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Compared to the other universal remotes in our side-by-side comparison, the Universal Remote Control WR7 has one of the lowest price tags. When looking at the prices of the Harmony universal remote line, one may think that the low price tag equals a poor product. Yes, the URC WR7 is number eight in our lineup, but it is not a terrible remote and should still be considered for simple device controlling.

Like many of its counterparts, this media center remote has a motion sensor to save on batteries. Universal Remote Control calls this their "couch mode," and it's designed to automatically shut the remote off if any button has not been pressed within 30 seconds. When the power button is pressed "on," a light will blink three times indicating low battery.

Finding the code for your individual devices in order to program their macros to the universal remote buttons can be tedious and frustrating. The learning mode eases this frustration and helps any WR7 user easily program all of their favorite functions from their old remotes. You simply line the URC WR7 up with each individual device remote and the all-in-one remote will transfer the commands with a few button strokes. As your media center accumulates more and more devices, use the learning mode again and again.

The "punch through" or SimpleSound Volume Control option is another feature we love on this universal remote. This task allows the volume and channel control buttons to have the same functionality no matter what device the remote is working with at that time, and it will even control those devices such as TIVO that do not have their own built-in volume control. This will save you from ever having to use any other programmable remote.

Due to its low price tag, a color touch screen is totally out of the question, so activity buttons need to be programmed manually. These activity buttons are located at the very top of the remote, while the favorite channel buttons are located at the very bottom of the universal remote. We found the placement of these corresponding buttons to be awkward and wished the button layout had been designed better.

Customers have complained of its bulky size. While the specifications sheet for this universal remote claims it is ergonomic, we believe that, due to the overlarge and hulking shape, it would not fit snuggly in your hand.

Unlike our other reviewed universal TV remotes, the backlit function is not automatic for the WR7. When channel surfing or viewing a movie in dim conditions, you must touch the "light" button at the very bottom of the remote in order to have illuminated buttons. Touch the button again or wait 10 seconds for the lights to automatically shut off. In this case, the backlit is red.

The online PDF manual, found on the Universal Remote Control website for the WR7, is a wonderful go-to source of information when setting up your programmable remote. It's also a great resource if you ever have any question regarding functionality of buttons.

In our past universal remote products, we have seen online setup and an on-screen wizard setup. With the URC programmable remote, there are three ways to set up your remote:

  • Quick set up = This method is the fastest way to program your universal remote. Simply use one-digit codes for up to 10 components. The problem with this method, however, is if you have off-brand devices, those codes may not be recognized.
  • Three-digit code entry = Use three-digit codes for your devices. Again, the chance of finding all of your universal remote codes is slim.
  • Auto-search = This method is the last resort when programming your universal remote. The auto search scans through every single brand and code that is already programmed in the remote.

Although there are three differing set up options which all have step-by-step instructions in the online PDF manual, none make as much sense as the easy-to-use Logitech software system or even the on-remote wizard set up options of other programmable remotes.

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URC-WR7 Summary:
5.6/10

When compared to our number one remote, the Logitech Harmony One, or even our number four, the Philips Prestigo SRT9320, the Universal Remote Control WR7 is disappointing due to its lack of simple features and a color screen, as well as its awkward layout. We did, however, appreciate the help and support options, couch sensor and superb learning mode function.

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URC-WR7

Pros
The URC WR7 user manual is a great go-to reference.

Cons
The layout of the buttons is awkward and the design is bulky.

The Verdict
: 5.6/10

If searching for an inexpensive remote with simple functions, the WR7 is for you.