A good universal remote can completely change your living room experience. Instead of juggling a bunch of different remotes for your TV, cable box, game console, streaming box, or whatever else, a good universal remote can clean up your end table and let you go from watching nothing to watching something with a single press of a button. A good remote controls anything you might have today and anything you might buy in the future. It’s easy to program and can turn on multiple devices in the right sequence.
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It can control devices that have traditional IR systems, but also can control newer ones that rely on Bluetooth. It’s also accessible and easy to learn, so anyone in your household can just pick up the remote and watch something.
There have been a lot of universal remotes come and go over the years, but lately, Logitech’s Harmony line has come to dominate the market. That means that picking the best universal remote is often a matter of picking the best Harmony remote available right now. And there’s one model that stands above the rest. The best universal remote for most people (and the best Harmony remote) is the Logitech Harmony Elite. It’s the most expensive remote in Harmony’s lineup, but it can control virtually anything you’d want a remote for, from entertainment devices to smart home gadgets.
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The Elite works with a base station that sits in your entertainment console and allows you to use the remote from anywhere in the house — no line of sight necessary. It can control multiple IR devices as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi systems, such as Amazon’s Fire TV or Sonos speakers. The Elite can also control a variety of smart home devices, so it can turn your smart lights on and off or adjust the temperature on a Nest. It’s more like a whole home command center than a simple TV remote. The remote itself is a combination of a touchscreen and backlit tactile buttons, so you can use it without looking in the dark. The design is comfortable to hold and puts the most important buttons in easy reach of your thumb.
Logitech has made it easy to program automated functions on the Elite, so a single button press can turn on your TV, turn on your cable box, and set the TV to the correct input. Or you can program a setting that will make the lights dim, the TV turn on, and the Netflix app to start automatically. The Harmony smartphone app, which is used to set up and program the Elite, can also be used as a remote itself, which is convenient. I wouldn’t rely solely on my phone as a remote, but it can come in handy when the remote is out of reach.
Of course, the Elite isn’t for everyone: it’s rather expensive and might be more remote than you need. If that’s the case, then our runner-up pick is for you. The Runner-Up. Unsurprisingly, our runner up is another Harmony: the 650. The 650 is a straight-forward universal remote: it can control up to eight devices, has an ergonomic, backlit keypad, and an LCD screen for onboard help and more advanced functions.
It’s also a fraction of the cost of a Harmony Elite. The 650 can only be programmed via a Mac or PC app, which is a bit clunky, and it has no aspirations of leaving the living room; you can’t use it to control smart home appliances at all. And since it only works over IR, it can’t control Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices, such as Amazon’s Fire TV or a PlayStation 4.
But for a straightforward, easy to use universal remote that anyone can pick up and use and won’t break your wallet, it’s hard to beat the Harmony 650. James Bareham / The Verge The Others.
This entry was posted in and tagged on by (updated 886 days ago) As I was tearing my 1997 Sub-Zero 601F freezer apart recently to troubleshoot a defrost issue (expect a separate blog post on that soon), I noted that it used four traditional 40W incandescent appliance bulbs as its light source. The 601R refrigerator installed next to it used the same. As you might recall from my previous post on, LEDs can output more light (measured in “lumens”) with far less energy consumption, and last decades longer than their incandescent counterparts. Of course, light bulbs in fridges and freezers are only illuminated when the door is open, so they generally last a pretty long time anyway and don’t consume that much extra electricity.
You may, however, have noticed that many modern refrigerators and freezers now use LED lights and the majority of those use bulbs with an extremely “cold” color temperature (often around 4000K-5000K). I prefer “warm” temps (between 2700K and 3000K) for residential lighting, but I actually like a “cold” colored light in a fridge and freezer because “cold” is what those appliances are all about! The existing bulbs in my Sub-Zero appliances were these traditional 2700K 40W incandescent bulbs. Incandescent 40W appliance bulbs in a Sub-Zero freezer I decided that as long as I was in there, I’d try swapping them out for some “colder” LED bulbs and see how they looked.
I wanted increased brightness (lumens), but many of the extremely bright LED bulbs are wider in circumference than traditional appliance bulbs, so I chose the bright, cold-colored, relatively thin option of (yes, that’s how they spell it). They come in a variety of color temps from “” (2850K, or what I’d call “warm”) to “” (5000K, or what I’d call “cool”) and brightness ranging from (roughly equivalent to a 40W incandescent) all the way to (comparable to a 100W incandescent).
I opted for the option, which puts out 760 lumens of light at a color temp of 5000K while only consuming 10W of actual electricity. Whenever LED bulbs display wattages such as 40W, 60W, or 100W, that’s only because most of us have been conditioned to know roughly what those wattages mean in terms of brightness with traditional incandescent bulbs. The packages will generally say things like “60W replacement,” while a closer examination actually reveals the true (and always lower) wattage. I bought — exactly the number of bulbs I’d need to replace all the bulbs in both fridge and freezer. Traditional 40W “warm” appliance bulbs on the left, 10W LED “cool” bulbs on the right The difference appears dramatic in these photos but it’s even more dramatic in person. Don’t just look at the bulbs, but also the back wall of the freezer where the light reflects. The LED bulbs are brighter, use 75% less energy, create a more modern look with their “cooler” color temperature, and will likely out-last the freezer!
Another minor benefit is that incandescent bulbs create more heat than LED bulbs, and even though they’re only on for a few moments at a time, the bulb’s heat still gets dissipated inside the fridge or freezer, and the appliance will run a tiny bit longer to counteract that small amount of heat as the bulbs cool off. It’s certainly not major, but over the lifetime of the appliance, it will save a few dollars here and there. After re-assembling the freezer, installing the other two LED Bright Stiks, and re-installing the glass light diffuser that shields the bulbs, the final effect is a “cleaner,” “cooler,” and updated look that actually provides far more light for seeing things inside the freezer. Sub-Zero freezer with LED bulbs installed I immediately replaced the four incandescent bulbs inside the refrigerator, so that both appliances match.
After doing so, I was glad I only went with the 760 lumens option, and not the or options which I imagine would be like staring directly into the Death Star’s beam while standing on the surface of Alderaan. So if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to update the look of your fridge and/or freezer, while also making it slightly cheaper to operate and far easier to see the stuff inside, consider swapping out your existing incandescent appliance bulbs with some. However, before you go around replacing all the bulbs in other appliances throughout your house, keep in mind that oven bulbs are often specifically designed for high-temperature use, and usually have a special coating to prevent glass shards from falling into your food if the bulb shatters or cracks, so do your research first. As always, I welcome your questions, comments, and feedback below!