Test: Logitech Harmony Ultimate

A remote control with which everything actually works well. Logitech has managed quite well with the Harmony of Ultimate.

Logitech has screwed up multiple remotes since 2001, when they bought Easyzapper and pasted their own logo on the remote control. The idea then and it has been influential for all Logitech remotes since then is that you do not jump between devices on a remote control, without requiring you to programme the control to “watch video” or “play the game” and the remote manages all other settings with the correct channels and which devices will be turned on. A very noble idea which unfortunately has worked out really bad over the years, where remote turn off devices instead of hitting on them, or is unable to set the correct channel.

Logitech’s fine mind and extremely simple installation is therefore always required huge amounts of hands to work as promised, or that you simply give up and controls the entire unit for unit on the same remote. We were expecting something similar for new luxury package Harmony Ultimate … but jeez what errors we had.

Extra everything

Harmony Ultimate consists of a touch screen equipped remote control, part of a so-called Harmony Hub. The hub is plugged into the wall outlet, and acts as a hub for all your remote control needs. The remote control itself communicating primarily with the hub and the hub itself takes care of the IR signals to the devices that are controlled by these, as well as bluetooth and wifi. Through the hub, you can control more devices than with a standard IR remote, with Hue-lamps and Playstation 3 (which communicate over wifi and bluetooth) as a prime example. Via Harmony Hub you can also connect an Ios or Android device, and control your entire home theater system via the phone. The only thing really missing among the specifications is the ability to control devices through RF, which is strange as it is just over the technology as remote talk to Harmony Hub.

After having plugged the base station, the hub and the two separate IR-transmitters in the hub, just connect the remote to your computer and running the basic settings. The settings managed through Logitech’s Web interface and it is actually this system’s biggest problem is revealed, then small obscure browsers like Chrome and Firefox are not supported by the Setup application (for Mac at least).For some reason using Logitech also of Microsoft Silverlight as an engine for the Setup program, which may not feel so modern.

It works!

Well started with the Setup program, it does not take many minutes to input what devices you have, which ones are used for which tasks and what channels you want shortcuts to. You may also enter the wifi network that will be used, and the Harmony Hub automatically updated with all the details and you can get started.

After the basic settings, it doesn’t matter if you want to use app or the physical remote to control your devices, but both of them are on the track without having to do very much. The app takes a few seconds to connect and have to redo the connection each time the phone went down in hibernation, but beyond that is the most purely physical differences between a pure touch screen and a physical remote that distinguishes the two uses.

The big news when it comes to usability is that it works cleanly.Exactly what it is that has made that it took about twelve years for Logitech to bring their activities into Harmony-fjärrarna, we do not know, but now it works splendidly at once without the need for fiddling and tinkering extra. Select to watch a video via the Playstation 3 and everything is up and running and managed properly. Go from there to watch on tv and remote turn off all devices and move to the correct channel. Just as it was supposed to work all the time now, with the difference that it works right now.

Another disadvantage of the Harmony series has previously been a half second delay from pressing a button that something happened on each unit. Even the irritation is blown away and on the whole Harmony Ultimate works and the app just as fast as the original controls.

During the autumn, Harmony Hub to be released as a separate unit if you feel that the price tag is too high (which it is) and that you only want to check your devices via your phone. The combination of app and hub without counting in the physical remote in the package works really much better than many of the other, similar solutions we tested over the years. Because Harmony Hub operated on AC power instead of batteries and thus does not go down in hibernation and that communication takes place over wifi, which generally works more stably than bluetooth, which is otherwise an ordinary connection form.

Both as a package in the form of Harmony Ultimate and movable device in the form of Harmony Hub feels this arguably as the most sensible solution to manage more remotes in your House right now.

FACTS

Name: Logitech Logitech Harmony Harmony Ultimate Hub

Type: Through with mobile support

Dimensions remote: 187x53x25 mm

Dimensions Hub: 28x123x104 mm

Weight remote control: 158 grams

Weight Hub: 175 grams

The maximum number of units: 15

Compatibility Harmony app: Android, Ios

Communication: INFRARED, wifi, bluetooth, RF (internal only)