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Logitech Harmony 1100 Universal Remote review

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Our Score:

8

Logitech's series of Harmony universal remotes has been de-cluttering living rooms everywhere for many years, and the latest incarnation looks to be the most user-friendly yet. The Harmony 1100 allows you to replace up to 15 remotes and features a 3.5in colour touchscreen, which offers quick, clear access to all of your home cinema system's functions.

The Harmony 1100 is an impeccably made and classy-looking gadget, clad in a black finish that feels quite rubbery to the touch. It's compact and comfortable to hold, and the panel of commonly-used buttons (volume, channel, mute and menu controls) are conveniently placed for one-handed use, but you'll need two hands to use the touchscreen keys.

It's powered by a rechargeable battery, which means no more rummaging around in drawers for a couple of AAs after it stops working. In the box is a stylish gloss black cradle that not only recharges the battery but provides a home for the unit when it's not in use. You can also buy an optional RF extender for controlling devices hidden out of sight.

There are some lovely touches that elevate the Harmony 1100 above cheaper universal remotes. When you leave it alone for a while the screen shuts down but thanks to the built-in motion sensor, it springs into life when you pick it up. And whenever you press a button on the touchscreen it gives off a cute little clicking sound.

But the thing we love the most is the simplicity of the setup procedure, which is controlled from a PC or Mac connected to the mini-USB port on the side of the unit. Install the supplied software on your computer, connect the Harmony and a series of onscreen prompts guides you through the entire setup process.

The first step is to find all of the devices in your home cinema system. There's a series of drop down menus for the product type and manufacturer, then you need to key in the specific model numbers. The lack of recognition for Blu-ray is a bit odd (you have to select DVD) and it needed to learn a few commands for my Sky HD box and Panasonic DVD/HDD recorder, but all the other devices were found within Logitech's massive database of over 225,000 devices from 5,000 brands.

But even if your product isn't listed, getting the Harmony to learn commands is a hassle-free process, particularly with such clear onscreen prompts guiding the way. Simply point the original remote at the Harmony, press the relevant button and the software confirms that the key has registered.

Tony Walker

June 14, 2009, 6:48 am

Any word on a left handed version? I would be constantly reaching over and operating those buttons/d-pad with my left hand. Smacks of being designed in the far east where I belive left handedness is still frowned upon in many (most? all?) cases.





Philips do a similar TSU9200 Pronto with more buttons and a standard remote control format.





Final word - get a proper Pronto!

manoz

June 14, 2009, 10:09 am

Regarding the "cute clicking sound": Do you have a recording of this? Listening to it will determine whether I spend £300 on a FRICKIN' REMOTE CONTROL!!!

Digital Fury

June 14, 2009, 12:26 pm

Nice remote, but useless "as is" with a PS3, it's a rather significant limitation considering it's the most popular Blu-Ray player. If Logitech has released its "Harmony Adapter for PS3", I have yet to find it in stores in my area.

Martin Wainika

June 14, 2009, 12:54 pm

@Digital Fury - Logitech blog says Harmony Adapter for PS3 released in Europe in July

Chocoa

June 14, 2009, 1:43 pm

Any thoughts on the longevity of the physical product interface? In the sense that most (even decent) remotes I have tend to get dicky buttons after a couple of years of use <looks over shoulder> - mostly wives and children ;)


- Usually the often used ones like volume / channel etc.,seem first to die


- As its quite an investment, I think the long term quality would be an issue for me before parting with a wedge.

morsch

June 14, 2009, 6:27 pm

300 quid for a remote? Seriously?!

ffrankmccaffery

June 15, 2009, 1:29 am

What is wrong with traditional buttoned remotes? I mean you memorise the button layout after a few days of use and rarely ever look down to find a button again.

Jmac

June 15, 2009, 5:19 pm

@ffrankmccaffery - nothing wrong with traditional remotes, but unless you run equipment all from the same manufacturer, you'll struggle to find a bundled remote that will control everything, so you'll want a universal remote. For basic setups, a simple buttoned all-in-one remote might be fine, but for more complex AV setups, a touch screen remote with macros etc. is a far better option.

Simon J

June 15, 2009, 5:59 pm

If you like your remote with more buttons and with something resembling a traditional look and feel then the Logitech Harmony 895 is what you need. It even has the red, green blue and yellow teletext buttons and offers all the functionality of this one, just without the touch screen.

Simon J

June 15, 2009, 6:01 pm

Ohh and if you don't need the RF functionality then the 885 is cheaper and has all the same functionality of the 895 apart from the RF. Both have the motion sensor too.

Dan97c

June 15, 2009, 6:40 pm

I'm with Simon Johns on this. I have a Harmony 895, and it solves both important problems :


1) It manages all the various setup sequences between SKY/Virgin/Xbox/iPod Music/AV-AMP/TV while all my gear is hidden from view.


2) My wife just has one gadget she recognises as a remote control and so doesn't complain about complex (or perceivably expensive) technology in the living room!

Chris

June 15, 2009, 11:48 pm

I've owned 3 Prontos before getting a Harmony One. While the Pronto is infinately customisable (right down to making my own graphics in Photoshop) it took me 30 hours (!!) to set up for my system. I used to dread buying new AV kit because I'd have to set up the remote.





The Harmony took me 3 hours set set up perfectly, although it was usable after 30 minutes. Hard button remotes are the way to go and, at £90, the One is a bargain.





@Digital Fury: If this PS3 transceiver from Logitech never surfaces, there are a number of devices available that will perform the same job:


http://www.remotecentral.com/r...





I've had an IR4PS3 for over a year and it's an awesome device.

wingman3726

December 13, 2012, 10:30 am

I had read several reviews saying how difficult it was to configure the harmony 1100. They were right. It is supposed to be compatible with Mac but the software that comes with the unit was not set up for Mac. I had to go onto the Harmony website and find an updated file to download. I was unable to connect to the unit and finally had to call the help line. I was instructed on how to start the remote in safe mode. Once this was done I was able to upload the configuration into the device. The PVR I have would not work with the Harmony 1100. I had to contact the help line again to find out that I had to set the PVR IR address to 01. I then had to go onto a chat line with the PVR manufacturer on how to change the IR address. this is not part of the usual instructions that come with the PVR. I was not willing to give up and finally have it working well with all the devices. It was more like 4 hours of effort instead of the one hour that was expected.

Ronald Miller

September 23, 2013, 4:08 pm

Purchased the harmony 1100 a few weeks ago and I love it. My previous universal remote was a URC 50 but didn't want to go through the hassle of having a dealer configure it for me... For now on I will always go with a harmony universal remote.

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