There's no doubt that Harmony remotes are so easy to program anyone can do it, and in doing so Harmony has changed programmable remotes forever, but their remotes are far from perfect. In fact, there are three specific problems with the 800 series that make them unusable for us.
- Wizards: The 880 is so easy to setup that anyone can do it, but it is too difficult to customize. Sure, it's possible, but the wizard approach that works so well for the initial setup, is nothing but irritating when trying to make simple changes.
- Flat buttons: The buttons flat, all shaped the same which makes them hard to find in the dark, and because they're right next to each other, it's way to easy to accidentally hit the guide button when you meant to hit skip, for example.
- Discrete codes: Now for the biggest one, the Harmony doesn't take advantage of discrete codes by default, but instead uses the almost helpless help feature. Discrete codes are available from manufactures for most gear and allow a remote to send a signal for ON instead of toggle on/off. This is really important for macros that turn on multiple devices because when they get out sync -- and it happens -- sending a discrete off to everything will ensure everything is off, rather than just switching from the current state. Commenters have pointed out that it's possible to configure them yourself.
As much as we recognize Harmony as the best programmable remotes in the industry, we can't wait for them to address these problems and make the single remote better than anything else out there.