The worst part of using any universal remote is the setup procedure. Not only does it constitute you teaching one device to act like another, you do it multiple times and expect the poor thing not to crumble into a heap of transistors.
We’re happy to report that the Logitech Harmony 200 offers the most painless setup of any Harmony product we’ve used yet, primarily because it’s simpler than its brothers. To get started, you simply plug the remote into a computer.
Use Logitech’s device detector browser plug-in and you don’t even have to say which device you’re using. The software is browser-based, never our platform of choice, and doesn’t support Macs, but plugs into the same device database that powers Logitech’s £300 Harmony 1100. It features more than 225,000 devices, and is the most complete of any database of this type we’ve used.
It appears to be updated regularly too, as the holes we spotted while reviewing the Logitech Harmony 650 have since been plugged. Good work, Logitech.
To get the basics working in your Harmony 200, you simply have to select the three devices you want it to work with, one by one. These will be, rather unhelpfully, labelled either TV, Cable or DVD on the remote – how many of you consider yourselves to have a Cable box rather than a Sky box or PVR? Like the glossy/matt divide on the body, though, it’s something you’ll quickly get used to.
As long as the original devices’ functions are properly logged within the Harmony database, all the main functions will automatically be mapped to the 200’s buttons. We found there were invariably some strays, but these can be re-mapped manually to any key you like. It’s simply a case of dragging the original remote’s function, on the right hand-side of the screen, onto a visual representation of the 200’s buttons, on the left. Just drag and drop functions to reconfigure
These strays will be the functions that can’t be intuitively mapped onto the standard controls – the Harmony 200 doesn’t just jam features onto buttons that don’t signpost that feature. We found that the colour buttons – used to navigate through interactive services and EPGs on Sky and Freeview boxes – were very useful as “generic” extra buttons (when not featured in the original remote, of course).
Logitech’s more expensive Harmony controllers are macro-heavy, offering plenty of buttons that will execute several commands from a single press. There’s just the one here – Watch TV. This will turn on the required devices and set your TV/home cinema amp to the right channel, ready to roll.
Like the 3-device limit, the basic macro-support pegs the Logitech Harmony 200 as a buy for those with a basic living room setup – a TV, Blu-ray player and Sky box, for example – but the simplicity this brings shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s a lot friendlier than the rather occasionally-imposing Harmony 650.