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In this report

Universal Remotes: Ratings of Sources

Total of 25 Sources
Updated Dec. 5, 2011
Best Universal Remotes
by John P. Falcone
Our AssessmentJohn Falcone at CNET recommends seven universal remotes as the best on the market. Each remote receives a brief blurb, which links to a lengthier review that includes CNET's testing details. Reviews are some of the best available for universal remotes --- detailed, balanced and somewhat comparative. Of the seven, the Logitech Harmony 900 leaves the best impression. It wins an Editors' Choice award and an "outstanding" rating, and CNET editors say it's the best universal remote they've tested. The Logitech Harmony One, an older remote, received an Editors' Choice in 2008. The Logitech Harmony 650 rates lower, but it is called one of the best universal remotes for under $100.
2. PCMag.com
As of Dec. 2011
Universal Remotes
by Editors of PCMag.com
Our AssessmentPCMag.com reviews fewer universal remotes than CNET, and their coverage over the last year is pretty slim. Only a couple of remotes have been reviewed recently, but among older reviews, the still-available Logitech Harmony 700 earns an Editors' Choice award. Among recent reviews, PCMag.com also tests the Logitech Harmony Link and the Gear4 UnityRemote, which can turn your smartphone or iOS device into a universal remote.
3. Laptop Magazine
As of Dec. 2011
Accessory Reviews
by Editors of Laptop Magazine
Our AssessmentThe editors of Laptop Magazine normally don't cover many universal remotes, but they do review three mobile accessories that turn smartphones and iOS devices into universal remotes -- the Logitech Harmony Link, the Peel Universal Remote, and the Griffin Beacon. The reviews aren't as long as the critiques of full-fledged laptops, smartphones and tablets, but they are still based on hands-on testing and offer numerical ratings and a closing verdict for each device. Of the three, the Logitech Harmony Link garners the highest score -- and an Editors' Choice award.
4. Gizmodo.com
As of Dec. 2011
by Editors of Gizmodo.com
Our AssessmentGizmodo.com tests a number of universal remotes, especially hardware/app combos that turn smartphones into universal remotes, but while the write-ups do a good job of delivering the basic pros, cons and overall impression of devices, they are exceedingly short. The Logitech Harmony 900, Griffin Beacon and Peel Universal Remote all receive good reviews.
5. Amazon.com
As of Dec. 2011
Universal Remotes
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentSome universal remotes at Amazon.com get hundreds of individual reviews, making this site the best source to check for user opinions. The Logitech Harmony One is the clear leader of the pack with solid feedback (4.2 out of 5 stars) and more than 2,000 user reviews. The Logitech Harmony 650, Logitech Harmony 700, Logitech Harmony 1100, URC Digital R50 and URC MX-500 score similarly, but with far less -- though still considerable -- feedback. Among less-expensive remote controls, the URC WR7 looks to be a hit. Reviews of devices that turn smartphones and tablets into universal remotes are only starting to roll in, but the Logitech Harmony Link already isn't a favorite with users, sporting just a 2.6 (out of 5) rating with more than 50 critiques under its belt.
6. TrustedReviews.com
As of Dec. 2011
Latest Reviews
by Editors of TrustedReviews.com
Our AssessmentBritain's TrustedReviews.com has exceptionally detailed reviews, but they cover far fewer universal remotes than other sources. Using a 10-point rating scale, it gives the Logitech Harmony 200 an 8 and the Logitech 650 a 7. Finding the reviews of universal remotes can be difficult, as the site places some in the laptop peripheral category, and others in the gadgets category.
7. HomeTheaterReview.com
As of Dec. 2011
Remotes & System Control Reviews
by Editors of HomeTheaterReview.com
Our AssessmentThe reviews of universal remote controls at HomeTheaterReview.com are richly detailed and very well balanced for the most part. However, while a 5-star rating system and lists of highlights and lowlights for each universal remote control make browsing the reviews a breeze, many discontinued remote controls remain listed.
8. RemoteCentral.com
As of Dec. 2011
Latest Remote Control Reviews
by Daniel Tonks
Our AssessmentDaniel Tonks writes detailed reviews of universal remotes, with some individual reviews exceeding 10 pages. The reviews are sometimes comparative, and Tonks is quick to point out where each remote falls short. However, the site hasn't done the best job keeping up with current universal remote controls -- for example, no current Logitech Harmony remotes are covered -- and lacks a rating system so it's hard to tell which remotes are best overall. Among still-current models, the Acoustic Research Xsight Touch gets a mixed reception, while the URC Digital R50 earns a very positive review overall.
9. Audio/Video Revolution
As of Dec. 2011
Home Theater Remotes & System Control
by Editors of Audio Video Revolution
Our AssessmentLike many other websites, Audio Video Revolution simply doesn't cover many universal remotes these days -- but the ones it does cover, it covers well, complete with hands-on testing and multiple pages of product discussion. Todd Daugherty writes one of the most detailed reviews we have seen of the Logitech Harmony 1100. He walks readers through the setup process and discusses usability and major features. Mike Flacy, meanwhile, pens a solid (and overall very positive) review of the Logitech Harmony 700.
10. I4U.com
As of Dec. 2011
Home Entertainment Reviews
by Shane McGlaun
Our Assessment14U News has reasonably detailed reviews of universal remotes, complete with a 10-point rating system and analysis based on hands-on testing. The Logitech Harmony remotes receive an Editors' Choice award. However, while hands-on testing is conducted, there is very little variation in ratings, brief discussion of the individual products, and the site rarely reviews universal remotes -- and finding what is available is a challenge since the remotes are lumped in with other home entertainment gear.
11. Sound & Vision Magazine
As of Dec. 2011
by Editors of Sound & Vision
Our AssessmentThere are no head-to-head tests at Sound & Vision, but several detailed, single-product reviews can be found on the magazine's website. Highlights include detailed analysis of the Universal Remote Control URC MX-450 and the Acoustic Research XSight Touch remote controls, as well as a round-up of apps that turn your iOS device into a universal remote. On the downside, finding content can be a challenge as reviews are grouped with other gear that the site reviews.
12. Good Housekeeping
Not Dated
Best Universal Remote Controls
by Editors of Good Housekeeping
Our AssessmentGood Housekeeping tests 12 universal remotes. Like most Good Housekeeping tests, editors don't reveal testing scores or details, and this review isn't as valuable as it could be. Only the top three remotes are named, one of which is discontinued. The Logitech Harmony One is the test winner, but it receives only a brief, three-sentence analysis. This source would get a higher rating if it included more commentary and testing results.
13. CrunchGear.com
As of Dec. 2011
by Editors of CrunchGear.com
Our AssessmentCrunchGear.com hasn't reviewed many remote controls of late, and is yet another site that makes finding what reviews it does have a challenge, but there are older reports on a few still-current Logitech remotes, the Harmony 900 and Harmony 700, that are worth a read. Its conclusions on the Logitech Harmony 900 differ from many other professional reviews we've seen. Matt Burns gives the Logitech Harmony 700 universal remote a limited recommendation -- he says he loves the remote overall, but thinks the Logitech Harmony One is a better deal. Harmony remotes as a class earn an "Our Favorite Things" designation in the site's 2010 gift guide.
14. Wired
As of Dec. 2011
Home Audio and Video
by Editors of Wired
Our AssessmentWired doesn't have a ton of coverage of universal remote controls, and what's there isn't particularly detailed. On the other hand, the editors have no problems pointing out pitfalls and the write-ups are usually fun to read. For example, Chuck Cage's opinion of the Logitech Harmony 900 is nicely summed up in the headline "Survive the Setup, and you're golden."
15. About.com
Sept. 20, 2009
Logitech Harmony 700 Universal Remote PlayStation 3 (PS3) Review
by Roger Altizer
Our AssessmentRoger Altizer, About.com's guide to PlayStation games, doesn't review many universal remotes, but he posts a detailed single-product review of the Logitech Harmony 700. Given his focus, the review relates heavily to how the Logitech Harmony 700 works with the PS3. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
16. TechRadar.com
As of Dec. 2011
TV Stands and Remotes
by Editors of TechRadar.com
Our AssessmentBritain's TechRadar.com has brief reviews of technology products, but it has useful variation in ratings. While based on testing, editors here offer fewer details than review sources ranked higher. In addition, TechRadar.com has only reviewed a few universal remote controls. The Logitech Harmony 1100 enjoys a solid rating; the British version of the Xsight Touch does not. The Griffin Beacon Bluetooth/app combo for iOS devices garners a 3 (out of 5) score.
17. Expert Reviews (U.K.)
Aug. 21, 2011
Logitech Harmony 200 universal remote control review
by Tom Morgan
Our AssessmentThe Logitech Harmony 200 is the only current universal remote covered by ExpertReviews.co.uk, but unfortunately, this stand-alone review is brief and provides little in the way of critical analysis. Basically, reviewer Tom Morgan says it works well, is easy to set up, and shouldn't put too much strain on your wallet. He gives the remote a 5-star rating and a "Best Buy" award.
18. CNNMoney.com
June 23, 2011
Turn your smartphone into a universal remote
by Rik Fairlie
Our AssessmentThis exceedingly brief article compares the Logitech Harmony 650 to the Griffin Beacon. One- to two-sentence descriptions of each device's setup, highlights and lowlights are provided, but they're too short to provide much detail, although the write-ups get the basic points across. Rik Fairlie prefers using the Griffin Beacon to turn his smartphone into a universal remote than relying on the stand-alone Logitech Harmony 650.
19. PC World
Sept. 21, 2009
Digital Gear: Battle the Clutter of Remotes
by Agam Shah
Our AssessmentAgam Shah takes a look at several universal remotes. Shah tests each remote and discusses ease of use and reliability, as well as any notable drawbacks. Still, the reviews are brief, and one of the units he tests is an audio-video receiver that aims "to make remote controls irrelevant," and another is not available in the U.S. This older article is most valuable for its notes on the usability of the then-new Logitech Harmony 900.
20. Macworld
July 20, 2010
iPhone IR Remotes Compared
by Christopher Breen
Our AssessmentMacworld looks at five hardware/app combinations that transform an Apple iPhone or iPod touch into a remote control. All have flaws that prevent them from being a completely satisfactory solution compared to a good dedicated universal remote control
21. Home Theater Magazine
As of Dec. 2011
Accessory Reviews - The HT iPad App Guide
by Editors of Home Theater Magazine
Our AssessmentIt's been a while since Home Theater Magazine last looked at a universal remote control, but you can find reports on several still available models, such as the Logitech Harmony One here. Reports are detailed and testing based. A 2011 roundup provides insight into iPad apps that help to turn your Apple tablet into a universal remote.
Remote Controls
by Editors of Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
Our AssessmentSecrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity offers extensive information about home theater and high-end audio. It's worth checking for reviews, but editors haven't reported on a universal remote since September 2008.
23. AVSForum.com
As of Dec. 2011
Remote Control Area
Our AssessmentAVSForum, a busy discussion site for fans of all things related to home theater, includes a forum where owners and potential owners of universal remote controls can discuss the various options. Most popular remote controls earn their own "official" thread, and some of those can span hundreds of pages and thousands of posts. You'll find questions, answers and informal reviews, though things can get sidetracked every now and again.
24. Audioholics.com
As of Dec. 2011
Remote Controls
by Editors of Audioholics.com
Our AssessmentAudioholics.com has solid single-product reviews of home audio equipment and accessories, but its coverage of universal remotes is pretty slim. Over the past year, the major universal remote review has been of the Peel Universal Remote hardware/app combo for iOS devices, which leaves reviewer Clint DeBoer impressed enough that he gives it a 4.5 (out of 5) performance rating and a 5 (out of 5) value rating.
25. Buzzillions.com
As of Dec. 2011
Remote Control Reviews
by Contributors to Buzzillions.com
Our AssessmentSome universal remotes attract hundreds of individual owner-written reviews at Buzzillions.com, which compiles reviews from online retailers. Buzzillions.com includes reviews from BestBuy.com, which is another good source for remote reviews. The only downside to Buzzillions.com is that most of the universal remotes that have had time to attract the most reviews are also older models that may be outdated or discontinued.
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