Pros
Beautifully designed and easy-to-use remote
Smart home and AV system control in a single
Excellent device support
You need to use your phone aswell
Cons
ZigBee and Z-Wave support requires extra box
Minor touchscreen issues
No Apple HomeKit support
Key Specifications
Review Price: £279.00
Universal smart remote with 2.4-inch touchscreen
Built-in rechargeable battery and dock
Supports Philips Hue, Nest, SmartThings, IFTTT and more
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
What’s the Logitech Harmony Elite?
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It’s a universal remote, but one for the smart-home generation. Sure, it controls your TV and AV equipment like other universal remotes, but with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth it’s in a position to control other smart devices too. Philips Hue, Sonos, Nest, Samsung SmartThings all work, to mention simply a few. It’s pricey, but it’s a must-have tool for just about any smart-home adopter.

What’s good about any of it?
Logitech is proficient at making things and the Harmony Elite is a reminder as to the reasons. It just feels right. It’s weighted perfectly, the coarse plastic rear is pleasantly grippy, and the buttons have a precise click. A 2.4-inch touchscreen adds contextual information, such as for example shortcuts to channels with their logos, when watching TV.

It’s a decent start, but there’s more to the Harmony Elite compared to the remote alone. Contained in the box may be the charging dock – the remote uses built-in rechargeable batteries – and the Harmony Hub. The latter is important, since it’s this unit that handles communication with other devices – for example, those not manipulated by infrared.

The Harmony Elite is easy to set up. That is in marked contrast to previous Harmony devices, which required you to plug the remote right into a PC each and every time you wished to change the settings. It had been painful, especially if you were struggling to get something working.

Thankfully, someone invented the smartphone. Logitech’s excellent Harmony iphone app walks you through establishing devices and the settings sync wirelessly. Logitech’s database of TVs, AV systems and beyond is huge. I had my TV, AV system, Apple TV, PS4 and Philips Hue lights all initiated in 30 minutes.

Once you’ve added your devices you can build activities that incorporate several actions into one. For instance, “Watch a Film” could mean turning on your own TV, setting it to HDMI 1, turning on an AV system, selecting the right input, turning on a Blu-ray player or console, and setting your Hue lights to a particular colour and brightness.

The only problem I encountered was with my Onkyo receiver; the Harmony appeared to think it had more inputs than it certainly did. It took five minutes to work out how exactly to edit the inputs in the Harmony app, but this is the only problem I encountered using the app.

The beauty of the system is that you should use the iphone app as your remote. Actually, you can purchase the Hub alone and just use your phone if you like – it’s cheaper – however the remote will probably be worth having when you can afford it.

All this makes by using a complicated home AV system easier. Moreover, once create, it’s faultlessly reliable. This signifies that luddites at home will easily cope with one remote, and won’t need to troubleshoot problems for the reason that remote didn’t do its job – a universal problem with older universal remotes.

The smart-home connectivity just seals the offer. In lots of respects, Logitech’s system may be the “smart home” hub that’s been missing until now. In a single remote, or app, you may bring together so many devices right into a single, reliable system.

IFTTT (If This Then That) support extends options way beyond the officially supported ones. A great example is by using a sleep tracker (for instance, a Jawbone Up) to trigger your TV to carefully turn on when you awaken.

For official support, TVs and AV support extends across 270,000 products from 6,000 brands. All of the major consoles are supported, although you can’t start a PS4 using the remote because of Sony’s restrictions – the remote turns it off fine, though.

Logitech includes a good compatibility section on its website, nonetheless it natively supports August Smart Locks, Ecobee thermostats, Honeywell thermostats, Insteon, LIFX smart lights, Lutron wireless shutters and lights, Nest Learning Thermostat and Protect, PEQ, Philips Hue, Rheem water heaters and SmartThings.

That, combined with AV support and IFTTT, covers an excellent chunk of the very most popular smart accessories out there.

Related: What’s IFTTT

What’s bad about any of it?
While native device support is strong, the Harmony Hub can’t directly control ZigBee or Z-Wave smart-home products – Osram Lightify, Yale smart locks etc, for instance. Support for Samsung SmartThings gets you area of the way, because it can control those devices, but it’s just a little cumbersome that way.

Logitech has launched the Harmony Hub Extender in america and Canada to fix this problem. It could control ZigBee and Z-Wave products, but this extra box costs $99 and there’s no word on a wider release at this time. This is an average “smart home” problem at the moment, though, and Logitech does an improved job of earning sense of everything than most.

My other complaint concerns occasional frustrations with the two 2.4-inch touchscreen. It’s mostly reliable, but sometimes there’s a delay between choosing an action and a fresh group of options appearing.

For example, in early stages I often switched off my TV unintentionally because I pressed the screen twice thinking the first press hadn’t registered.

I got used to the, though, and it’s only a problem when you wish to control a second device – for instance, changing picture settings when using an Apple TV, or switching on Game Mode when playing on a video game system.

As problems go, it’s trivial, and atlanta divorce attorneys other respect the remote performs flawlessly.

OTHER ACTIVITIES to Consider
Wonderful though it is, the Harmony Elite is quite expensive. It’s sufficient to justify that price, but that’s slim comfort in the event that you can’t justify the trouble to yourself (or spouse). But that needn’t hold you back, because the Harmony system is modular.

For instance, the Harmony Companion includes the Hub and a cheaper remote that doesn’t have a screen – it’s £120. Alternatively, in the event that you don’t mind using just your phone to regulate everything, you can purchase the Harmony Hub for £100. The wonder is you can still choose the remote, the Harmony 950, down the road in the event that you decide you want to buy after all.

For all those with AV cabinets, two IR extenders are contained in the box, in order to still control your devices regardless if they’re concealed. This works fine. You can also control your AV gear remotely using the smartphone iphone app and a cloud server connection, which can prove helpful if someone needs help using the machine.

Finally, there’s no Apple HomeKit support here. Saying “Watch a movie” to your phone will be damn cool, but adding it could boost the cost because of Apple’s hardware requirements.

Should I choose the Logitech Harmony Elite?
I can’t imagine living without the Harmony Elite anymore, which is recommendation enough. That doesn’t mean everyone should rush out and purchase one. However, it’s the very best (and only) way to create your house AV system and smart research together.

Actually, it’s great even without the “smart” features – although it’s harder to justify the purchase price without them. If the purchase price may be the sticking point, cheaper Harmony Hub alternatives do the same for less.

There’s no finer way to consign your old remotes to a dusty, forgotten drawer.

Verdict
This can be a missing link in virtually any serious smart-home project.