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Hardware Review Logitech Harmony Elite: Home Theater Forum Review

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    [​IMG]
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    Harmony Elite
    Advanced Universal Remote Control, Hub, and App



    "There can be little argument that Logitech's Harmony Elite is the brand's best and most elaborate remote to date"



    ​I usually begin these reviews by talking a bit about my love for Logitech remotes. I have been reviewing Logitech remotes for over 6 years now starting with the Harmony One and just about every product that has been released since. I was using these remotes before most people even knew about them. I have bought them as gifts for friends and family. Everyone I know that owns a Logitech remote has been amazed by its simplicity to program and operate.

    Logitech has just introduced its newest remote to its Harmony line. The Logitech Harmony Elite advanced universal remote is certainly not revolutionary to what has come before it, but does address some shortcomings that were absent from its Harmony Ultimate that was released in 2013.

    In this review I am going to be doing a lot of comparing between the Harmony Elite and the Harmony Ultimate. Truth be, both these remotes are the very best in their class and represent the pinnacle of what Logitech presently offers in their remote line. In both software and functionality, these remotes pretty much operate in similar fashion. The differences between both models lie mostly in hardware revisions. With an approximate $100 difference in price between the Elite and Ultimate, I would suspect most readers would want to know what they gain by purchasing the more expensive remote.

    Let me begin by talking about the new Harmony Elite...


    OUT OF THE BOX


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    The Logitech Harmony Elite remote arrives boxed with companion hub, charging station, USB cable, two power adapters and two IR blasters. It is recommended that you immediately put the remote into its power cradle to give it a full charge prior to programming and usage.

    Using the time it takes to initially charge your remote, I would recommend taking a piece of paper and doing the following...

    * Write down the brand and model number of every component in your home theater system. This includes your display, receiver, Blu-ray/DVD players, satellite box and streaming player.

    * Make note of each device's connection to the display and the receiver. For instance, which HDMI input is being used by each component when going to the receiver or display?

    Taking these notes in advance will ensure a quick and painless setup. In fact, if there are no hiccups along the way, initial setup could take under 15 minutes.



    SETUP


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    Not the most flattering photo, I admit, but at the heart of the system lies the Harmony Hub. It will be the first thing you power up when setting up your device. In short, the hub receives commands, wirelessly, via RF signals from the Harmony remote. The hub, in turn, generates the proper IR or bluetooth signals to control the home theater components in your home. The hub does not need to be in direct line of sight, so it can be placed practically anywhere in your room. I placed my hub on my rack system and I still needed to place two IR blasters beneath my receiver and my Tivo unit as they were not receiving commands. I would have loved to see more than two IR blaster inputs provided, but realize the importance of keeping the hub compact.


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    The easiest way to begin programming your remote is to obtain the MyHarmony computer application for Windows or Mac. It can be downloaded from: https://setup.
     
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  2. davidmatychuk

    davidmatychuk Cinematographer

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    Great, thorough review, Ronald. I'm still loving my Harmony One, but it looks like the Elite is finally worthy as an upgrade or replacement should the time come. I can't say I like the lack of dedicated number buttons, which I find useful on a regular basis, but other than that the Elite looks pretty damn good.
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I suppose that the lack of dedicated numbers was a decision in keeping the smaller form factor. They are very useful on the Harmony One.
     
  4. Raul Marquez

    Raul Marquez Supporting Actor

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    As usual, a great review Ron.


    However, after buying the Harmony Ultimate last year based on your previous review, I find no compelling reason to buy the Elite at the present time.


    One thing I've had problems with, though, is adding the Logitech Keyboard remote to my Ultimate system since apparently each can only be paired to to one specific hub. I wonder if this issue has been dealt with on the Elite. In the short run I guess that I'll probably will not need it once a new Apple TV with voice commands becomes part of my system.
     
  5. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer

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    Ugh. I HATE that this doesn't have dedicated numbers. This might be a deal breaker for me. I'm a creature of habit and I use numbers regularly to select channels.
     
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    The numbers are available on the touchscreen as you slide through different functions.


    Yes, understood...not optimal...but I do want to make certain that I mention that they are there.
     
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  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Ron,
    Thanks for this review!


    I bought my Harmony One in January 2008. (for $100! I got a great deal.) It was crucial to marital harmony :) Eight years later, I'm open to an upgrade. Actually I was interested in 2013, but the Ultimate didn't impress.

    The Elite looks good. But I've got questions I hope you can help with.

    The Verge's review said you can program with the iOS (or Android) app, rather than the (mediocre) Mac app. Can you confirm this?

    Does the hub itself work as an IR blaster? Or do I have to buy and run those mini wired IR dongles to every device I want controlled?

    Can it control the TiVo Roamio by RF?

    Speaking of TiVo: it looks like Logitech has killed dedicated buttons for jump back and jump forward (vs Rewind and Fast Forward). How do you use those features? Is it easy, since those are the bread and butter of TiVo watching?
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Great review and much thanks for posting it. I just ordered this remote from Logitech!


    Ron,


    I do have a question. If I use this remote for my main HT setup downstairs, can I use my iPhone to act as a remote for my Bedroom HT setup while using my iPad as a remote for my Computer Room HT setup?
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Nice :)


    If the jump-back feature for Tivo is available in a comfortable manner and the Hub works as an IR blaster, I'll probably buy the Ultimate by my Birthday next year, if not sooner. (A nice upgrade, but my Harmony One still works, so no rush.)
     
  10. nanook

    nanook Auditioning

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    I can't speak to the jump-back feature for the Tivo, but most-definitely the Hub has one hell-of-an IR blaster, that for many set-ups negates the need to use either of the two Mini-Blasters, provided with the Elite.
     
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  11. Raul Marquez

    Raul Marquez Supporting Actor

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    I agree, the IR blaster on the Hub for my Ultimate remote is awesome. No need for mini-blasters.
     
  12. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the detailed review Ron, and I for one am glad that (in my opinion, of course) Logitech finally has a viable universal remote once again.


    I use the classic Harmony One myself, which still looks like it's new and works perfectly after many years of faithful service. I also have fond memories of my old Harmony 880, which did a great job for many years prior to that.


    But earlier this year the Harmony 550 I bought for my parents way back in 2006 - a wonderfully simple but elegant and highly functional universal remote - started acting up. I went looking for a new remote for them, and was somewhat surprised to see that the current Harmony range appeared woefully designed. The Harmony 350 is too low-end, lacking a screen of any kind, while the mid-range Harmony 650 - aside from looking like it's taken a severe beating from the ugly stick - has many reports of problems with its battery holder.


    So I figured the Harmony Ultimate was the only choice for my parents, despairing that it might also be my only option if my Harmony One died. I just couldn't get over the silly button placement on the Harmony Ultimate though, and fortunately I ended up fixing the issue on my parent's 550 so that I didn't have to order one.


    Anyhow, the bottom line is that I'm now extremely glad, for my parent's sake as well as my own, that they redesigned the Harmony Elite to have a good button layout so that we have something to go for when it inevitably comes time to replace one or both of our aging remotes! The lack of number buttons is irrelevant to us as neither of us watch any TV channels (it's all discs + Netflix).
     
  13. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I can't speak for the jump-back feature either. I have a Tivo. Of course, I use the Ultimate/Elite with the unit, but never used that feature.


    I am glad to hear that some of you are having no problems using the hub as a general IR blaster. Wish I could say that I have been as successful. I have the hub situated right on my rack, above most of my equipment. It has a difficult time controlling two devices, so I had to run IR blasters to both devices. Now mind you, this really is an isolated case. When I had my HT in my old home theater I did not have this problem.




    Crawdaddy, I think you will be extremely happy with this remote.


    Do you already have a Logitech remote with its own hub for the other home theater?


    If you have two hubs, you can control one hub with your iPhone and the other with your iPad. Each device just connects to its own hub. Or, each device can connect to the same hub.


    Hope I understood your question correctly.
     
  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    No one uses tivo's 15-second rewind button (vs the standard rewind)? I thought that was a workhorse feature for TiVo viewing.

    I think I read for the Elite, that feature was available by swiping the touchscreen. I assume it's the same for the Ultimate. But I don't know how that "feels", and it's a key feature; use it all the time.
     
  15. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  16. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Ron,


    Let me rephrase my question. I have three different HT setups in my home. Each HT setup has more than one disc player, one Roku, one Apple TV, one DirecTV along with the necessary A/V receiver and plasma display. Do I need to purchase another remote plus Hub to control all of those units across three different HT setups? Or can I do so with just this Elite Remote and Hub for my main HT setup while using my iPhone and iPad as functional remotes for the other two HT setups?
     
  17. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I can't officially say no...


    ...but I really don't think so.


    Each hub seems limited to the room/surrounding area.
     
  18. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    In short, I need another remote and hub? Or can I just get another hub alone?
     
  19. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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  20. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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