Logitech Harmony One
- Very easy to setup, massive product database, able to control up to 15 devices at once, intuitive and comfortable design
- Unable to perform some of the more complex calibration options on some devices
A fantastic universal remote, Logitech's Harmony One is able to vastly simplify home entertainment. For users with expansive setups, this is an excellent way to bring them all together.
Price$ 399.95 (AUD)
Logitech's release of the Harmony One universal remote brings a new design, along with features and functionality to the already incredibly popular universal remote control series. Streamlining of the software, and a fully fledged array of buttons in addition to the popular touch screen are both new additions when compared to the last Harmony we reviewed, the Logitech Harmony 1000i. The design is also completely different, and is now more in line with the old Harmony 880 Advanced Universal Remote.
Logitech's huge database, which includes over 225,000 devices from 5000 brands, means that the Harmony One should control anything but the most obscure or ancient of products. With enough memory to support and control up to 15 of these devices at once, the Harmony One has the basics of universal remote controlling covered. The Harmony One should be capable of handling even the most convoluted home entertainment setup.
In its design of both the remote itself, as well as the included software, Logitech has made efforts to ensure that ease-of-use is always a priority. Although configuring the Harmony One can be a long and precise process, it is by no means a difficult one. Even the most computer illiterate users should have no problems following the on-screen prompts to set-up their remote control, a process that took us about an hour, including running back and forth between our setup and the computer to check model numbers and such.
The Harmony One's control layout is based around the touch screen, which is used to select devices (such as the TV, DVD player or AV Receiver) and activities (such as watching TV, or listening to a CD) that users have programmed. The buttons below the touch screen can be used for fundamental functions, such as play, pause, menu and so forth, while the touch screen offers more in-depth options specific to certain devices, such as picture-in-picture or input selection.
There's plenty to keep advanced users busy too, with more involved and customisable options such as the ability to insert a pause between turning on a device and starting an activity (eg playing a DVD). This is actually quite a useful feature, especially with high-definition players, which can often have startup times of up to a minute where no action can be taken while the device warms up.
We did encounter a few difficulties when using the Harmony One. We were often unable to access a device's system menu (to change settings such as image or audio modes), and found ourselves having to reach for the original remote. These sorts of processes are rare enough though, that this isn't a big deal. We also encountered difficulty trying to control our Xbox 360 Elite, notably when trying to switch between watching a DVD in the tray and an HD-DVD in our Xbox 360 HD DVD Player.
The design is quite an important part of a universal remote, as they are designed specifically to make home entertainment a lot easier. The Harmony One has been very carefully designed to make it both easy and intuitive to use, as well as comfortable. The remote is well balanced, and rests easily in the hand whether you're using the touch screen or the buttons below it. After a few hours of using the Harmony One, other remotes began to feel very unwieldy!
Overall, the Harmony One is an excellent universal remote. You may need to pull out your old remotes once in a while, but for day-to-day use it vastly simplifies home entertainment. The Harmony One probably doesn't deliver enough features to warrant upgrading over previous models, but for those who haven't yet invested in a universal remote, the Harmony One is an excellent option.
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