Product Review (June 2008)
Logitech® Harmony® One
Advanced Universal Remote

By Kevin Nakano


Logitech's 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.

Display
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.

The 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.

Docking the Remote
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.

Configuration
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.

Programming
Installing 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.

Conclusion
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.

- Kevin Nakano






OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player




Review System

Projector: Mitsubishi HC5000 Full 1080p High-Definition LCD Projector
Screen: Stewart Filmscreen 100" FireHawk Screen on a Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall
Video Processor/Scaler: Anchor Bay Technologies DVDO iScan HD+ A/V Processor
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box: Dish Network ViP622 HDTV Satellite and Terrestrial Receiver with HDMI
Blu-ray DVD Player: Sony PlayStation3 with HDMI 1.3
HD-DVD Player: Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD Player with HDMI
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
DVD Player: OPPO Digital OPDV971H DVD Player with DVI Output
D-VHS VCR: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
Laserdisc Player: Pioneer CLD-D704 CD/VCD/LD Player
Media Server: Kenwood Sovereign MRH1 Entre
Remote Control: Remote Technologies Inc. T3 Controller
Analog Audio Switcher (5.1): Zektor MAS3 5.1 Audio Switcher
HDMI Video Switcher: Radiient Technologies Select-4 HDMI Video Switcher
HDMI Cable: VizioWare Hi-Wirez 15-meter Active HDMI Cable
DVI Cable: AudioQuest DV-1 20m DVI-D Cable
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables


Review at a glance


Logitech® Harmony® One Advanced Universal Remote

Features

  • Large Internet-based component database
  • Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP or Mac OS X with Safari 1.0
  • 2 Megabytes Non-volatile flash memory
  • Backlit LCD 84 x 48 pixels
  • 56 top mounted hard buttons
  • Infrared sensor
  • USB Interface
  • Speaker
  • Package Contents

  • Harmony® One remote control
  • Charging station
  • USB cable
  • AC adapter
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Installation CD
  • Installation guide
  • 1-year limited hardware warranty


    System Requirements

    PC

  • Windows® 2000, Windows® XP, Windows Vista®
  • USB port
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Internet access

    Macintosh® PC

  • Macintosh® OS X 10.3 or later
  • USB port
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Internet access

  • Company Information
    Logitech Inc.
    Corporate Headquarters
    6505 Kaiser Drive
    Fremont, CA 94555 USA
    Phone: 510-795-8500
    Sales: 800-231-7717
    Support: 866-826-5722

    Part Number P/N 915-000035
    Source: Manufacture Supplied
    Warranty: One-Year Limited Hardware Warranty
    MSRP: $249.99

    URL: www.logitech.com/harmony

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