After years of using my favorite universal remote, the MX-500, I decided it was time to move up to something better. The biggest problem with my old remote was that it wasn't "stateful". By that I mean that it didn't remember which devices were on or off. This made it difficult to program macros to switch between devices, or even turn everything in my AV system off with a single click.
The Harmony 890 does a great job of solving this problem. Once you program the remote, it asks you to turn off every device in your system. After that, it always knows what it has turned on or off. This is the single best feature of the remote. At last a single "Watch Tivo" button will turn all the appropriate components on or off regardless of what I as doing before. The other feature that I really like about this remote is the tilt glow sensor. You can set the remote to turn on the backlighting whenever you grab it. That's a lot more convenient than trying to find the "glow" button in a darkened room. The online programming is pretty nice since you can save an hour of pointing each of your old remotes at the Harmony to program it. It wasn't the most important feature for me, but I can see how it might be for people that are intimidated or annoyed by having to program a universal remote. The RF transmitter is nice for custom home theater setups or multi-room use, but that didn't apply to me so I can't comment on that feature.
As much as a I wanted to love this remote, I just couldn't get past the terrible usability. The directional pad and "OK" button are in the perfect position on this remote. Everything starts to go downhill from there. The volume and channel buttons are in a decent position, but a little on the small side. The mute button is too much of a stretch for one-handed operation. This brings me to the menu/guide/play/pause/ff/rew cluster. These buttons are in a terrible position with the worst layout. In order to use these buttons, you have to reposition the remote in your hand to hold the very bottom of it. Even then, it doesn't feel very natural. And if you want to go back to the directional pad, you have to readjust the way you hold the remote. If you are a regular Tivo user, you will instantly hate the Harmony 890 just because of this. It's like going from touch-typing to "hunt and peck".
Logitech spent too much time making this remote look sleek and not enough time making it usable. Some people might be willing to put up with this annoyance for the other conveniences of the remote. Just ask youself this: When you are paying this much money for a remote control, should you really have to put up with anything?