Logitech Harmony 1100i

Stylish but spartan, the Logitech Harmony 1100i is a luxurious tablet-style universal remote, and while a step up from the previous model it has its disadvantages.


7.3
CNET Rating
8.0
User Rating

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CNET Editor

Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury


Design
If you've seen the Harmony 1000i then the design of the 1100i will seem familiar. While it's had a few tweaks to the design, it's essentially the same remote with a new paint job. When we saw it on display at CES 2009 we thought it felt a lot lighter than the original. Logitech, amused by this, told us the new model is actually a few grams heavier. Well, they do say black is slimming.

The remote is still a two-handed design, and sits quite comfortably. The device consists of a 3.5-inch colour touchscreen on the left, and there is a selection of hard buttons on the right including a D pad, channel, volume, back and page up/down buttons. For some reason, the CH and VOL rockers have switched sides, which could be an issue if you upgrade from the older remote.

The desktop stand remains from before, but like the Harmony One we wish it had a USB port to allow the remote to charge while you update it. Though, the Harmony does seem to fit better in the cradle this time around — and the back seems a little different to accommodate this.

Features
Tablet-style remotes are almost a category on their own, and are usually associated with home automation with the help of remotes by the likes of Control 4 and the Philips Pronto range. However, the 1100i is actually not as advanced as some of its competitors, and could be considered the Harmony One in a different form-factor. While there is a Logitech Harmony RF Extender available for controlling devices which use RF codes, it won't allow users to control the PlayStation 3 as it uses proprietary Bluetooth. It could also enable users to get around the previous remote's difficulties with multi-room. But a further dampener to its automation compatibility is that the remote also lacks Z-Wave compatibility, which may be an issue for some.

As you'd expect with a remote consisting mostly of a touchscreen, each activity is broken down into a series of up to four screens — one for each corner of the remote. Each screen can consist of whatever controls, and to some extent graphics, that you want. Usually you'll get a page of Play/Pause controls, another for numbers, and another for favourites, for example. To access each page you press a different corner of the screen. Whereas the advantage to a remote like the One, is that most of these buttons are already at your fingertips and there's no flipping between screens to get the control you want. Meanwhile, while we appreciate the use of a dedicated "Activities" button, a hard "Devices" button would have also been useful.

Performance
The Harmony 1100i won the "Design and Engineering Award: Best of Innovations" at CES, but to be honest we're not as enamoured by it. While it looks great and will impress the pants off visitors it's quite constrained by its lack of hard buttons. But some of the problems we experienced with the 1100i are ones we would have if we started with any Logitech remote from scratch. While the web interface allows a lot of power, it can be frustrating to get everything to work as you want it.

For example, the Logitech device didn't have the six-month old Sony STRDA5400 receiver on file — only the 5300, so we had to reteach it all the buttons we knew it already had from previously setting it up on the Harmony One. Four different pages to each activity — most with duplicated buttons. It's tedious teaching each page which activity it should be using.

But it's not all bad news, when the Harmony 1100i works it works elegantly. While we've noticed some quirks with our Logitech One (particularly in that the touchscreen can perform the wrong action if you don't touch the icon you want with mathematical precision), we noticed no such problems with the 1100i. There is also sufficient space between the icons so that the risk of touching the wrong thing by accident is reduced.

In the end we found ourselves reaching for the Harmony One each time instead. Admittedly, we've spent a lot of time setting the One up, but its plethora of ergonomically-designed hard buttons makes it more intuitive and pleasurable to use. And while we're on the topic of ergonomics, the 1100i requires you to use two hands to control it — which limits its flexibility. You could always lay it down on a table, though.

Conclusion
Touchscreen remotes are a matter of preference, but if you are used to remotes with more "buttons" then you may find it hard to come to terms with the Logitech. Adding to this, our crappy dollar has meant Logitech has tacked an extra hundred dollars or two on its remote products, and the 1100i suffers because of this. There is no way we could in all conscience pay AU$900 for this remote control. Especially when the Harmony One can be had online for AU$199.



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Dave posted a comment   

I have a question. Can you use the 1100i to control a Telstra T-Box?

 

sat posted a comment   

Thanks greg ,

very good point on rf capability , the us model 1100 is what we need here.1100i is not rf capable. im now holding off to buy in aus. ill rather buy online from usa.

great white
8
Rating
 

great white posted a review   
Australia

The Good:touchscreen, compatible with a lot of devices

The Bad:long charge, takes a bit to configure some set ups

Happy with this, looks nice and love the touchscreen. I did have a little trouble setting some of my devices up though.

 

Greg posted a comment   

The Good:Compatible with loads of devices

The Bad:No RF capability.

IR is sooo last century. You must keep the remote pointed at the devices while it activates them. Bring on bluetooth already!!

 

turbo posted a comment   

The Good:easy to load devides

The Bad:RF extender is not compatible with 1100i

Despite what this review says be careful , the 1100i is not compatible with the RF extender. Don't get burnt like i did. The 1100 (us model) is not the 1100i (Aus model) due to the frequencies that are used.

 

Greg posted a reply   

Absolutely. I was told the 1100i is the same thing as the 1100. Even the Logitech call centre didn't know an rf model was different

 

rabbit posted a comment   

The Good:Touchscreen, Slim form-factor, Lightweight

The Bad:In-acurate setup guide, Long 1st charge

This remote seems great at specs, and is once you get past the two day long period in which you have to navigate the uncharted seas of Logitech's setup software and horrible "Demonstration Mode"! Over all it's a good remote, but its worth having someone who has done the setup before help you...




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User Reviews / Comments  Logitech Harmony 1100i

  • Dave

    Dave

    "I have a question. Can you use the 1100i to control a Telstra T-Box?"

  • sat

    sat

    "Thanks greg ,

    very good point on rf capability , the us model 1100 is what we need here.1100i is not rf capable. im now holding off to buy in aus. ill rather buy online from usa."

  • great white

    great white

    Rating8

    "Happy with this, looks nice and love the touchscreen. I did have a little trouble setting some of my devices up though."

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