The statement “pass the remote” becomes confusing when you have more than three different possibilities. A universal remote is supposed to make turning on any number of electronic devices easier. Yet, somehow a number of universal options makes powering certain items more complex.
If you’re in the market for a universal remote, rest assured that you can find a user-friendly one. That said, you’ll pay around $250+ for a remote that can get any job done. Please note that all prices were approximate at the time of this writing.
Logitech Harmony 900 -- $300+
Across the board, the Logitech Harmony has gained rave reviews. This remote is simple, sleek, and effective. Unlike other remotes in its class, the Harmony 900 includes RF abilities, which means that you can switch any component on or off from another room – in short, this remote works through any wall. The Harmony includes a high resolution LCD screen that is quite nice to look at. This remote also comes with lithium ion rechargeable battery, and a convenient dock that will recharge your remote quickly.
The Harmony remote can go for approximately one week without needing a charge, which is more than most other remotes in its class. Perhaps the best thing about the Logitech Harmony is that this remote is a cinch to configure. Logitech provides consumers with some very basic software that includes a handy wizard feature. Simply run through the wizard, and your Logitech Harmony will be up and running in no time. The one drawback to the Logitech Harmony is that you can’t control a PS3 with this remote. You can, however, buy a dongle that will allow for PS3 compatibility.
URC Digital R50 -- $80+
Once you comb past all the Logitech remotes on the market, you’ll come across the URC Digital R50. This remote is definitely more affordable than most Logitech remotes (and others) that you’ll find. The URC R50 comes with a neat and compact color screen that gets the job done. While this screen isn’t as nice as some LCD screens that can be found on other remotes, it does serve its purpose nicely. The big difference between this mid-level universal remote and more expensive remotes is the setup process.
In order to setup the URC Digital R50, all you have to do is go through a set of steps that are displayed on the remote’s screen. You don’t have to download any software or use your PC at all in order to make this remote work. A simple wizard will ask you to answer a few straightforward questions, and you’ll be on your way. The URC Digital R50 can handle up to 18 different devices, which should be more than enough for the average consumer. For the price, the URC Digital R50 universal remote is a wise purchase.
Logitech Harmony 300 -- $30
The first thing that you’ll notice about the Logitech Harmony 300 is the price tag. For around $30, you can purchase a universal remote that works well. The second that that you will notice is that this remote lacks a LCD screen or screen of any kind. Logitech has swapped the LCD screen for a series of buttons that work relatively well. This universal remote is only capable of controlling four separate devices, which may not be enough for some consumers. As with most other Logitech remotes, you’ll find that configuring any device is simple with Logitech’s custom software. For $30+, the Logitech Harmony 300 is a good basic universal remote that will cut down on remote clutter, but won’t offer you all the bells and whistles of Logitech’s higher priced options.