Logitech Harmony One

If you're looking for a sturdy, workhorse remote and don't want to pay through the nose then the Logitech Harmony One is an excellent choice.

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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

If you have a home theatre system it's a good bet that you either own a universal remote or plan to buy one. No more scrabbling around behind the couch to find the remote you need, just use the same one for everything. We looked at a selection of remotes recently, and found the Logitech Harmony 785 to be the pick of the bunch. Now, its replacement is here.

In the olden times, before Logitech bought them, Harmony made chunky, easy-to-use remotes which were also updateable from the Web. The Harmony One could be seen as a return to those roots.

We'll ignore the fact that the remote is piano-black and subject to smudging because the remote is just so damn good.

The One is pleasingly solid with large buttons and an easy-to-read touchscreen. The remote fits well in the hand, and features a rubber backing which is curved to form three separate zones. These include the touchscreen, the direction-pad, and the number keys and transport buttons.

Though it may not appear so at first, all the hard buttons are backlit, which is great for use in the dark. To further enhance useability all of the "zones" feature their own unique ergonomics -- most notable of all is the textured D-Pad.

We like the placement of the transport buttons (play, pause etc) as they're located directly below the cursor keys. Some other universal remotes plonk the buttons right at the bottom which can be very inconvenient.

For a AU$400 remote (and we've seen it for as low as $315 on the tubes it certainly packs the features in. The two biggest ones are the dedicated charger -- into which the remote fits snugly -- and the large touchscreen.

One thing to consider is that the Harmony series does require the user to change the way they use their remote -- while most receiver remotes are "device-based" the Harmony's is "activity-based". This may mean you need to spend a little more time perfecting macros if your system is sufficiently complex.

Also, the "Activities" screen has changed a little from the Harmony 785 with only three activities listed at once instead of six. This isn't usually a problem, but sometimes it's easy to accidentally hit an Activity or Device button instead of the relatively small arrow button. We did like, however, the "Current Activity" button that displays when you're in Device mode and switches you immediately back to the activity you were on. Previous remotes meant you would have to press Activities and then press, say, Watch TV again and wait for all the devices to catch up. This simplifies the process.

We really enjoyed using the Harmony One -- it's friendly, easy to use and to explain to the less-technically minded. It's also quite hardy -- some of the company's previous remotes have been a little flaky, with the Logitech Harmony 520 in particular proving quite flimsy and unreliable in our experience. No such problems here.

Where any difficulties could be levelled at the remote is how comfortable you are with the Web interface. It's not always obvious which option you need to choose to alter the operation of the buttons, for example, when in Device mode. But given some experimentation it eventually becomes second-nature to program new devices in as you add them to your system.

If you're looking for a sturdy, workhorse remote and don't want to pay for the Logitech Harmony 1000i then the Harmony One is an excellent choice.

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ScottM6 Facebook

"A Step up from the 880"

ScottM6 posted a review   

The Good:Transfered old settings from 880 over easily

The Bad:Logitechs software is stil la bit restrictive and tries to be too 'user friendly'

I upgraded to the One after having had an 880 for years and it finally succumbed to the constant dropping and abuse with the battery cover cracking and no longer holding the battery in... making it almost impossible to charge.

The Harmony One has a much better battery enclosure design so i'm confident of another 2 years of abuse. The recharging base is a much better and easier fit. Navigation on the remote is also a big improvement off my previous 880, though the touchscreen feels nice it's not as fast to navigate as the old push button system.

Best part of the experience was loging in with the old remote, hitting 'update to new remote' and having the thing set up 99% as it was before. It lost some of the config i had for the split system A/C, but this was quickly recovered as i didn;t have to re-teach the commands, they just missed being selected and configured as i had them previously.

This is the first time i programmed in our Fetch TV unit and the process was slick - all of the Fetch and PVR functions are available on the remote and the navigation with them is intuitive matching very closely the original Fetch remote.

Highly recommend - these have drop a lot in price and i bought this from Dick Smith for less than i paid for the 880 when originally purchased. The improvements in this remote are excellent and i highly recommend to anyoen who wants a one stop solution. If i could program it to get me a beer from the fridge, it'd be perfect.

MatthewT Facebook

"On Monday 20th February 2012 I bought this so I can reduce the clutter of having 3 remotes in my room to save space because I thought it was an excellent price of $105 with postage of $12 from PC Case Gear."

MatthewT posted a review   

The Good:It is the best remote I ever had so far.

The Bad:No RF Support

An excellent little remote

RyanN Facebook

"Great solution to replace all those remotes!"

RyanN posted a review   

The Good:Ergonomic, Easy to Setup, Stylish

The Bad:No major downfalls!

Fantastic all in one remote to replace my 3 existing remotes.

Setup was very easy as long as you have all the model numbers of your equipment at hand, generally a very easy and intuitive process.

Within 20 minutes I had my remote controlling my devices exactly how I wanted, and the ability to change the remote's 'theme' was a nice touch - shame there aren't more themes available (or the ability to create your own).

Works fine with Foxtel, all existing remote functionality is handled well by the Harmony One (apart from the coloured buttons, which I have mentioned below).

Battery life is very good, I've only had to put in back in the cradle around once a week.

The only issues I could see (and I'm being very picky here) are:
- The ability to change the beep sound (rather than just on/off).
- Would like to see the red/blue/green/yellow buttons on the actual remote (much like the Foxtel remote).
- Syncing settings to the remote takes a little longer expected.
- The light on the base recharger is quite bright, not the best for use in bedrooms etc.


Ryan posted a comment   

I'm finally looking to get one of these. can anyone tell me how well does it cover the functionailty of the Foxtel (my most used) remote?


ZUL posted a review   

The Good:Definitely thinking of purchasing one

The Bad:Not much, considering the reviews i've read

Sounds like a pretty solid piece of hardware. I know why 'dspcquirka' had problems, he's using a MAC


gavmiester posted a comment   

The Good:best universal remote on the market under $500

The Bad:$190 for a remote is still a bit rich, but it is very good

Awesome remote. Took under 2hrs to configure with 6 devices. Too easy to program. Seems fairly strong, as its been dropped a dozen times and still going. After 4 or 5 months, it is basically just a very solid product. Recharge holds for me for 2-3 weeks.
Looks Great......ended up liking it so much I bought a second one for the other room. Get this at $190 over the other Harmony remotes...unless you can afford the 1000 series that is.


dave posted a comment   

The Good:Haven't bought one yet

The Bad:Hopefully nothing

LOL at the defensive Mac owner - "it's not my computer, i've got the latest iMac"...


Eph posted a review   

The Good:Everything - ergonomics, design, functionality, ease of use

The Bad:Limited ability to program a sequence of buttons

Almost perfect - it was very simple to setup, is extremely powerful and very easy to use.
Replaced six confusing remotes with one simple to use, comfortable to hold and intuitive remote. Haven't had to any of the other remotes since.
The only issue I have is that you can only program sequences of up to six button presses. This is only a limitation if you are trying to access a feature that is hidden deep within the menu and the original remote does not have a button for.

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User Reviews / Comments  Logitech Harmony One

  • ScottM6



    "I upgraded to the One after having had an 880 for years and it finally succumbed to the constant dropping and abuse with the battery cover cracking and no longer holding the battery in... making it..."

  • MatthewT



    "An excellent little remote"

  • RyanN



    "Fantastic all in one remote to replace my 3 existing remotes.

    Setup was very easy as long as you have all the model numbers of your equipment at hand, generally a very easy and intuiti..."

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