TV comes on, goes to Video 1, audio receiver comes on and goes to Video 1, the satellite comes on and goes directly to the guide

I hit Watch PVR--The TV stays on, and stays on Video 1, audio receiver stays on and goes to Video 3, the satellite stays on, and the PVR comes on and goes to Video input 1

I hit Watch VCR--The TV stays on, and stays on Video 1, audio receiver stays on and stays on Video 3, the satellite stays on, the PVR stays on, but changes to Video input 3, and the VCR comes on.

Then I can go back to Watch PVR--The TV stays on, and stays on Video 1, audio receiver stays on and stays on Video 3, the satellite stays on, and the PVR stays on, but goes back to Video Input 1.

The remote remembers where you left off with video inputs, so as long as you hold the remote at your gear during it's macro functions, it should be perfect. Plus if there's a problem, my wife can hit help and it can decypher the problem. "Is the TV on? Is it on Video 1?", etc.

Also in each "activity mode" you can bring in button presses from other devices. In Watch Satellite TV mode, I have hard buttons for "change audio rec volume" "change Sat. channel" and I have LCD buttons for "change audio receiver listen mode" "change TV aspect ratio", "audio reciever bass boost", etc.

And you can go into each device mode and delete the LCD buttons that you don't need or are not applicable to your device. I got my audio reciever from 26 pages of LCD buttons down to 2.

Plus I love the layout of the buttons. In "watch satellite mode" I have page up and page down instead of the channel + & - buttons, etc. It's easy to do what you want the remote to do, with one hand.

And you can re-name the buttons to anything you like. There's enough room for characters on each of 2 lines, so a little tweaking here and there can get your remote set up perfectly. I could not be happier in my purchase. It looks great and works like a dream.

Best Learning/multi function remote under $100.
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Written by cliffdbrown from Atlanta, GA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 7 made on Saturday May 27, 2006 at 8:21 PM.
Strengths:Inexpensive (relatively) Work w/ all my equipment (so far)
Weaknesses:Cumbersom to program, seems to require internet access to run config program on PC
Review:I'm cheap. The idea that someone could pay $1000+ for a remote astounds me. Even forking over one tenth that for this baby took a little will power...but I was tired of juggling four controls to watch anything in my home theater.

On the plus side it works. Probably took me a little over an hour to setup (though I will probably try an "tweak" some things.) The hardest part was getting the software installed. Although the remote comes with a CD, I still had to download both software updates and firmware updates from the internet. The software installation process was slow, I had to disable my firewall and had to reboot a couple of times before I got it to work.

After all that effort, you still have to be connected to the internet to use the software. That's just plain dumb. Also a tad "big brotherish."

They didn't provide a user manual, which is ok, except it's not on CD either. You have to go to the internet to get it. Also dumb, 'cause I can't imagine that anyone who is going to spend $100 on a remote isn't going to want to make sure they're getting the most they can from it. But I digress....

The good news is that after getting the software installed, it worked reasonably well. All my equipment was recognized, including my infrared light dimmer. Running the software was a little klunky...but not difficult. I'm assuming that I won't have to do this that often, so it's ok. If anyone did anticipate reprogramming their remote more than once every couple of months or so (not sure why...but hey) you'd probably be better off with something else.

There are a couple things I have not figured out yet. Two things I do often in my home theater is adjust the lights and change the "screen mode" of the projector. I'm hoping I can find an easier way to do that with this remote, because right now, it takes a several more button pushes than I'd like. There are no "extra" buttons as it were, so Iím not sure how I'm going to make this easier. I did improve the "screen mode" situation a little by programming the "#" key to do that. But I still have to navigate my way through menus to the projector for that to work.

I'd probably buy it again. Just wish the software wasn't so klunky to install and use.
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Written by mike2mikeca from California, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 6-12 months.
Review 6 made on Sunday May 7, 2006 at 11:34 AM.
Strengths:Can orchestrate the entire system
Weaknesses:Setup is cumbersome
Review:Warning: There is a very steep entry barrier for this remote. I do not want to mislead anyone. Setting this one up is very cumbersome. Even for minor adjustments, you have to hook up the remote to a computer, go on the Internet, and suffer. Deleting one item requires one click on delete, another click to confirm that you really want to delete, and another click to acknowledge that it was deleted. Each click summons a new web page. A waste of time. Another annoyance: If you stay on their site too long, they will just disconnect you, without warning. You may be in the middle of doing something, and all of a sudden, the link is gone and so is your work. That is just rude. If you want to save some time, as another reviewer, dcis_steve, recommended, go directly to to update your remote. Youíll save a lot of time. Incidentally, the setup for you remote is stored at Harmony web site. So you can log on from anywhere and adjust your setup or maybe have a friend help you, and then update the remote at home.

First the ergonomics: The back of the remote has a rubbery finish for traction (unlike some other remotes that just slips out of your hand) with two ridges where you can rest you index finger on. If you rest your index finger on the center ridge, your thumb is positioned right over the most important button: PLAY. Clustered in that area is a set of eight large buttons for the most important controls: Play, Pause, FF, RV, Stop, Skip Forward, Skip Back, and Record. This alone is the reason I selected this model over the other ones in this price category. Place your index on the lower ridge, and you are ready to control the directional buttons and the two arrow buttons, which I use to control volume. Unfortunately, the other buttons, including the official volume control buttons, are small and unwieldy, there for looks rather than ease. Just try pushing that tiny silver button on the upper right-hand corner of the remote. By the way, the little rubber cap for the USB connection at the tip of the remote just doesnít seem to want to stay there. It usually just hangs there, flipping, or simply disappears

Logitech boasts that Harmony can control any IR device. I hope so. From their web site, the remote can access their enormous, though not exhaustive, database of IR codes for various devices. Better, they usually include commands missing from your original remote. Another benefit: Once selected, the IR commands will be automatically assigned to the various buttons on the remote. Donít like their assignment? You can change them. You can also teach Harmony a command using the original remote. Unfortunately, Logitech doesnít allow you to program the remote using hex codes like Pronto does, though they will add them for you if you send it to them. Iíve sent them a couple, and Iím actually impressed at how quickly they been able to add them. The only other concern is that the manufactures are changing their remotes, and itís quite possible that some would be incompatible with Harmony in the future, intentionally or otherwise.

You may be thinking about getting this remote to replace a bunch of remotes. Itíll do that, but it can do more. People have problem connecting various components together and getting them to communicate with each other. Thus the typical complaint that the system doesnít work, when all it required was one more push on the right button. Harmony can help you, or more like relieve the burden on other family members from pushing that one extra button.

Harmony makes you think along the line of activities. So instead of thinking of using a DVD player, you would think of watching a movie in a dark room (X10 control, though you should read the end before getting any ideas) using a DVD player, an amplifier, and a flat-panel display, and you can use the remote to control and coordinate the various components required to watch a movie. This just makes a lot of sense. You can still control each device by entering the device mode on the remote, but why bother? Every time you enter an activity, the remote sends a series of commands to turn on (and off) various devices and select different inputs and outputs required for the activity. It even does this for devices missing dedicated On/Off switch by keeping track of which devices it turned on and off. It usually requires a little tweaking, but once setup, itís just incredible. This just makes all the trouble worth it.

In this regard, there is a question of whether a particular component that you have can be controlled like that. A good candidate should have a dedicated on/off switch and an ability to select various inputs and outputs from the remote. Interestingly, most components made during the last ten years have that ability, though it just may not be available on the original remote. That is where the extra commands found at Harmony database and hex codes from other sources, like web sites devoted to remote controls, come in handy. Yep, that dingy DVD player that youíve been struggling with for all these years may be finally tamed! You may have to do a little searching and tweaking, but itís worth it.

One final note: Macro (the ability to send a series of commands) on this remote is somewhat limited. It is designed to send a macro on entering and exiting an activity, and these macros can be adjusted. But once in an activity, you can program a button to send only one command to each device. So you cannot send two commands to the same device, but you can send more than one command as long as they go to different devices and in a sequence that is set by the remote instead of you. Got it? This is where controlling X10 devices runs into problem. You usually have to send a series of commands. I selected X10 Pro (doesnít require house code, thus saving one command) and install it as two devices on the remote. This allows me to send one X10 command, consisting of a unit command followed by an action command. Another device is programmed to receive this X10 command and convert it to a series of X10 commands (another macro) so that I can control multiple lights. Just wanted to warn you.
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Written by awatson from Camas, WA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 5 made on Tuesday March 21, 2006 at 7:07 PM.
Strengths:Computer programmable
Weaknesses:Didn't control devices correctly
Review:I purchased this remote in hopes of having a more "family friendly" remote. I also wanted the computer programmability so I didn't have to go through the endless button combos to program my current remote. Unfortunately, this remote did not meet my expectations.

While the remote was mostly plug and play on the computer, it did not control my TV and other devices properly. Despite multiple attempts at resetting the options (using Help on the remote, and reprogramming via the web site), my JVC TV was always set to the wrong input.

I also found the "Activity" approach a lot more confusing than I expected. First, you had to press the Activity button, then scroll to the activity you wanted, then select the activity. Selecting TV on my old remote and pushing the power button was easier to understand.

I had to modify all the original settings to leave each device on, otherwise the remote would turn off my VCR while it was recording, when I selected a different activity.

The buttons seemed to located in strange places too, at least compared to all my other remotes. It usually took two hands to operate the remote.

Sadly, this remote seemed to cause more problems than I was hoping it would solve. So, I'll be returning it tomorrow.
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Written by jmbissell from Texas, USA.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 4 made on Thursday February 23, 2006 at 4:29 PM.
Strengths:USB programming. Low price for a full-function remote.
Weaknesses:Feels flimsy. Button feel. Slow update after changes.
Review:I'd like to write a long review, but I only had the 520 for a day. During that time, I got it to connect via USB about 5 times out of 30 tries. This was across two different computers and both USB 1.1 and 2.0. Once connected, it was fairly easy to program using either the local software or the web-based configuration tools.

Unfortunately, after the initial firmware refresh and programming, getting it to connect again was next to impossible. I tried all the FAQ tips for getting a reliable USB connection, but none worked reliably. An e-mail to Logitech support went unanswered for several days and then just regurgitated the FAQ tips. I decided that it was taking too much of my time and returned it.

From an operational standpoint, I didn't like the feel of the unit. The long, flat form was a bit hard to hold easily. It seemed to flex a bit when I tried to push buttons and typically required two hands. The buttons around the LCD were a bit hard to depress and didn't have the great feel of some other remotes.

I thought that I would like the Activity mode, but it quickly became frustrating. As others have noted, the remote has no idea what the current configuration is when it attempts to change modes. It would also turn off all the equipment it didn't think it needed, which I often didn't want it to do. I'm sure that I could have worked around these problems to some degree if I'd been able to connect reliably.

All of my devices were listed in the web program but it curiously didn't always have all the features correctly implemented.

Bottom line: if the USB had been reliable, it would have gotten a better score. Probably just a problem with my unit, but I wasn't so blow away that I wanted a replacement. It just didn't have the great feel of the MX-500 that I bought to replace it.
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Written by bryguy from California.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 3 made on Tuesday February 7, 2006 at 1:46 PM.
Strengths:Easy to setup, price, ease of use, layout and appearance.
Weaknesses:Small buttons
Review:This remote does everything I need it to do and was very easy to setup. I used the software that came with the remote, updating it to the newest version from Logitech's website. The web based program walks you through the setup process and lets you go back and add activities and tweak others. I set it up for six different activities. The remote is very easy to use with one hand. The buttons are somewhat small but they are layed out very well. They do seem somewhat fragile so it will be interesting to see how well it holds up. Many Logitech remotes look like kids toys to me, so I liked the appearance of this one. I was looking at the new H/K TC-30 (which looks very similar) but the price was more than I can handle, I think this was a good comprmise.
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