HOME / PRINT
Logitech Harmony One
In keeping with the Tech 2.0 tradition, we promptly review anything tech-related and popular in the market, so Logitech's new Harmony One universal remote naturally made the cut. Besides, Logitech sends us products quite promptly! Their last offering was insanely expensive and not too ergonomic, but this new Harmony One remote looks cool, so lets turn it on...
Design and Features
The Harmony One is curvaceous, a welcome change from the previous flat and broad Harmony 1000. This has a gloss black front panel strewn with black buttons of similar sizes, though different shapes. This helps as you don’t need to look carefully at the buttons; you can easily recognize them by their shapes.
The top end of the front panel has a touchscreen, a compact, sharp-looking color LCD panel. Even the border of the screen has four flush touch-sensitive buttons. This adds to the futuristic look.
A metallic cap makes up the bottom, which is detached by a pushing a button at the back panel. This acts a cradle for the included Lithium-ion battery. Speaking of cradles, the package comes with a black flat one that has its front panel carved out exactly in the remote’s shape; the remote sleeps on this and charges via the included AC adapter.
With the help of the setup disc/USB cable included in the package, starting up the remote is easy. You have to install the Logitech software and keep the remote connected. The compulsory login is a hassle, but then on things are quite easy: the remote takes a minute to connect to the database (Internet connection required, obviously!) and then you have to type in your model name.
That's the best case scenario. If your model is not there (our Panasonic TX-32LX800 wasn't), there are more steps involved. Basically, you have to get the actual remote and do old-fashioned remote learning, which includes holding both remotes face to face and feeding the IR code.
The Logitech software is quite helpful; everything is laid out step by step. The good thing is you do not need to program the full remote, just a few buttons. After that, I assume the Logitech relates to some similar device from the same manufacturer in its database.
Even though Logitech has really tried to make things simple, there are buttons that do not get automatically programmed. There is a ‘customize buttons’ option which needs to be accessed, for making the Harmony One learn buttons.
Now, what if the user wants to quickly program a button, while watching his HT in the Living room, or worse still, what if a user he/she doesn’t have an internet connection? This is where the Logitech Harmony falls short, as a PC is required to install and update the remote each time, and that doesn’t really mean more convenience. A power user might want to push buttons on the spot to configure, which is not possible in this model.
Another caveat: this is an IR model only. There's no RF, so you can't control gear from other rooms. This is not really a negative, but still, a little RF never hurt anyone.
Once set up online via the software, activities are set up in the remote, like ‘Watch TV’, ‘Watch DVD’, ‘Listen to music’ etc. These involve simple one-touch operations, and the truth is they actually do become that simple. If you set up the remote carefully once in the beginning, later operation is very simple. The IR is very strong; so there's no need to point accurately.
Ergonomics, attractiveness, accessibility, ease of setup, all make this a great product. But what about the price? Well, it costs Rs 18,500 in India, which is expensive, but then the Harmony One is a quality product. If you don't mind splurging on a good home theater system, the price is justified. After all, it will be the hub of your system, and has the power to operate as the central controlling unit way better than other models. Barring the high price, perhaps the only downside is that learning is not possible without a PC. That aside, this is a superb universal remote.