Logitech Harmony 1100 universal remote control
One to rule them all?
Review The latest in Logitech's line of universal remotes is essentially a revamp of a product the company introduced more than two years ago. The 1100 is all about refining the old Harmony 1000 for the design demands of 2009's consumer rather than 2006's.
First impressions are good. This time round the brushed metal upper surface has been tinted black and together with the soft-touch back gives the 1100 an attractive appearance as well as a comfortable feel in the hand.
Logitech's Harmony 1100: just like the 1000, only black
What separates the 1100 from Logitech's other Harmony remotes is its big, 3.5in, 320 x 240 touchscreen, which presents a simple menu of activities, such as 'Watch TV', 'Play Game' and 'Listen to Music'. Tap one and provided the unit's been set up, it'll tell all the right bits of equipment to come out of standby and get ready to play.
Like the 1000, the 1100 also has a five-way navpad, along with up and down keys for channel and volume. We can't help think it a shame that Logitech didn't provide all these through the touchscreen UI this time round.
The 1100 comes with a USB-connected cradle that both charges up its built-in battery but also lets it talk to Logitech's set-up software. An initial charge of five hours is necessary to get the unit up and running. Once you have power, it's time to configure the controller with all of your kit.
Comfortable in the hand
You do need to get the make and model number of every unit in your stack, which means crawling around on the floor and realising that you really must dust more often.
@Iain & the myth of standby power
Strangely my 40" LCD TV and Home theatre set-up use less than 0.2 of a Watt/hour combined on stand-by according to the specs (actually the amp list 0.03W/hr). Read the specs on your gear, you're probably using a damn sight more power keeping a mobile phone on all the time...
@AC no 2
Yes - I was and am seriously upset.
I'm also surprised that no-one else took it that seriously.
But OK - perhaps I'm more easily offended than most about the idea of making a joke about rape, or equating being staggered by the price with rape. I'd be curious to know if our moderatrix just missed the comment.
Oh - the remote control. £350 is stupid money. Enough said.
NO El Reg - buttons ARE good!
The last thing you want in a remote control is it to be completely touchscreen!
That means you're always having to look at the screen for even simple functions like flicking through channels and the volume, or other "red button" navigation and stuff. With a 'real buttons' remote it's completely "Eyes Free" - much easier to use with a TV etc. than constantly having to check that your fingers are hitting the spot.
Touchscreen is good for those quick setup things (like switching everything on), but leave the tactile response stuff for frequent use.
My whinge about other universal remotes
Even though the web application to set the thing up isnt the best bit of kit, it's better than going through a list of codes in a booklet and then trying each one out because the code that matches your equipment doesnt actually work.
If you also buy a bit of kit from overseas, chances are that your model isnt listed in the booklet. Vice versa too if you buy an universal remote from another region.
I've tried learning remotes, which is nice if you still have the remote to teach, but to learn every single button is royal pain. Of course, it isnt necessary to learn every single button but when you can, why not. Especially if your remote actually has extra functionality which isn't available on the original remote. Like my Loewe VCR. It has the functionality to fast forward 30 seconds but there was no button for it on the original remote, yet the profile downloaded through the web had it, and it worked.
I've also use omniRemote on a palm V. The problem there is that my Loewe has a higher frequency that it can detect so it can't learn it.
There are many things you wish it could do better, and the price is something to consider but I quite like my Harmony 785. I do wish the buttons were bigger, which is why the touch screen would be great if only it wasnt so expensive.
For the poster who stated about Bluetooth... go and find another device that uses Bluetooth as a remote.... when you've failed to find anything mainstream come back and let me know if you think Logitech should spend a great deal of time and money adding functionality for one two bit device, or if maybe Sony should've taken off the big boots a little when designing the remote?
If you *really* want to control your PS3 with a Harmony you can buy a USB IR dongle that gives basic functionality.... or you could just buy a decent Blu ray player!