Harmony Advanced Universal Remote for Xbox 360


posted 3/7/2006 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: 360

The devices button lists all the devices that you have programmed the remote for. For the few times you don’t use the activities button, this is one way to get to a specific component and control the functions of that component. I find myself using this feature only when one of the devices didn’t receive the IR signal so a step was missed. This usually happens when my remote is low on battery power so I know that if I start using the devices button a lot, then it’s time to change the batteries.

If you’re having trouble with a certain component’s state, the help button next to the devices button can guide non-tech savvy folks through troubleshooting the problem. When pressed, the remote displays some basic questions to try and fix the issue. This can really help those that are intimidated by complex remotes. The easy to follow instructions will help you easily troubleshoot any problems you have.

A nice LCD display with a green backlight displays all the information in nice clear text. Here is where you will see the list of activities displayed, help questions, and more control options. Two buttons on either side of the LCD display correspond with the function listed on the LCD. If there are more functions you need but don’t have the buttons on the rest of the remote to accommodate it, you can set them up here. This feature really makes the remote versatile as you can put any remote command from any device and map them to one of the four LCD buttons. If you want more than four commands, you can setup a few more pages of commands which can be accessed with the left and right arrows underneath.

 Underneath the navigation buttons are the basic VCR buttons. Here you can control your DVD player or your DVR. The buttons are nicely separated with a very nice feel to them. I do like the positioning of the buttons with the play and stop button on either side of the chapter skip button. Those are the ones I do use the most. The pause button is also easily accessible on the right side underneath the play button.

The four Xbox 360 buttons are positioned X, Y, A, and B along one row. These buttons will work to navigate around the Xbox 360 blades but can’t be used in games. I tried using the remote to play Bejeweled 2 but the buttons didn’t register in the game. That’s a little disappointing but not really a deal breaker.

In the middle of the remote there is the nice navigational pad. The pad features four directions and a nice feeling OK button in the middle. The OK button is slightly raised and rounded given it a more distinct feel. You will use the navigation pad to move around the blades and through the menus when using the Xbox 360 as a Media Center Extender. Compared to the Harmony 688, I do like the style and feel of the pad here. It’s a little more comfortable for me when navigating with the thumb here. When glowing, it looks very similar to the ring of light that’s on the console and controllers. 

On either side of the navigational pad are the channel and volume controls. These four buttons allow you to change the channels and adjust the volume on the device it is set for. They are long and easily reachable with your thumb. 

In dark times, you’ll want the remote to be illuminated and that’s where the glow button comes in. Pressing the button turns on the green backlight and the whole remote shines through. The cool thing about how the buttons glows is that unlike the Harmony 688, the buttons mostly light up at the command label and on the outer edge of most buttons. You can easily see what button does what in the dark this way.

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