Early and Quick Review of Logitech Harmony One

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by DaveF, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    The new Logitech Harmony One is available in stores: I bought one tonight. Here's a quick review.

    This is my first high-end remote. My remote for the past 8 years is the marvelous Radio Shack 15-1994. But as much as I like it, it's showing its age: it doesn't support my new Tivo and my wife gets frustrated the limited macros I can create for it.

    So, thanks to gift cards and coupons, we decided to upgrade to the One. I'm a fan of hard-button remotes; touch-screen remotes have never appealed to me. But their flexibility is not to be denied. The One looked like it might strike near perfect balance: well designed hard-button layout with an attracive touch-screen LCD for to complete the control system.

    Setup was easy: After installing the control software and having charged the remote in its base station, I plugged it in with a USB cord and ran the control software. It walked me through setting up an account -- this is all done with a web-driven app, so internet access is necessary it seems.

    The software asks for the model numbers of my electronics. Five minutes with a flashlight peering at the back of my TV, etc got that data. It identified correctly my TV, DVD, and receiver. It had troubles with the Tivo.

    It took me through a series of steps to determine what I the device was: it told me to aim the Tivo remote at the rear of the One and press the power button. And here is a very clever feature: the input sensor, to read codes from other remotes is at the tail of the One. Rather than facing them head to head and trying to press buttons upside down on one of the remotes, you aim the old remote at the bottom of the One, so they are both easily managed.

    After pressing a few more buttons, the software asked me a couple more questions, and then gave me its, correct, recommendation for what it thought the Tivo was.

    With my four devices identified, it asked what activities I'd like to have. It suggested: Watch Tivo, Watch DVD, Listen to Radio, and Listen to CD. I accepted these as is. It programmed my remote, and I unplugged the cable.

    And the One gave a tutorial on its LCD!

    Tutorial over, the remote went to its normal activity screen. Three LCD buttons were shown for Watch DVD, Listen Radio, Listen CD; tapping the side arrow took me to the second screen with Watch Tivo. And activities are the magic, the feature that my wife wanted. The One is smart, tracking what's on and off, and what their settings are.

    Pressing Watch Tivo turns the TV and receiver on, and sets the various inputs correctly. The LCD then changes to show Tivo-specific options. And the hard-buttons control the Tivo. Volume "punch-through" was correctly set -- that is, controlling the volume by the receiver is also automatic, setup during the software process. Tapping the Activities hard button and then the Watch DVD toggles receiver and TV inputs and turns on the DVD player. Changing to Listen Radio turns off the TV and DVD, and sets the radio to FM.

    A quick test of buttons for the DVD, Tivo, and Radio found that all the important features were set correctly and sensibly. There remain a few secondary buttons that I need to determine how to set; for example, the "info" button to show the time-remaining on DVDs did get programmed.

    Next, I need to learn how to add custom buttons and rearrange buttons on the LCD screen.

    It took about 30 minutes to setup the One; most of that was simple button clicking in the guided software tool. It was almost disappointing, it was so easy. My old 15-1994 was practically a hobby, programming it could take hours of trial and error. I created custom button maps to remember what the half-size "LAST" button did in the various modes. In contrast, the One just worked. There's a bit more work to do to get it just right. But I could leave it alone and probably be just fine.

    The One is pricey at $250. But if you need a good remote, partcularly one the whole family can use without cheat sheets or remembering arcane button mappings, the One is a good way to get to just one remote.
     
  2. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Thanks for the review Dave. I've been curious about the Harmony One.

    As a long-time Harmony owner, sounds like you had the typical positive setup experience. The software is so much better now than it was 5 years ago, but even then, configuration was pretty easy.
     
  3. Chuck King

    Chuck King Agent
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    What are the differences between the Harmony One and the 880? I see they both have the same MSRP.
     
  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Joe - Glad you liked it. I'm never at the fore of new gadgets, so it's nice to finally be the one with the early comments [​IMG] And yes, the setup process was smooth. Getting the Tivo put in was a bit confusing, and I took a few tries to figure it out. But it worked fine and was easy to back up and try again. Everything else, so far, has been super easy.

    Chuck - I was going to buy the 880 until I learned about the One. The button layout of the One is more informed by usability: the buttons are better designed and have a better layout and organization. Also, the One has a touch-sensitive LCD screen, while the 880 uses side buttons aligned with the screen.
     
  5. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Yeah, the biggest thing has been button layout. On my 659, the transport commands (play/pause/rev/ff/rec) were all down at the bottom, which was hard to reach with your thumb using one hand.

    Looking over newer models, they continue to improve the button positions. I'll probably get a One in a year or so unless they come out with a new "next best thing" before then.
     
  6. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll Supporting Actor

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    Edit: I should read all of the thread before replying. [​IMG]
     
  7. Paul_Fisher

    Paul_Fisher Screenwriter

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    Anyway to tell what devices the Logitech Harmony has in it's database? I want to make sure my TV and everything is in the database before I purchase.
     
  8. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Download and install the software and create an account. You can actually completely setup and configure the remote before it's ever in your hand.

    I've yet to see anyone complain of an IR-receiving device not in the database.
     
  9. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Picked one of these up a couple of days ago, but there was a clear rattle coming from the remote. Sometimes this is merely the battery contacts, so I inserted the battery, but the rattle remained.

    So I took it back and exchanged it. Got the new unit out, and... the exact same rattle. [​IMG]

    Dave, does yours rattle?? I have an older Harmony model which is solid and silent. I'm hoping the store I bought it from just got a bad batch.
     
  10. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    My 659 has bounced onto our tile floor any number of times. I hope the Harmony One isn't easily susceptible to damage from dropping, especially while still in its packaging.
     
  11. Chuck King

    Chuck King Agent
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    I believe that rattle is the sensor that turns the unit on when you pick it up and is completely normal.
     
  12. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    [​IMG] That's the mechanical motion sensor: the remote lights up automatically when tilted up or down. They all rattle when shaken (but not stirred).
     
  13. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Good to know.
     
  14. Mike.B

    Mike.B Stunt Coordinator

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    For what it's worth, I've never owned a universal remote before but have recently been thinking that it was time to get one. Did a decent amount of research online and on Sunday I chose the Harmony One. It was a great decision. I absolutely love it.

    The last couple days I've found myself itching to get home from work if for no other reason than to hold the remote. [​IMG] Setup was incredibly easy and tweaking/customizing the settings was also quite simple. Switching back and forth between different components is so easy that I'm scratching my head as to why I didn't do this soonner. The only negative (which goes for any universal remote) is that the PS3 doesn't work with it (haven't yet purchased one of the available usb add-ons to allow some PS3 functionality, not everything will work flawlessly with it). Not a dealbreaker though.
     
  15. Craig S

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    Thanks for the confirmation, guys. I was a little dismayed that this rattle was normal, but I have to admit that in everyday use it's really not noticeable.

    I've been a Harmony user for a couple of years; the One is an upgrade for me. The Harmony 680 i've been using is a great remote; but the One outdoes it in every way. The unit is well-built and classy-looking. The buttons feel more solid & responsive, and, as mentioned before, the layout is improved. This is the remote that may finally get me to give up my beloved TiVo "Peanut" (IMO the best dedicated remote ever made).

    Logitech made it really easy to upgrade - just click the "Replace Remote" button in the software, plug the new remote in, and the software did the rest. Ten minutes later it was ready to go!! The only thing that didn't transfer over was custom button settings and it only took a few minutes to redo those.

    The Harmony line has always been THE choice for universal remotes "for the rest of us". It's nice to see Logitech is not resting on their laurels, and continues to improve & refine the line. The Harmony One is highly recommended.
     
  16. Adam Sanchez

    Adam Sanchez Supporting Actor

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    My good friend got this for me and my wife last week as a sort of late Wedding Gift and I just wanted to chime in and say how wonderful it is. I am already a happy owner of a 880 and the only reason we needed a new remote is now that we have own own place, we needed 1 for each room. So the One is now showcased in the living room and the 880, still going strong is now our bedroom remote.

    The 880 was the best remote I ever used, and the One is simply better in every way. Love the layout, the touch screen is really nice, and it's easy to use. Having already used the 880, the One was instantly familar to me.

    I'd recommend it to anyone.
     
  17. AmusingistheDawn

    AmusingistheDawn Stunt Coordinator

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    Is it easy to use with Dish Network?
     
  18. Martino

    Martino Supporting Actor

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    My pronto finally gave up after the kids dropped it numerous times - so I got a harmony one for fathers day.

    I would like to add a link to a site I found that offers custom color icons to use with this remote - setting up your favorite channels was never easier and these look very cool. You just shop for the channels you want - it zips them up for you and sends you an e-mail with the icons....all at no charge:

    http://www.iconharmony.com/icons/watchtv?category=harmonyOne

    After making several custom macros for the pronto - I was blown away on how nice this remote is. No longer do I have to make a custom macro to turn everything off based on what I'm doing at the time - this thing knows what you turned on - so one off button works no matter what mode you are in. Also - no custom macros to switch between activities - you just push one button. So if you are watching TV and want to switch to a movie - just push the Watch DVD button - it will turn off your TV receiver for you and setup to watch a movie.

    I like the hard buttons - and it works well with the DirecTV box - the "go to the previous channel I was watching" hard coded button works great.

    The best feature is the "help" button. If for some reason one of your macros did not work - you hit the help button. It then asks you yes/no questions until the problem is solved. My TV is getting old, and sometimes it doesn't turn on with the macro. You push the Help button - it will ask "Is the TV ON" - you say No....then it tries and asks you again until the TV is on - then it will ask "did that fix the problem" - if it is now on the wrong input - you say no....then it will ask you about the input and try until that is working and all is well.

    My wife no longer gives me calls asking me how to fix anything with the system....the remote more than pays for itself....it might have been more of a mothers day present....
     

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