Logitech Harmony One.

Design, Gadgets, Reviews, Useful Things by Richard

Ah, the Harmony One. I’ve used a few Harmony remotes over the past few years (namely the Harmony 890 and 1000), and each of them has had their own set of advantages and limitations. For instance, the Harmony 1000 is almost completely a touchscreen device, which is pretty neat and useful because the screen contents can change to just about anything you want, but it’s a strange shape that doesn’t fit in your hand, and sometimes you have to step through multiple screens to get to that one virtual button that you want to press. The Harmony 890 fits well in your hand and has every button you need, but it doesn’t have the convenience of a touchscreen. The Harmony One gets it right.

Hands down, the Harmony One is the best remote I’ve ever used. It takes the best parts of the Harmony 890 (the buttons) and the 1000 (the touchscreen), combines them, adds a few improvements of its own (a more comfortable grip and a button layout that is so good you can use it in the dark) and drops the price to $249. Win-win-win, I say. Design-wise, it’s sleek and stylish and would look great on any coffee table. It includes a charging base and a rechargeable battery so you don’t have to keep buying those AAs for it.. just watch the battery meter and when it gets low, drop it in the charger overnight.

One of the best things about the Harmony series of remotes is that you set them up using a computer. It couldn’t be simpler to set one of these remotes up. You select all of your components (they have a database of over 225,000 devices), then you decide how you want to use them and create “Activities”. For instance, let’s say you have a TV, DVD player and a receiver to control your surround sound. When you’re watching a DVD, you need the input on the TV to be changed to Input 1, the DVD player to be powered on and your receiver to be turned on and changed to the DVD input. On most other universal remotes, you’d still have to set all of these by hand, even though they’d be controlled by that one remote. With the Harmony, you set all of this one time as part of the DVD “Activity” and then from then on, you can simply press the DVD button on the remote and have everything switch over and power on just the way that you want it to. This means that you can set this remote to control the most complex set of components, then hand the remote to someone who’s never used it before and have them be able to fully control your system within a matter of moments. It’s pretty much the killer app for any remote control.

The Logitech software is both PC and Mac compatible, and your settings are kept in your account online so that you can easily transfer all of your remote’s settings to a new remote or another one, should yours ever need to be replaced.

If you have a bunch of components and you’re tired of having to use multiple remotes to control them, or even if you have a universal remote and it’s still too complex to use… give the Harmony One a shot.


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