Reviewer: Anthony Fordham
Universal remotes come in two flavours: basic units costing a hundred dollars or so that are fiddly to set up and won’t control every device in the catalogue, and really expensive touchscreen remotes that run everything but cost more than a PVR. The Harmony One aims to fall somewhere in the middle, offering easy setup and touchscreen simplicity, while not costing the Earth.
The extreme ends of Logitech’s universal remote range meet here. The Harmony One has the traditional remote form-factor as seen on the Harmony 525 ($190) but also incorporates the customisable touchscreen interface of the Logitech Harmony 1000i.
While the flagship 1000i is a heck of a device, its buttons are non-standard and can be hard to come to grips with. The Harmony One has traditional channel-surfing and DVD/PVR control buttons which can be used more or less instinctively.
The unit has a built-in Lithium-ion battery and comes with a cradle, so keeping it topped up for maximum TV time is no trouble at all.
Definitely get the computer whiz of the household to handle set up, as this involves plugging the remote into a PC via USB, installing software, then telling the Internet which devices you own. The remote downloads infrared codes from online, but also includes an IR-in sensor so you can ‘teach’ the remote any extra fiddly commands not covered by the online info.
Chances you’ll need to do this are slim though, as nearly a quarter of a million devices are supported. Even this reviewer’s weird Philips home theatre system was in there.