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Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote
We decided to finally buy a universal remote control after I kept on getting quite aggravated trying o track down the corresponding control for the equipment I wanted to use. I had seen universal controls in the past and when my husband brought the subject up I thought that it was a great idea, to go from four or five controls down to one clearing the clutter away from our coffee table. After searching around and looking at different options we decided upon this Logitech harmony one advanced universal remote that appeared to do everything and more than we wanted.
The control does take some getting used to but really after you have had it and used it for a couple of days you will be an expert for all the daily and basic functions. The set up of the control does take a little while but there are detailed instructions in a handbook as well as online, there is also a phone number that you can call for technical support or just a talk through if there is something that doesn't seem to be falling into line. The control can also be plugged into your computer and configured using the Harmony online website.
Admittedly it was my husband that programmed this so that all the settings were as we wanted. It is set so that when you press 'watch tv' it turns the TV on, as well as the surround sound (and to the preferred settings) as well as starting the sky box. This all does take about 20 seconds but really is hassle free - all you do is point and press. We have among other things a surround sound system and I kept on having to remember to mute the TV's stereos unless I wanted a weird echo. However, the control does all of this with one press of the button and it remembers all the preferences, as the surround sound in particular is set to different preferences for just watching regular TV, or a blu - ray as well as having yet more specific preferences for my husband's Xbox.
The control is surprisingly light, probably because it doesn't have batteries to hold. It also looks really seek and shiny. It is contoured so that it is comfortable to hold and has a none slip back which means that even if your hands are hot this control won't just slip from your grasp. As far as controls goes this looks great. The battery life seems to be pretty good, we tend to leave it most of the time in its charging cradle, however, on the days that I have forgotten to do this and left it off over night or throughout the day it still has more than enough charge to work just fine.
The control has a largish section of buttons at the top which are changeable and accessible by using the touch screen area. To begin with I only really thought that this was a bit of a novelty feature but it really is a space saver because we a few clicks of the 'activity' button you can change the touch screen options, i.e., you can change them from 'selecting the blu-ray player or Xbox' to the coloured buttons that you find on all the sky remotes. The touch screen is also very responsive to use and for any gadget orientated people this might appeal. The touch screen when not in use goes black, but when you pick up the control again or move it, the touch screen is reactivated and ready to go.
When not in use the control has a recharging cradle to sit in so as long as you don't take this to another room we never lose it, we are both just in the habit of returning it to this cradle which sits on a small side table. This is great because you never need to hunt around or steal batteries from something else when your remote control starts refusing to change the channel late at night when all the shops are closed.
These controls are expensive retailing around from anywhere between £129.99 to £74.99, so it is best to shop around and see if you can grab yourself a bit of a bargain. This control is available to buy in most of the stores that sell TV's and other similar technology equipment, I bought ours from John Lewis who price match with other stores, something that is always worth bearing in mind.
I would completely recommend this control to anyone looking for something similar, this control is easy to use and there is a lot of support and information to enable you to configure it to your specific needs. There are a lot of equipment that is already pre-programmed in the control, such as Sky box settings. However, even if you have something that is a bit more specialised there are a lot of equipment that you can still configure the remote control to work with, we had to do that with our surround sound system. I believe that Logitech say that this Harmony remote is compatible with 200 000 devices and over 5000 different brands, so chances are whatever home equipment you have will work fine with this.
Since having this remote control for all the daily things I might need to do I don't ever look at another control. I can't remember the last time that I picked up one of the other older controls that are all now hidden away in a drawer. When my husband first started talking about getting a universal control I was a bit shocked at the price of them and a bit sceptical how it would work and whether it would be worth the hefty price tag. Now I can say that this was one of the best purchases of last year and it really makes daily life a lot less cluttered and I am now only reaching for one control rather than a TV one, a sky one, a blu-ray player one and the surround sound system one. This Harmony one universal control gets a full and well earned five out of five stars from me.
I have a LOT of stuff connected to my TV - each with it's own remote. At one point I had eight separate remotes and required no less than three to achieve anything! I also heard a lot of 'how do I watch TV?' or 'how do I put on a DVD?' from my partner. There had to be a better way!
I researched a lot of universal remotes and settled on the Logitech Harmony One. The device itself is well built and the buttons feel sturdy. It's also a very good looking remote if a little on the large side. The size can be forgiven since it has a nice touch screen portion at the top. Inside the box you also get a rechargeable battery, docking station (for charging also), a USB cable and a CD with the software.
Setup was very straight forward although time consuming. Rather than using the CD I got the latest version of the software from the Logitech site and connected the remote to my computer via the included cable. You need to create an account with Logitech but this allows your setup to be saved to their servers to be retrieved on any computer. Once you are registered, you can start specifying your devices. Gone are those stupid codes for determining what TV and DVD player you have. Logitech maintains a database of devices and you can simply search for your kit. Once added, you can now setup 'Activities' - these are macro commands for things like 'Watch TV' or 'Watch a DVD'. The software asks you a series of questions to determine what needs to be done to achieve an activity. The end result is that the touch screen at the top of the remote has a set of three activities on each page representing different activities. Pressing 'Watch TV' in my setup will do the following...
Switch on the TV and change to the correct input source
Switch on the PVR
Switch on the surround sound and change to the correct source
Brilliant - one button does it all. But say I get bored and wanna play XBOX, what happens then? Press 'Play XBOX 360' and the TV changes source as does the surround sound, XBOX switches on, PVR switches off! Excellent!
A helper on the remote also fixes any issues should a command not get transmitted correctly - always fixes the issue but is rarely required.
Another nice feature is you can turn the top screen into a 'favourite channel' list when watching TV and set logos such as the E4 logo for different channels. Unfortunately, this ends any customisation which would have been nice if we could make custom themes or activity logos. A minor gripe though!
Overall, I cannot recommend this product enough! Excellent design and build quality. Great software and easy-to-use. Rechargeable battery is a bonus. Reduced eight remotes to one and even the partner can use it!
I had used a number of all-in-one remote controls in the past & wasn't really a fan. However I had heard many great things about the Logitech Harmony One from friends who have it & had also read a number of positive so I decided to try it in order to reduce the many remote I need to use for my various devices.
I bought mine instore from Richer Sounds for £120 but you can sometimes snap up a bargain online if you keep your eyes out & get it for as low as £80. So was it worth I hear you ask?
Absolutely, it's one of the best purchases I have ever made & so much easier to use than other all-in-ones. When you first buy it, you just connect it up to your PC & enter the model number for all the devices you want it to control. It will then go off & download the various codes it needs to control those devices from its massive database, the whole process doesn't take longer than a few minutes. You can carry out tweaks for any special controls using the easy to use software.
All the devices I throw at it, it knew about & was about to control. The only exception was my Playstation 3, however this is not the fault of this remote. The PS3 only allows control via bluetooth & not infra red which is the technology this remote works with.
I have now managed to replace around 10 different remote controls to this single one to control all my devices from TV's & Satellite Boxes to my Amplifier, CD Player & wireless music player. This really has changed my life & is highly recommended.
Logitech Harmony One Remote bought from Amazon for £75 on a special promotion.
I'd been looking to buy a Logitech universal remote control for some time; however mixed reviews on Amazon for the cheaper models left me holding out for a price reduction on the Harmony One. I'd owned a universal remote made by Marantz back in 2001 at a price of £250 and hated it. There was a huge delay on signals being sent and volume control was a painful affair with the equipment I was using.
In the box was the charging dock, the remote, a power cable for the dock, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, USB cable, software cd and basic set up instructions.
I had a quick glance at the basic set up guide and start up the installation cd in my desktop computer. The software installs in a reasonable time and then prompts you to create an account with Logitech. Every time you open the software from this point forward, it will automatically check for updates and install them.
At the same time I put the remote into the cradle for an overnight initial charge....
The following day after a 16 hour charge, I started the software up again and started setting up my devices. The software is quite intuitive at this point, lots of clever wizards which seem to know what you're after. The remote found all my devices in the lounge with the exception of one...
Samsung TV LE40A656
Samsung Upscalling DVD Player
Yamaha Receiver - DSP AX761
Logitech Squeezebox Duet
Cyberlink Media Centre Remote Control
Playstation 3 (but doesn't function with it)
Wii (again doesn't function with it_
Pure Evoke Flow DAB Radio
Having written down all the models and which settings are required on the amp and TV, this part wasn't too difficult. The next point was to set up the Activities... The activities define the settings required for each operation - Watch T.V, Play PS3 etc.... Again, as these were written down I thought it would be a doddle. I set up 10 activities but ran into a number of problems with the wizard...
When going through the wizard, certain options become unavailable. Having set up almost everything, I finally wanted to set up my 'Use Computer' activity. I used the remote I already owned to tell the Logitech remote the IR commands. After 3 button presses the software said it had found a similar match and would use it. The wizard then presented me with a number of options, the first being which setting do you want the media remote to send when pressing the activity... My thought was nothing, I don't want it to open the media centre, I just wanted it to pause music and films etc.... In the end I had to create a new option manually which I called none and gave it an activity of none.
Once the set up was complete I plugged in the remote and clicked update. It then proceeded to update over the period of 5 minutes. Other options which can be set up for are Utilities (lights etc...), hifi separates and probably anything with an infa red receiver.
Once the update was complete, I unplugged the remote and started testing it. The touch screen is responsive and there isn't a delay when using the standard functionalities of the devices. Most of the buttons appeared on the screen for each individual device, even my amp had been cater for cover its 30/40 buttons.
After a good play I decided to make a few amendments. On a couple of the activities the volume button was controlling the TV volume and not using the amp...also there was an annoying beep when the touch screen was pressed. After another 5 minutes of amendments and an update, the remote was functioning perfectly. I was amazed at what the remote had and could achieve.
The build quality of the remote is solid; I haven't dropped it at all yet, but I'm sure it will happen some day and I'm sure it will be fine. The base has a light on it which can be turned off or dimmed via a switch underneath.
The battery lasts about 2-3 weeks depending on use.
Overall I've very pleased with the remote, it saves me time and hassle... Now I've had it for a couple of months, I can't imagine life without it. My partner who isn't a fan of gadgets even loves it!!
Logitech are building higher end solutions which are exceeding my expectations. Some of their products are much better than the likes of Sony and other leading brands.