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In a technology landscape filled with flat smartphones and tablets, universal remotes are one of the last types of gadgets that are decked out with a full suite of old-fashioned hard buttons. Or, at least, they were.

The new Logitech Harmony Touch remote aims to bridge the gap between old-fashioned clickers brimming with buttons and the new wave of button-less tablets and smartphones — or, at least, split the difference between the two. The accessory maker's newest high-end remote sports a 2.4-inch colour touchscreen, flanked by fewer buttons than found on most previous Harmony remotes (but far more than you'll find on a tablet or phone). The AU$250 remote features the same web-based programming and activity-based controls (such as "Watch TV") that have made Harmony remotes so popular, but the focus is clearly on the touchscreen, which takes up about a third of the length of the remote.

The touchscreen can be used to select activities and devices, and to access functions that don't have a dedicated button on the remote. You can also program the screen to respond to customised gestures, such as simply swiping up or down to control volume.

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