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.