It might not come cheap, but the Harmony One a very ambitious take on the traditional remote control, with innovative features like a large colour screen, backlit buttons and a docking station. Is it worth its weight in gold?
Handling: Feel the Quality
The Harmony One isn't too heavy and sits naturally in the palm of your hand, with the arrow keys and the buttons used to switch channels and adjust the volume all within easy reach. A docking station is provided which you can use to recharge the remote, but it's pretty bulky (bigger than the remote itself) so you'll need to find a corner of your living room to hide it in.
The buttons themselves are a treat to handle and slide gently into the body of the remote, producing a gentle click as they go, reassuring users that they've actually made contact. Backlighting means you can use the remote in the dark, and the system used here is much better than the glow-in-the-dark paint used on some earlier remotes.
We can't not mention the screen which dominates the top of the remote: it's a decent size (2.1'') but the quality isn't great. The colours might be less pale than on the earlier Harmony 700 remote, but the viewing angles are still terrible. To give you an idea of just how bad it is, it's not much of an improvement on the first mobiles with colour screens.
The screen's real advantage, though, is that it's touch-sensitive, making it a very intuitive way to interact with the remote using the four buttons around the edge of the display to navigate through the menus.
Finally, in a very smart move, Logitech has also added a motion sensor which switches on the screen and the backlighting as soon as you pick the remote up.
Settings: Simple or Sophisticated
You need to set the remote up using a tool that install on a Windows or Mac computer, and are guided through the basic settings by answering a series of questions. Users first identify their other hardware from amongst a huge database, which impressively even included our media centre, and then choose a range of activities (see inset).
After that, you can tweak the settings yourself. If your TV isn't listed, for instance, you can set it up manually. You can also adjust the sensitivity of the buttons and how long they take to respond. That's a real advance over the competition because it means that you can get a grip on very sensitive devices.
- Easy to set up, either automatically for a huge range of products or manually
- Sensitivty and responsiveness of buttons can be controlled
- Activity-based macros
- Touchscreen makes it easy to use advanced features
- Backlit buttons
- Poor quality display
- Doesn't work with RF devices
The Logitech Harmony One's touchscreen display is there for a reason: it makes it easy to find your favourite channels and to use more advanced features. All that's missing is support for RF remotes used by some TVs and this remote would be absolutely perfect!