Tuesday January 22, 2013 11:05 pm
Logitech Harmony Touch review
For a number of years, the Logitech Harmony One has been recognized as the best universal remote control, and now the company is back with the Harmony Touch. What's changed? Well, the Harmony Touch controls are focused mainly on its capacitive touchscreen, which is front and center. A lot of the typical controls that you'd typically have hardware keys for are moved to the touchscreen, which supports taps and swipe gestures. The goal here is to make is super easy for those of you who have a bunch of devices connected to your television or receiver, allowing you to swap between each with ease. The question is, does it do it's job as expected, and is it better than the Harmony One? Follow along in our full Logitech Harmony Touch review as we explore these answers.
IN THE BOX
- Logitech Harmony Touch remote control
- Charging dock
- AC Adapter
- Micro USB cable
- Instruction manual
When you remove the Logitech Harmony Touch from the box, you immediately get a feeling that it's a premium product (and it should be, since it's priced at $249!) The rear has a soft-touch textured layer, and is shaped in a way that encourages you to hold it by the bottom half. It's a bit strange initially, since typically you'll hold a remote anywhere you'd like, whether it be the center, or even near the top, depending on which features you are hoping to reach.
Why, then, does the Harmony Touch have you hold the unit near the bottom? The answer is simple: so that you are tilting the touchscreen display towards your face, similar to how you'd hold a smartphone. Rather than the remote needing to be pointed straight ahead, the IR blaster is tilted in such a way that you can use the remote while having it tilted up instead of pointed away.
The shiny black dock matches up with the Harmony Touch perfectly, and looks nice. The device has a rechargeable battery on the inside, so you don't need to swap batteries. Instead, simply place it in the dock, which has an AC adapter.
The Logitech Harmony Touch ditches the Logitech Harmony Remote Software in favor of the newer MyHarmony system. The web-based interface looks great, and it's simple to use. As long as you use the typical functions of your devices, and as long as your devices are within a couple of years old, you should have no issues. You configure your activities in the MyHarmony interface, and then sync everything over to the remote when you're all done. You can configure anything for any device in any activity. You can add, remove, or reorder the touch control buttons as well as any of the physical buttons as well. If there's a function that is missing, you can teach the remote those commands within MyHarmony.
USING THE HARMONY TOUCH
Once you've completed setting up the remote through the MyHarmony software, you're ready to use it with your various devices. That includes typical items like your HDTV, Blu-ray player, DVR, and receiver, as well as more obscure items like a HTPC, Mac, video game consoles, and set-top boxes.
The remote has an accelerometer on the inside, which allows the display to come on whenever you pick up the unit. The Home screen features all of your programmed activities, which you can swipe through with ease. When you find the one you want, simply tap it, and the remote goes to work getting all of your devices powered on and set to the correct inputs.
Gallery: Logitech Harmony Touch unboxing
There are no hardware number button on this one, which means you need to use the touchscreen when you want to enter a specific channel on your cable DVR. It's a sign of the times--we rarely every type in the number of a station, opting instead to use the guide, and we'd imagine many others are in the same boat. Removing the 4 rows of number keys allows the remote to be more compact, while still letting you access the buttons through the touch interface.
Another option is the Favorites section. You can save up to 50 of your favorite channels to the remote for quick access, eliminating the need for both the number buttons, as well as bringing up the guide.
The Logitech Harmony Touch is a great remote control that has a small learning curve. You need to give it a few days to really grow on you, since it introduces a few new concepts and changes how you use a remote, both from an interface perspective and a physical perspective. It's worth it though, because this is a truly universal remote that can replace all others, with the ability to control all but RF-only devices.
When would you wanna go with something more like the Harmony One? If you like having your remote buttons where they are and don't mind a lack of direct access to features. With the Harmony Touch, you'll be navigating the touchscreen for many functions, and you have to look at the touchscreen to make sure you are hitting the right option. With something like the Harmony One, you can use muscle memory and you'll know where all your keys are by touch.
If the Logitech Harmony Touch sounds like it's up your alley, they sell for $249.99. A quick check of Amazon shows that you can pick one up for $217, a savings of $32.
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