If you’re tired of remote control roulette and want to finally get ONE remote that can really do it all, you simply must check out the new $249 Harmony One from Logitech. I did and it is nothing short of spectacular.I am among those who have followed Harmony since its inception. I have watched as the company has matured and created ever better products, ultimately being purchased by Logitech. This marriage has provided much-needed capital to spur further development. With this latest product, the company has, once again, introduced a clearly category-leading device of which they can be justifiably proud.
The Harmony One is simple in operation, thoughtful in design and layout and a joy to behold and to use. No, it is not perfect, and that is part of what sets the product and the company head and shoulders apart from and above the competition. I’ll get to that shortly.
Get the remote, unbox it and go online to establish a FREE account with Harmony. Tell them the make and models of all your equipment you want the Harmony One to control. Give them some information about how you will use the devices. For example, what TV input do you use when watching a DVD or when watching TV through your TiVo or other DVR. Let them know the settings for each criteria of use with you’re AV receiver. How is it set for watching a DVD, for listening to music? Is your TV on or off when listening to music, and so on? All of this information leads them to be able to do a “data dump” back through a connected (supplied) USB cable from their end to your remote in order to completely program your Harmony One just like that. Boom. Done.
Now, charge it up in its very own charging cradle.
Black and unlit while sitting idle, there is a motion sensor that tells it to turn on all the lights when the remote is moved. In addition to the display’s lighting, all keys are also backlit. Left motionless for a few seconds, the backlighting turns off. Pick it up and touch the very sharp and bright 2.2-inch color touch screen to “tell” Harmony One what it is you want to do – watch TV (or watch through your DVR or TiVo), listen to music, etc. Once the screen is accessed, Harmony One sends out the proper remote control codes and in the proper sequence to do what is needed. All the switching is done for the user. Even with a complicated home theater system, Harmony One can make it simple to use, even “grandma-proof” so anyone and everyone can use the system.
For example, one touch can turn on the TV, set the input to HDMI input one that is connected to your TiVo or satellite receiver, turn on your AV receiver and set its audio input to the TiVo as a source. Then, watch the magic as it all happens from that one touch of the screen. Use the channel up and down rocker, the volume controls and all the rest, either the hard buttons on the front of the Harmony One or the “soft” buttons on the screen, to access the functions and controls you want.
Care to switch to some other function from watching TV using your satellite or cable box? Just touch the screen to access the devices listing and then touch to switch to any other device using the visual prompts seen on that screen. If, for example, you want to listen to music, the remote might turn off the TV, switch the input on your AV receiver to Tuner and then provide on-screen controls to allow station selection.
With Harmony One, it’s totally flexible. And if someone walks by the TV, for example, and manually turns it off, that would really mess up its operation. Remember, the remote is “activity based” so it responds based upon knowing the activity presently in play. When the TV was turned off manually, Harmony One did not know that, so if you pressed a the screen at that point to watch a DVD, the remote would think the TV was already on and not send a code to turn it on, but it would send codes to switch the inputs if that was needed. No worries, as they say down under. Press the Help button and Harmony will walk though steps to get you back where you belong, asking questions such as, “Is the TV on?’ and others. Shortly, you’ll be back at neutral and ready to go again, with all systems GO.
There are 5,000 brands in the Harmony library with support for more than 225,000 devices. Harmony One can replace up to 15 remotes! With all this capability, it will grow with you as you change equipment in the future.
Earlier, I indicated that it is not perfect, but that even this is really a plus for the company. On this “ activity-based remote” the Harmony one offers supreme flexibility. I noted that the simple Delete button did not function as it should on my remote, at least according to the programming I had set up. In my case, it has to do with TiVo. That lower left button is supposed to allow simple deletion of a program in the program list, saving three extra steps. It’s the same as with the actual TiVo remote control. I called tech support to report the problem. While I was on the phone with their representative, I carefully described the problem, explaining how the TiVo remote functioned and how it was I thought the Harmony One should mimic that functionality. Still on the phone, the tech person re-programmed that button system wide, not only for me, but for everyone who has this product and has set up their account to control a TiVo like mine. That was that, and it was done. I connected my Harmony One via USB to my Mac (could have been a Windows computer, as well), accessed my account and updated the programming in the remote. That was amazing! Such is the capability and flexibility of the product and the company behind it.
I was also able to make an adjustment through the software to install a delay between turning on our Sharp Aquos TV and changing inputs as needed by the device I wanted to use. From a cold start, the Aquos takes a few seconds to come and then for the input selector to be accessible. This was no problem for the Harmony. I just set it to wait and all was well. There is even an online forum of users. Users help other users and there is always Logitech support available to come to the rescue. I wish all products had such excellent service available.
Note from the photos its sleek, ergonomic shape. It is easy to hold and has a wonderful feel, especially the rubber-like grippiness of the bottom.
I cannot say enough positives about this product. It even has passed the test with Mrs. Gadget and she usually hates all my gadgetry.
If your house has too many remotes and using them is at all confusing to the others who have to suffer through trying to use “your” equipment, do everyone a favor and get a Harmony One. Peace and harmony will reenter your home.
Whether it’s for dad, grad, mom or grandparents, or for your best friend to save a marriage, Harmony One will be treasured and appreciated by all users. It is HIGHLY recommended and will simplify your life.