One remote to rule them all
It’s a familiar nightmare: the more high-tech kit you add to your living room, the more remote control handsets there are to wrestle with. And even if you are prepared to put up with that, other less tech-savvy members of your household might find the situation more difficult.
The idea of a ‘universal’ remote control isn't a new one. But many universal remotes suffer from being overly convoluted in themselves, and programming and learning to use them can be more hassle that it’s worth.
With the Logitech Harmony 1100, however, programming is a simple matter of finding out the make and model numbers for your TV, DVD player and so on and typing them into the accompanying PC software, which then downloads the relevant information from the web and transfers it to the handset over a USB connection.
It’s possible to set up specific ‘activities’ too. So, for example, pressing a single Watch Sky TV button on the Harmony’s screen will switch on the TV, set it to the correct channel and simultaneously turn on your amplifier and digital receiver too.
Press the volume button and it controls the volume on the amplifier, or press the channel up/down button and it changes channels on the digital box. Press Off and all of the devices go into standby simultaneously.
A large, colour, touch-sensitive screen solves the common button-layout problem by making the screen look like whichever remote control it’s replacing. It’s not always a perfect likeness, but in our testing it was usually a fairly good approximation.
Greasy fingerprints can quickly spoil both the slim, matte-black body and the touschscreen itself, but the Harmony is otherwise smart-looking and has a rechargeable battery. Pop the device into the supplied docking station at the end of the day and it will be charged and ready to go next time.
The Logitech Harmony 1100 could potentially solve a lot of household headaches and, in an ideal world, it would be available on the National Health Service.
Unfortunately, its high price means that many people will find it very hard to justify, which is a crushing shame, as this is an otherwise excellent product.
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It may be nudging the luxury end of the budget but for anyone drowning in a sea of remotes the Harmony 1100 is seriously worth considering Good points Easy to set up; simple to use; rechargeable battery Bad points Very expensive; screen and facia get mucky quite quickly
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