Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote [Review]
Universal remotes are becoming extremely popular among those who’ve got a decent home entertainment setup as a perfect solution for the common case of remote clutter. For the past many years, Logitech’s line of Harmony remotes has been the prime choice for many due to their simple setup, one-touch activity controls and support for over 225,000 devices. Today, we’ll be looking at the Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote. Full review after the break!
- One-touch activity controls
- Replaces up to 15 remotes
- Full-color touch screen
- Sculpted, backlit buttons
- Ergonomic design
- Guided online setup
- 1-year limited hardware warranty
- US $199.99 @ Logitech.com
I’ve always believed that a product’s packaging tells a lot about it and this holds pretty much true for the Harmony One Advanced remote. A hefty box packs two smaller boxes inside, one holding the Harmony One remote and a charging station while the other one contains all the goodies that come with it. These include a USB cable, an AC adapter, a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, an installation CD and a user guide.
I love the fact that the Harmony One does not rely on AA or AAA sized batteries but rather comes with its own rechargeable 930 mAh Lithium-ion battery. It takes around 5-6 hours to reach a full charge when completely drained and easily lasts the same number of days with routine usage. Though this mileage may vary depending on how frequently you use it.
The included charging station is a pleasure to use. Simply plug the AC adapter into the cradle and place the remote in its groove. Charging begins instantly as the two pins of charging station come in contact with two small metallic plates at the base of the remote. The charging station also hosts a cable groove at the base for clutter-free cable management. This way, you don’t only get a handy charger but also a decent looking remote holder as well.
Unlike your everyday consumer electronics remotes, the Harmony One Advanced is a pretty sophisticated device. Its ergonomic design lets you hold it comfortably in your hand for hours. Logitech claims, that they’ve designed the remote’s layout in a way that makes sure your thumbs fall naturally on the most important part of the remote i.e the D-pad, and that you can easily move your hands up and down from there. I found this claim to be 100% correct.
The Harmony One features backlit buttons which is perhaps one of my favorite features. If you enjoy watching movies at night like me, you’ll know how frustrating it is when you hit the wrong button in the dark room. The top of the remote constitutes a touch-sensitive color LCD which is both bright and responsive. This touch-screen LCD serves to simulate buttons that don’t physically exist on the remote. For example, if your home theater’s remote has dedicated buttons for front, side and rear channels, these will appear on the LCD. I’ve set up the Harmony One to work with my Air conditioner as well, so buttons like temperature, fan control and swing appear here. However, this is not all the touchscreen LCD is for. All of your personalized one-touch activities like “Watch a Movie” or “Play Xbox” are also displayed here. You can fully customize these one-touch activities, down to each and every single button on the Harmony One by using the included Logitech Harmony software (compatible with Mac OS and Windows).
To set up your favorite one-touch activities, use the included USB cable to plug the Harmony One into your computer and fire up the Harmony software. Then simply enter the make and model numbers of your components and answer questions about your activity such as, what components are needed to be turned on, how everything is connected and what input is needed to be switched to. That’s it. You can either choose from presets of more than 225,000 devices from 5,000+ brands right away or use Harmony One’s built-in “learn command” feature to grab the IR codes from just about any remote. There are also two glowing touch-sensitive buttons on either side of the LCD which allow scrolling through the “pages” of soft buttons on the screen. Two more glowing touch-sensitive buttons at the bottom of the LCD allow you to toggle between “options,” “devices,” and “activities.”
To give you a better idea, one of my activities labelled “Watch Movie” turns on my Samsung 3D TV, switches it to HDMI input 3 to which my Mac Mini is connected, turns on my Creative digital audio receiver and switches it to optical input 2, all with a single touch. At the same time, all my buttons are mapped accordingly i.e the volume controls work with the audio receiver, the navigation and play/pause buttons are setup for Mac Mini and the rest work with the Samsung TV. Sweet eh!
Other highlights of the Harmony One include a motion sensor i.e when you pick up the remote, it automatically turns on. This is a great battery preserving feature. You also have the option to add logos for your favorite channels or use your own images as wallpapers and slide-shows as screensavers. You can even customize the colors and themes of the menu and your touch-sensitive soft buttons.
Logitech Harmony One Advanced is an absolutely brilliant universal remote which packs a fantastic set of features, out of which the touch-sensitive color LCD with fully programmable one-touch activities and backlit buttons are the most amazing. To anyone looking for the perfect solution for remote control clutter, I simply cannot recommend this one highly enough!