Harmony line of remotes is a product line that all companies wish for. Products
that have been accepted by the masses and offer users what their spouses can't
- simple remotes for complex home entertainment systems. No one gets more angry
than the spouse of an obsessed home theater enthusiast when it comes to having
to use four remotes to watch a DVD. After all, the one who sets up the system
often doesn't see the problem. Harmony's latest remote is the Harmony One, a stylish
and ergonomic design with an attractive color touchscreen display. That's right,
this new remote has a touchscreen and with its elegant piano-black top and silver
base, it looks good. Earlier Harmony remotes relied upon small buttons around
the display to control the remote. The Harmony One has soft keys on the left and
right side of the display as well as two softkeys just below the display that
change color depending on the mode. The buttons are also larger than the ones
on previous Harmony remotes, making it easier to use and less prone to user errors.
In addition, the black buttons with white backlighting is excellent and makes
it very easy to see in the dark.
The Harmony® One features a high resolution 2.2-inch color touch screen that
uses capacitive technology, which responds to tiny electrical charges from touch.
This technology gives the Harmony One an edge over the earlier designs. The top
right of the screen has a battery level indicator with the day of week and time.
This information is automatically loaded into the remote when programmed by connecting
to a computer. Images can be uploaded into the remote from a PC using the Harmony
programming software. Users can create a slideshow using a series of images on
the screen. Different screen themes are available when programming the remote.
Harmony One has all the great features found in earlier designs such as the one-touch
activity buttons that can be defined to perform tasks such as watching a DVD,
watching TV, listening to music, and more. Up to 15 remotes can be controlled
with a single Harmony One. If the massive IR database somehow missed your component,
the Logitech Harmony® One has the ability to read your IR codes and store
them into the Logitech site.
The Harmony One docking station is improved over the earlier
designs. The two remote contacts are gold plated to provide a reliable connection
to the charger. The docking station is powered by a small 5V, 800mA universal
switching AC power adapter The power cable attaches to the underside of the base
and can be routed in a guide to exit the top or bottom, depending on which is
most convenient for the user. The user-replaceable 3.7V, 930mAh Li-ion battery
pack has enough capacity to last for several days under normal to heavy use. The
nice part is you do not have to worry about replacing the batteries in the unit,
but you will have to remember to periodically dock the remote to charge it. The
base has a white LED at the top of the docking platform that is illuminated. This
looks attractive and makes it easy to find the base in the dark. However, it can
also be distracting at times, so Logitech put a switch on the bottom of the platform
to allow the user to select two brightness levels or turn the light off altogether.
Our multimedia system is quite complicated and like many, has components placed
in various locations in front of the user. The placement of components needs to
be considered when purchasing a remote such as this. If components are far apart,
it may be difficult to use an IR remote such as the Harmony One, where clear line
of sight is required. However, the strong IR output of the remote made it easy
for all of our components to receive a good signal. Logitech uses its Smart
State Technology to track the power state and input setting of the various
components it controls. By tracking the state of each component, Harmony remote
users can effortlessly switch between different activity modes with a single button.
the Harmony remote software provided with the unit was simple. Once the installation
process was completed, an updated version was automatically installed on our computer
while it accessed the Harmony website. Harmony's online database, which supports
more than 225,000 devices from more than 5,000 brands is most impressive. It is
by far the best database we have ever seen and every product that we have ever
used is in this system. We were even able to take our existing configuration defined
for the Harmony 880 and seamlessly target the new Harmony One. Adding new components
is easy with the Harmony website. Setting
up the Activity buttons such as "Watch TV" or "Watch a DVD"
is just as simple and the software helps guide you through them.
The Harmony® One Remote is a culmination of more than 20,000
hours of research and development according to Logitech. The new design takes
what was the best of the earlier Harmony designs and layers new improvements that
make this remote one of the best we have seen for the money. As part of the research,
Logitech included only the 40 most-essential buttons on the Harmony One for quick
access to commonly used functions. Each button is individually sculpted and designed
to provide a tactile feel so users can get used to operating the remote by touch.
If your friends or family ever complain to you about the difficulty of using your
home entertainment system they will love the one step activity buttons offered
on the Harmony One. Most of us have spouses who are not too happy with our cumbersome
setup, so we owe it to them to simplify the control. The Harmony® One takes
the pain out of conventional systems by eliminating the need to use multiple IR
remotes. Instead, a single button push can launch several IR commands to bring
your system alive and another button can shut everything off. The upfront time
will be spent defining your components, but it will all be worth it when you can
hand the remote over to someone and not have to field "technical support"
calls when you are not around.
We loved the earlier Harmony remotes, so it is not too surprising that the
new Harmony One lives up to its predecessors. The new docking station is excellent,
eliminating the need to change batteries on an ongoing basis. The high resolution
color touchscreen looks fabulous and makes using the Harmony One so much easier
than the earlier designs. The extensive database will save you a lot of time setting
up your system. Best of all, you can customize the design and even add a picture
to the screen. Based on our experience, this is the new remote to get from Harmony
and given a street price of less than $200, you can't go wrong.