Help Me Find the Best Universal Remote, Please

logitech-harmony-ultimate universal remote

Okay, I’ve had it! We have too many remotes! Apple TV, Direct TV, TV, DVD, Roku, a Vizio sound bar, and I may even be forgetting one! Has anyone tried one of those smart remotes with a screen? I’m considering a Logitech Harmony remote, but I’m wondering if there is something even better out there?

I’m looking for a high-tech, yet easy to figure out and use, universal remote that doesn’t rely on my iPhone to work.   I want something that has a rechargeable battery, or that can at least hold a charge longer than a week or two (unlike our Gear4 UnityRemote, whose batteries seem to run out in less than 2 weeks). I don’t want any more frustrating false positives when I aim the remote at the device it’s supposed to control, and nothing happens. I want one remote that does it ALL.

Your suggestions and experiences would be a great help, so I’d appreciate you sharing if you’ve got a particular universal remote that is working well for you.

Thank you! =)

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

16 Comments on "Help Me Find the Best Universal Remote, Please"

  1. Mitchell Oke | February 20, 2014 at 9:36 pm |

    I’ve had a Logitech Harmony 600 for almost two years and it’s been brilliant. Lasts months on a couple of AA batteries, has fully custom buttons using the screen, and is reasonably responsive. Very happy!

  2. I have nothing to suggest but I am eagerly awaiting the suggestions!

  3. Thanks, Mitchell. I keep pulling up the amazon page for the Logitech Harmony Untimate (it’s $319), but I am waiting to hear if someone suggests something “better”. 😉

  4. Unquestionably would be a great bit of kit, but no way I could justify that sort of expense for a remote!

  5. I have a Harmony Smart Control without the touch screen that only cost $99 on sale. I’m very impressed with it’s reliability and functions. It works with the remote, iPhone, or iPad through your WiFi network, so the range is great. No need to charge the remote and the button cell batteries should last a long time. I control a Panasonic TV, PS3, Apple TV, and Yamaha sound bar. This is way better than the older Logitech Harmony remotes of years past and much cheaper without the touch screen and charging system.

  6. I liked it too when we did the review- Logitech Harmony Smart Remote Universal Remote System Review. But I do wish I had the one with the screen!!

  7. Yeah, I have to admit that I really want something with a screen. =P

  8. One thing I forgot to mention is that the remote control is RF so you don’t neeed to aim it at anything. The system has IF, Bluetooth,RF,and WiFi. Absolutly amazing and customizable too.

  9. I really think I want a screen, too. =P

  10. I didn’t want to pay three times the price to have a screen when you get one that is better on the iDevices. the charging system on my old Harmony remote was famously tempermental, so that made my decision easy.

  11. Be careful getting any Logitech Harmony remote. You are basically renting it for a year. Once the one year warranty is up, when something goes wrong, there is NO WAY to repair it. Logitech will basically tell you to go buy another $200-$300 toy.

    Don’t get me wrong, I loved it for the year or so I had it, but there is absolutely no support from Logitech. There is no way to repair these once the battery swells up and dies.

  12. Yeah, there is that. =/

  13. I would stay away from the ones with the charging cradle. I like my 650, two AA’s have been in there since I got it, over a year ago

  14. Rodney St John | February 21, 2014 at 8:28 pm |

    I love the two Logitech 650’s that I have. I’ve had them for over a year. Works great with all my smart and dumb tvs, stereo, xbox and AppleTv’s. I love them. AA batteries last a very very long time. I love the lights. It lights up as soon as you shake it.

  15. It sounds like there is solid support for the 600 series. Has anyone had any bad experiences with them? Maybe I need to reassess my need for a rechargeable remote with a touch screen. I can always buy rechargeable batteries … =)

  16. Rodney St John | February 22, 2014 at 7:26 am |

    The 650 is a fairly standard universal remote, meaning it turns things on and off and every button is custom programmable. (And that is pretty cool via the computer and USB cable) but that might be also a downside. You have to plug it in to reprogram any part of it. The other slow down I have is when I switch modes….from wanting to use the remote to Watch Tv, or Watch AppleTV, or Watch a DVD. It takes a couple of seconds 2-5 to switch. It is a feature on newer tvs because during that time it is changing the source/input for you and powering up the new device. But it isn’t always that smooth. Sometimes a device is already on or your older tv doesn’t respond to source/input signal from the remote. I love my 650. I’d recommend it to anyone. But on the other hand, I’m always interested if there is something bigger and better out there.

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