Don't see as many threads on this remote as the other harmonies, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on my first day with the Harmony 890.
I was leaning towards buying one of the cheaper Harmony remotes (particularly the 670) and then buying a cheap RS IR extender, but then I saw the notable discounts on the 880 and 890 Amazon had. I was all but ready to buy the 880 + IR extender since I only currently have one component (my receiver) out of view, but ultimately decided to go 890 for native RF support since in the future I may have more and more components out of normal remote view. Plus the nearly half price from Amazon made the decision easier.
Anyway, it arrived yesterday. I had heard repeatedly in the forum that the web site was a much more preferable way of configuring/updating the remote, but I didn't really find that to be the case. One of the first things I wanted was to rename one of my activities, but I couldn't figure out how to do it on the web site. Doing it with the regular software was trivially easy. I also didn't like the look and feel of the website. It seemed less polished than the normal software. Anyway, I have found configuring the devices and actvities to be pretty intuitive. I was tickled that when adding the devices, three of the example model #'s after entering the manufacturer were my exact model!
One thing that I am irritated with is the need to plug in the extender for an update any time you update anything on the remote. This is tedious since often I am not changing anything that should involve the extender. It's made worse by the fact that the power supply for the extender can not be removed from it, so you have to unplug it every time you do an update.
I found setting up activities to be quite easy over all. For the most part, the remote sets up the buttons by default very well. The only things I had to change for watching cable was mapping the replay button (rewind 7 seconds) and the fact that the MENU button was mapped to MENU for my SA 8300HD, which is just a duplicate of the GUIDE button instead of the correct function (SETTINGS).
One gripe I have is with the remote itself. It just feels very cheaply made. Several buttons seem to be very "loose" and can be moved around in their positions. I also would have liked a more tactile feel to the buttons rather than the simple click. The buttons are very close to each other with little space seperating them, making it a bit harder to navigate the remote by "feel". It feels very fragile as a whole. I am terrified of dropping it. I am not in love with the layout of the buttons. The volume and channel up/down buttons are very skinny and I would really like them in a more central location rather than on the edges on the remote. I also don't like the numeric keypad being at the absolute bottom of the remote as it makes them a bit harder to access. A little bit of space between the bottom of the remote and the numeric pad (ala the SA 8300HD's remote) would have been welcome. A lot of these issues will lessen once I learn the layout better, but the physical properties of the remote are a bit of a disappointment.
As far as how well the remote works, I love it. The RF functions work perfectly with my receiver which is off to the side. Plus, its IR range is much, much better than that of my regular remotes. We have an ottoman which really blocked a lot of my components that sit low on my tv stand from receiving signals, but with the harmony it has proven to be no problem. Also, it does a great job of controlling them from my dining table without having to point to a precise location. I am very impressed and pleasantly surprised by how well it sends the IR signals. After a few failed first attempts at performing activities, the remote assistant seemed to figure out the issues itself and now all my activities are now working perfectly (with further testing needed). It really has allowed me to put all my other remotes in a drawer and control everything at one time with one remote, which of course is the goal.
I really don't think this is very user friendly for the non-tech savvy. There is almost no documentation included with the remote. I haven't seen an electronic user guide yet either, though I am sure there is one. If my parents had bought this, I know they wouldn't have figured it out.
So far, my experience is largely positive. It seems to perform all the functions I bought it for. I know there are reliability problems reported, so I will be watching out for them.
For those wondering my devices are:
Panasonic TH-50PX60U plasma
Pioneer 1015-TX receiver
Sony SLV-N750 VCR
Samsung 850 DVD player
Scientific Atlanta 8300HD cable box
And, while not being controlled by the harmony, I have a Nintendo Wii and PS2 connected and added activities for switching to playing them.
I'll be connecting one or more CD players to the receiver soon as well.
Anyway, I hope this is helpful for anyone considering this remote!