Logitech Harmony One Remote Control Review

Hmmm. What kind of fool spends the thick end of 100 quid on a remote control?

I think we both know the answer to that question.

It was one of my (many) Christmas presents to myself. I can remember when the only remote control that was available for your telly was a brick, and you could only use it once to turn the TV off.....But now we have five or so remotes floating around the living room and changing from one device to another means pressing buttons on most of them. So I thought that a programmable remote that supports multiple devices would be a good plan. And I had just got paid.....

Turns out that it works rather well. Setting it up is something you have to work at though. You run the program supplied on a disk with the device and then it goes on line and forces you to register so that you can then tell it all the devices that you own. It then downloads the control codes from the Internet and you plug the remote into a USB port so these can be squirted into it. You now have a single controller that you can use to control everything. If you have a device that it doesn't know about it has a learn function that you can use with the existing remote. I'm wondering if I could teach it to control my helicopter....

Anyhoo, once you have got all your devices identified the fun really begins. You can now create "Activities" which perform a sequence of actions across them. So, to watch TV mine now turns on the amplifier, selects the correct input, turns on the TV, selects the correct input on that and then tells the Media PC to output Live TV. When I switch to something else it makes the appropriate changes to the settings and so on. When I press the power button it turns off all the devices that it knows are turned on. You have a lot of control over precisely what each activity involves and the keys that are exposed to the user and what they do when they are pressed.

The hardware itself is very swish, and it comes with a docking cradle which also serves to charge up the built in battery. You even get a cleaning cloth (which works great on spectacles as well).

For someone like me, who quite enjoys fiddling around with things to make them work, it is wonderful. You can even make it display pictures on the tiny colour touch screen on the top. If you expect it to solve all your problems right out of the box you are in for a tough time though.