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Logitech Harmony 880 Remote Control Full Review

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We continue to update our readers on the new remote control models from Logitech's Harmony line. Their newest consumer remote, the Harmony 880, departs from the norm and adds a 128x160 pixel full color LCD display and docking cradle to recharge the included Lithium-ion battery. The entire remote has been completely remodeled by Logitech's design team. This model is the culmination of the company's influence and experience being put to the test in an effort to improve upon the past Harmony designs and ergonomics. Though we'll touch upon changes and differences, for a detailed review of the Harmony Remote programming experience and website interface, we'll ask you to read our in-depth review of the Harmony 688 . If you want to see what the Harmony 880 remote offers and how it compares to the 688 or 676 - please read on.

Build Quality and Ergonomics

The Harmony 880 remote control, as mentioned earlier, represents a complete redesign of the previous Harmony remote models. Of note, the monochrome liquid crystal display has been replaced by a full color 128x160 pixel LCD display that features 8 graphical buttons for the available activities and functions. The remote weighs about the same as other Harmony remotes (in fact it is 0.3 ounces lighter then the 676). Gone are the oval rubberized buttons in favor of a more integrated low-profile look. Buttons are very much a part of the new style of the remote, being fully integrated into the design as elements of the shape and contour of the remote body.

The remote's LCD screen goes to sleep automatically, but is awakened "automagically" when the remote is picked up or when the GLOW button is pressed. The contrast is a bit high on the display, and it cannot be adjusted, but all text appeared to be reasonably easy to read. The Volume, Channel and Navigational buttons are quite easy to reach with the thumb and are very well laid out. Selecting from the eight activities or user controls via the LCD screen's side buttons is also very easy to do, with the top left button being a bit of a stretch (oh boo-hoo, right!) The lower numeric and DVR control buttons are probably the weakest part of the remote. They felt a little fragile - almost like they could pop out on you if you weren't careful (this never once happened).

Use and Impressions

Any time there is change there is a period of adjustment. With remote controls it's no different. I know what I like, but as a reviewer, opening yourself up to alternate options and ways of doing things is a requisite part of the job. In the case of the redesign of the new 880 I would have to say that change is good - or at least as good. Logitech, judging by the new designs it is putting out is set on a sleeker, more integrated remote control and is interested in adding a greater amount of form to the form-function equation.

I promised not to rehash programming since I covered that in depth in our original Harmony 688 review , so I'll just say that Logitech is still managing its product database, though I did find some odd behavior on some newer display products that I tested (of note, it was a display with a very odd method of navigating inputs). The programming interface for the 880 is identical to that of the previous models with a few customizable areas that deal with the LCD screen. For example, you can add a background image that appears underneath the 8 soft buttons used for activity selection and device control. If you do this, be sure it's a darker background; bright photos may make the text a bit harder to read. After playing with it I actually ended up going back to the default for better readability, but Photoshop enthusiasts will have a field day.

Logitech added a slideshow function to the new remote. When the Harmony 880 is placed in its cradle it recharges itself and the screen cycles through a series of photos that you can upload to the system through the Logitech Harmony website interface. The number of images is limited by the memory remaining in the remote. This is a novel feature for those who plan on putting the recharging base on a low table. It would be even more useful if future iterations of the remote's recharging stand allowed for a vertical orientation of the remote (so that the rotating images could be displayed more readily).

Harmony-880-LCD-pics.jpg

General Activities and Advanced Use

As always, the advanced features are how you really eek out the most from your Harmony remote. We'll just add a bit of info here in the form of a tip you can use to get some more use out of what is already a very helpful remote.

For those of you looking to get a bit more customizability out of the Harmony, try setting up a Generic Activity. Here you will be able to select what devices you want to control and specifically engage a sequence of IR commands and delays upon activation and shut down. This is perfect for any number of theater-related activities, such as lighting modes, electric projector screens, or even activating automatic shades or blinds. While these controls can also be added into a main activity, it is always helpful to be able to trigger miscellaneous devices or activities on their own as well (for instance, altering the lighting for a party or special event that doesn't engage the theater's video system).

Conclusions

The Logitech Harmony 880 remote is the logical evolutionary step in remote control design from a company that set its sights on taking a good idea farther and making it better. This is a well-executed design and it shows. Many times change is made for change's sake. In this case, Logitech is continuing with its desire to provide a myriad of remotes for every taste and purpose. The LCD screen is handy, and the recharging cradle will make sure you never go back to a remote control that isn't dockable - it's just too convenient to ignore.

It's not as powerful as a remotre control designed specifically for custom installation use, but the Harmony 880 is flexible, quick, easily programmed and a "good looker". I am looking forward to what they come up with next!


Logitech Harmony 880 Remote Control
MSRP: $249.95

Logitech
6505 Kaiser Drive
Fremont, CA 94555 USA
800-231-7717 Consumer Sales

About Logitech
Founded in 1981, Logitech designs, manufactures and markets personal peripherals that enable people to effectively work, play, and communicate in the digital world. Logitech International is a Swiss public company traded on the Swiss Stock Exchange (LOGN) and in the U.S. on the Nasdaq National Market System (LOGI). The company has manufacturing facilities in Asia and offices in major cities in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
MetricRating
Build QualityStarStarStarStar
Ergonomics & UsabilityStarStarStarStar
Ease of Setup/Programming/IntegrationStarStarStarStarStar
FeaturesStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStarhalf-star
ValueStarStarStarStar

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About the author:

Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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