"A definite upgrade to the Harmony One..."3.5 starson by CHETLY
Pros: Smaller profile, higher resolution touch screen, web based programming and favorites.
Cons: Micro USB cable (only two feet long), not as user friendly to beginners as a Harmony One.
Summary: I wish to thank Logitech for sending me a free Logitech Harmony Touch to use and review, and then keep !!! That's a class act. I'll start with any slight negatives I have regarding the remote.
I was unimpressed with the length of the usb cable that accompanies the remote - its only 2 feet long...requiring me to leave the remote lying on the floor while programming when I am using my main desktop computer - the cord does not reach up to the desk. Those using a laptop would not have this issue so it's minor - but the standard size cord I received with my Logitech Harmony One would have been nice. Also...and maybe it's due to to size demands, but why the micro USB...? Very Apple-esque to change the connection type from mini USB like my previous Harmony remote. Now I need yet another cable. But it works fine and not really a gripe - just an observation.
Another slight negative is the use of Myharmony.com being required to set up and program the remote. I was used to using the PC software program as I did with my Harmony One and like it. Although, I can now program all remotes I have using the website - so thats a plus. The web version appears to work as it should but has some bumps in the road...I am a techie and I was slightly at odds with how the software was setup...sometimes selecting an activity to edit or a device to edit brought me to the same menu...which was confusing....but it works and thats what matters.
Gestures....this is very nice. Those of us who have smartphones will easily get used to the swiping gestures you can use to go thru menus and channel guides. Also, gesturing can be used to rewind/fast forward, play/pause while using DVR, and BluRay/DVD functions. On that note, one minor setback I experienced that appears cannot be fixed. The remote gestures uses a combination PLAY/PAUSE function by tapping once on the screen. This works...but when fast-forwarding or rewinding while watching DVR or disks, tapping play to resume watching actually pauses your show, requiring you to tap the screen again to play. I have gotten used to double tapping the screen and this solves it - or you can use the transport buttons (FF, RW, Play/Pause) at the top of the remote. The manual and my own tinkering shows that you can edit the gesturing commands for these functions but regarding Play/Pause....there is one function only - the combo. These are two seperate commands and I should be able to assign one tap for play if I wanted. However, it is nice to just tap the screen once to pause your show, then tap again to resume watching. I have no compaints per se' but it would be nice to have the option to edit the play/Pause function as I wish. In default - it works just fine....just my opinion.
Another great feature that improves upon the harmony One remote is when needing to access buttons or commands for devices. On my One remote - it was easy to get to what I needed, but I had to arrow thru many screens to find my button or command. Of course, I could edit them and bring them to the front screen but as long as they are there I am fine. On the new Harmony Touch, simple swipes up or down like using an iphone bring my commands and buttons I need within reach. Smooth and fluid, my buttons slide up the screen and i can easily change sound modes on my receiver, or change the format of my TV. Very nice - and all customizable and moveable.
The remote design is very nice as well. Although I use gesturing for transport (FF/RW) functions nowadays, I thought I would dislike having the transport buttons at the top of the remote. Thankfully, the Harmony Touch is 1/3 the size of my Harmony One, and they are easy to reach. As I said, I use gesturing now....a simple swipe to the right fast forwards my show. Easy. The backlighting (white) on the remote buttons is nice, although seems to be less bright than my Harmony One...possibly due to battery considerations. Its bright enough but wish it could be brighter...(my brightness slider is all the way up). The underside of the remote has a great feeling grippy textured coating that keeps the remote steadily in your hand. Nice touch.
A feature I did miss that I have on my harmony One....is the motion sensor. When picking up the Harmony One, the remote lit up and was ready for me to use it. Not so on the Touch. A simple tap on the screen or a button press wakes it up, but I miss that. I am sure its better for battery life - as I know a simple movement on the couch and my One remote would come to life needlessly. I keep mentioning battery....Hmmmmm.
The manual says the Harmony Touch has a "non-user replaceable battery"....sounds like an Apple product. My harmony One remote has a battery I can replace and this came in handy when mine died prematurely and Logitech sent me a new one, solving my problem. Hopefully that wont happen with the Touch. Although, in the manual it also states that at "end of product life" you should remove the back of the remote, unplug the battery pack and dispose accordingly. Hmmmm...thats sounds user replaceable to me. I can unscrew a back off, and plug a new battery in....as long as Logitech or a third party has a replacement available. Hopefully it will last a while. Manual says battery should last three days on a full charge...my One remote lasted about a week before dying....so this is about right. A new larger touch screen hogs juice. A new stand up charger included with the remote is nice looking, and convenient - just plop it in before bed every night, or two, and you should be fine.
Favorite channels -- I used this feature on my One remote but its at a new level on the Touch. The Touch has a new higher resolution screen which allows me to now see the icons I program clearly. The favorites are set up using your zip code and then populates your web software with your Cable companies channel listing...something I did not have access to on my One remote...another benefit of the new web software - although I can see this being possible with the PC harmony software. You can select up to 50 channels and you can move them however you wish on the remote. Accessing them is easy - press the "STAR touch button" above the screen and your favorites show up as iphone-like app icons you just swipe up or down and then press to select. Again, those of you familiar with smartphones or iphones will be much at ease with how this works. There is a website called Iconharmony.com that you can download specific or updated channel logos to use as your favorites icons...if the ones you want or need are not in the list that Logitech provides. You can also use Google search for channel logos and download those pics to a folder to use as well....there are size limitations to use smaller files.
This remote is definitely an upgrade from my Logitech One remote and cannot thank Logitech enough for being gracious and giving me a new Touch remote for free. When I need a tech product and Logitech makes that item, I buy from them. Be it a mouse, keyboard, speakers, cables, etc. - I use their products - they always work and they stand behind them. I have spent from $39 to $199 on Logitech Harmony remotes and have earned the right to criticize, complain, and compliment them. They make a solid product that works. This remote is no different.
One thing I will say is that this remote is a little more advanced then even the Harmony One, which before this remote, I thought was very advanced. Logitech keeps evolving - my point is that the Touch, in my opinion, is for serious upgraders from lower tier universal remotes, or harmony remotes and for those familiar with harmony's functions. A person new to the world of internet programmed touch remotes with activity based functioning may be dazzled and turned off by the wizardry that is the Touch. The Harmony One, with more labeled buttons and recognizable functions would better suit a beginner....the Touch is for tech savvy folk already familiar with smartphones, tablets, and Harmony remotes. Thats is not to say a beginner could not get this remote and become a master at using it. Just being honest and helpful.
My six year old daughter ignored my harmony One remote (for two years) even though I thought it was the bee's knees. She saw me open the very Apple-esque packaging for the Harmony Touch (which was oddly similar to an iphone 5 package - only larger) and once charged and ready, could not wait to use it. As I was explaining to her it was similar to my One remote, she said "I know how to use it" and pressed the screen for watch TV - held the remote at my system and once everything was on, asked how to get to her channel. I told her to press the star button (favorites) and then she scrolled to her channel (Disney HD) and was immediately watching A.N.T. Farm within seconds. So as you can see, my six year old with minimal instruction began using it. I don't know what that says....she is in a tech house so maybe shes ahead of the curve.
As with all harmony remotes, the HELP function works as it should. Something not turned on...? Babysitter doesn't know what she did now nothing works? Simply press the Help button (?)...keep the remote pointed at your system and answer the on screen questions. It knows your system and will correct any issues such as turning this or that off or tuning to correct input for the TV. Friends and family are still amazed when they are told of this function.
Way to go Logitech on another solid product.