Universal Remote Review

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Why Universal Remotes?

Televisions, DVD, CD and Blu-ray players, Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, projectors, the list of electronic equipment permeating every free square inch of our family rooms is a lengthy one. Electronic equipment has taken over our lives and our family rooms, burying us with their individual remotes. It is time to climb out of the remote jungle and condense all our control devices into one powerful remote.

A universal remote is just as its name implies, universal. Your DVD player, the lights in your house, your home theater and various gaming consoles can all be programmed to work from one all-mighty remote.

From the techiest of techies to your everyday movie connoisseur, universal remotes are for everyone, and our side-by-side comparison illustrates the top 10 universal remote controls on the market. Some of the remotes can control up to 20 items, while some can only control four or five. There are the glossy-finished remotes with LCD color touch screens and the price tag to fit their hefty list of features, and then there are the average remotes with average buttons and average features. No matter the technical level, you can find a universal remote that is best for you and your entire family.

Universal Remotes: What to Look For

Finding that programmable media center remote that will control your entertainment lives can be quite difficult. Every brand and company has a unique set of features and specifications. Each has their own user manual and other technical support. Here at TopTenREVIEWS, we want your journey to universal remote ownership to be an easy one, so we have created a side-by-side comparison for each product.

We graded each product on the following criteria:

Features
With any product on the market today, the features list describes the most exciting and sought after functions. And, we must admit, features excite us, too. Who wouldn't be giddy over the option to program all of your favorite channels or have specific "his" and "her" channel buttons? When it comes right down to it, the features are what sell. There are a few features that are just fun to have, but some features – like programmable custom buttons, a motion sensor and battery status indicator – are must-haves for any universal remote. When looking at our side-by-side comparison, notice the control features and the individual devices supported by each universal TV one remote.

Design
Universal remotes are not designed to be beautiful, but practical. The overall body of the remote, the length, the width and weight as well as power management should be not be ignored when purchasing. One must remember that a remote usually sits in the palm of the user's hand as they flip through channels. You do not want a universal remote that is too heavy or too long. Many of the products we researched, like the Logitech Harmony 700 and Logitech Harmony 650, were specifically designed to have an ergonomic feel. How the remote is powered and recharged is very important as well. A majority of the remotes in our side-by-side comparison use AA batteries. Our number one product, Logitech Harmony One, however, comes with a power cradle.

Help & Support
When your universal remote is finally delivered to your door or purchased from a store, the prospect of opening it and using it immediately is exciting. Something to remember, however: When a remote controls all of your electronic equipment, all of different brands and years, there will be a bit of setup time required. Some of the universal remotes we researched came with a hefty user manual and options for online technical support, while others came with but one sheet of instructions. When looking for a universal remote, it is extremely important to not just be entranced by its ability to have customized buttons and a color LCD screen, you also have to remember that, somewhere in the setup process, you will need help.

Ease of Use
The last, very last thing you want to do is spend a chunk of money on a universal remote that you cannot use. When reading our reviews for each product, keep in mind how each of these universal remote controls function. How are the devices programmed? Do you have to have internet connectivity to retrieve device codes or is there on-screen setup? Can your new remote learn your favorite functions from your old remote control? These things must be considered.

For more information, read our additional articles on universal remotes.

At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™

 
 
Electronics » Other Electronics » Universal Remote Review
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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Logitech Harmony One Logitech Harmony 700 Logitech Harmony 650 URC Digital R50 Philips Prestigo SRU8010 Logitech Harmony 300 URC-WR7 URC R6 URC RF20
Logitech Harmony One Logitech Harmony 700 Logitech Harmony 650 URC Digital R50 Philips Prestigo SRU8010 Logitech Harmony 300 URC-WR7 URC R6 URC RF20
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Lowest Price
Visit Logitech Harmony One
$159.99
Visit Logitech Harmony 700
$89.99
Visit Logitech Harmony 650
$59.97
Visit URC Digital R50
$77.95
Visit Philips Prestigo SRU8010
$50.00
Visit Logitech Harmony 300
$25.95
Visit URC-WR7
$24.99
Visit URC R6
$20.59
Visit URC RF20
$44.82
Ratings
10.00
8.58
7.95
6.57
6.28
6.13
5.60
3.88
3.25
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
8.75
7.50
10.00
8.75
8.13
7.50
8.13
8.13
7.50
6.88
2.50
7.50
7.50
5.63
5.63
3.75
6.25
3.75
8.75
8.75
5.63
5.00
6.25
6.25
3.75
2.50
6.25
5.00
3.75
2.50
3.75
2.50
 
Control Features
Number of devices supported 15 6 5 18 10 4 7 6 10
Channel icons
    
Layout optimized for DVD/TiVo
 
 
Connectivity Technology Infrared Infrared Infrared Infrared Infrared Infrared Infrared Infrared RF
Input device USB USB USB    USB    
One-touch activity buttons
 
Motion sensor
     
Battery status indicator
  
  
Photo slideshow
        
Downloadable device codes
  
   
Learning mode
 
 
Programmable custom buttons
Max operating distance 65 ft. N/A N/A 49 ft. 23 ft. N/A 30-50 ft. 50 ft. None, RF
Child restriction     
   
Popular Supported Devices
TV
Amplifier
 
DVD player
DVR/VCR
Blu-ray
 
Satellite or Cable Box
Home control
 
Sound system
Projector
  
Design
Ergonomic
     
Touch screen
       
Color display
   
Width 5.2 inches 5.8 inches 5.8 inches 2.3 inches 6.3 inches 5.6 inches 2.125 inches 6.25 inches 2.2 inches
Height 3.9 inches 2.2 inches 1.6 inches 1.1 inches 1.8 inches 2 inches 1.125 inches 2.125 inches 1 inches
Length 10 inches 9.4 inches 10.8 inches 8.9 inches 12.6 inches 10.7 inches 8.75 inches 12.625 inches 8.5 inches
Weight 1.8 pound 1 pound 15.2 ounces 8.8 ounces 12.7 ounces 12.8 ounces 6.4 ounces 12 ounces 8 ounces
Type of battery Lithium-ion 2 NiMh rechargeable 2 AA 4 AA 3 AA 2 AA 2 AA 2 AA  
Power cradle
        
Sculpted buttons
      
Backlit controls
 
Help, Support & Setup
Guided online setup
  
   
Infrared learning
  
   
Help-button assistance
      
Interactive help
  
User's guide     
Remote wizard    
   
Manufacturer
Warranty 1 year 2 years 1 year 1 year 90 days 1 year, limited 1 year 1 year 1 year
Included Accessories AC power adapter Wall charger, Eneloop batteries 2 AA 4 AA batteries   2 AA batteries 2 AA batteries 2 AA batteries  
Included cable
  
   
Supported Configurations
Windows 7
  
   
Windows XP
  
   
Windows Vista
  
   
Mac OS