PROS / The Logitech Harmony One universal remote has a beautiful LCD color touch screen.
CONS / For a remote so advanced, Logitech should have made its Harmony One RF capable.
VERDICT / The Harmony One has all the features, including customizable icons on a touch screen, that you will want in a universal remote.
Editor's note: The Logitech Harmony Ultimate One is now available. Clicking the Buy button will take you to this version for purchase. We will evaluate, rank and review the Ultimate One when we next update the Universal Remote reviews. Meanwhile, enjoy our review below about the Harmony One.
A company will not label a product "One" unless they know that it is by far the best product in their collection. Logitech has entrusted this "one" label to their Harmony One universal remote, and we have followed suit. “The Harmony One remote has us twitterpated, to say the least, and after reading hundreds of reviews from other Harmony One users, we are not the only ones. That is why the Harmony One has received the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
The Harmony One universal remote's defining feature is its two-inch LCD color touch screen. From this screen, you can access channel icons that you have programmed to your favorite channels, upload your desired photos for a slideshow and access all of your programmed activity buttons such as "watch TV."
While our number two and three products, Logitech Harmony 700 and Logitech Harmony 650, are great remotes, the LCD color touch screen, photo slideshow capabilities and power cradle of the Harmony One sit this specific universal remote on a pedestal of greatness.
Logitech, who has been creating superior products for over 30 years, knows exactly what they are doing when it comes to making remotes, well, almost exactly. Many say the main, really the only, downfall of Harmony One is the connectivity technology, and we have agree 100 percent.
The Harmony One universal remote could almost be considered perfect if, instead of infrared (IR) technology, it was programmed for radio frequency (RF). In the remote control universe, IR is like the frozen yogurt in the world of rich, creamy ice cream. It is still good, it still can please your dairy needs, but it can never truly satisfy or be as good as ice cream. With infrared connectivity, the Harmony One universal remote can only be 65 feet away from the television or device you are controlling. With RF, users can be upstairs, downstairs, in the kitchen, or wherever and still control their television.
The main purpose of purchasing a universal remote is for clutter control. With the Logitech Harmony One, you can replace remotes for up to 15 video, audio or gaming devices, eliminating the piles of remotes on your coffee table or floor.
One of the choice features of the Harmony One is the motion sensor on the remote. When TV has been set for "Mad Men" and you leave the room to grab some drinks, the remote will automatically shut off after a set amount of time (you program that time). When you return, gently shake the remote, and all of the buttons are at your disposal once again.
Although not exclusive to the Harmony One universal remote, activity buttons and customizable channel icons add another dimension of ease and functionality. Simply touch the black Mickey ears and be taken to the Disney channel, or hit the colorful turkey and go to NBC.
The learning mode on this all-in-one remote is by far our favorite feature. Using the provided USB cord, connect the Harmony one with a PC or Mac and use Logitech's software to find all of your devices. If, by chance, you cannot find your device in the database covering 250,000 devices from 5,000 brands, then the learning mode can be activated. Simply point your universal remote at the old remote and the "One" learns the code and macros from that device and is now programmed to include it.
Another exclusive feature to this Logitech remote is the photo slideshow. You can upload photos that can be programmed as the screensaver for your remote when it is temporarily not in use.
As mentioned previously, the LCD color touch screen is the icing on the cake of perfection. With just one touch, you can easily access your lights, amplifier or Blu-ray player. Due to the two-inch touch screen, the remote emits just the right amount for light for nighttime movie or television watching. Along with the LCD color screen, the rest of the universal remote's buttons are backlit, also allowing for easy access in dim lighting.
With the motion sensor, the battery power that you would be losing is saved. But, as with all handheld electronics, the need to recharge the batteries does come into play. Of all the universal remotes we researched and chose for our side-by-side comparison, the power cradle is unique to the Harmony One. It holds the remote snuggly so there is no way to lose connectivity. You can wait to charge the remote when you see the battery status indicating a low battery, or you could place the remote in the cradle every night to charge.
When purchasing a remote for the first time, you may overlook two key items. The first is the placement of the buttons on the remote, the size or even the shape. Those who are veterans of universal remotes know that the placement, size and shape of the buttons are crucial to the overall experience. Logitech has perfected the placement of the buttons, arranging all 40 of them in a logical way. Additionally, each button on the Harmony One has a unique shape, making it easier to determine the functionality simply by touch.
The second overlooked item is the shape of the remote itself. Developers have actually spent a lot of time developing an ergonomic remote that fits perfectly in your hand. While many of these remotes in our side-by-side comparison are purchased online, thus making it difficult to test out the product before you buy, you can rest assured that the Harmony One has excellent lines and that perfect fit-in-the-palm-of-your-hand feel.
Help and Support
Programming up to 15 devices can be a challenge, and you may discover professional help is needed. Logitech is ready to help their customers. Harmony One has a help button positioned on the remote itself. With one touch, you can pull up a user guide on your television screen. When setting up the remote, there is also a guided online setup available, along with interactive chat support. Because the Harmony One (and most Logitech universal remotes) use infrared technology, infrared learning is also available.
When investing in technical devices, checking with the manufacture for the warranty of the product is very important. We were a bit disappointed in the Harmony One's one-year limited hardware warranty. All of the Harmony remotes have a one-year warranty, but for the advanced features and much higher price tag, we were expecting a longer warranty.
Ease of Use
The Harmony One universal remote, despite its many functions and features, is quite simple to use and program. Included in the remote's package is an installation CD software and a USB cable. At the top of the Harmony One is a USB port. Simply plug the USB cord into the top, connect it to a PC or Mac, and the device will be recognized by the computer. From here, Logitech has a database of 250,000 devices from 5,000 brands. Many reviews we have read mentioned that customers were able to find not only all of their devices' brands, but all of the various years each was made, too.
Despite its lack of RF technology and a longer warranty, Logitech Harmony One has everything you could ever want or expect from a universal remote. Harmony One has a sleek and ergonomic design that sits rightly in the palm of your hand, is easy enough for the entire family to use, and has a docking cradle that fits the remote like a glove aiding in a perfect charge every time. We recommend this universal remote with absolute enthusiasm.