Pros It does finally control everything in my entertainments system...from the projector and screen, to the lights, game consoles, and AV equipment.
Cons A bit buggy at times. I eventually got everything working, but not without a lot of trial and error. Read my summary for more details.
Summary After spending a good 4 days messing with it, the Ultimate finally does everything I want it to do. It's a bit finicky, but once you learn how to program it, it's not TOO bad. Here are some things I'd like to mention that I like or don't like about it:
- Firstly, I have no problem with the build. It's light, the touch screen responds well, and it feels good to me.
- I wish the hub had the option to be battery operated. It would help a LOT with the placement! You're going to need it near an outlet, but also out far enough to send the signal to everything you're going to want to control. The Griffin Beacon is battery operated. Surely the Logitech hub could have had that option as well.
- You can assign what you want the signal coming from; either the remote itself, or the hub and/or IR blasters attached to the hub. But you can't you have it send the signal from both the remote AND the hub/IR blasters. Why either/or? Why not send the signal from everything?
- As I stated in the cons, it can be a pain to get working like you want it. The more complicated your setup, the more you're going to have to mess with getting everything to work. I like that for the most part, all you have to do is log into the website and tell it the make and model of the device you want to control. But for my devices, I found that the default setup and layout is by no means ideal. You will want to do a LOT of customizing.
- You may have to get a bit advanced with programming some devices. I'll elaborate. The way it's supposed to work is, you log in to the myharmony.com website and tell it what device you want to control. If the device is in their database, you OK it, sync your remote, and voila...done. Not so. For example, I have a Panasonic PT-AE7000U projector. It was found in the database, and I ran with it. When powering down from an activity however, the remote doesn't send the entire command I need to turn the projector off. To turn it off, I have to press "power" and then confirm that I want to shut it down. The remote sends the "power" command, but nothing else. I had to go in and program another command to say "OK" when powering down.
- When setting up activities, you can't really control what order you want everything to happen. It looks like you're supposed to be able to, but I can't get it to work. There may just be something up with the website at the moment, but I found that lack of customization a bit frustrating.
- I had quite a lot of buggy issues with it that eventually started working for no reason. The hub would lose connectivity or the computer wouldn't detect my remote when it was plugged in. Sometimes I could get it to learn from another remote, and sometimes I couldn't. I eventually got everything working after a few resets and restores. Thankfully, your settings are saved on the myharmony.com website.
- As I mentioned above, your settings are saved on the myharmony.com website. I really like that. If you have to do a factory reset of the remote, you can just sync it to your account and pick right back up where you left off. If you mess something up or have to replace the remote, you don't have to start all over.
- It should be easier to set up generic devices that you may not know the make/model of. My projector screen is a motorized generic brand with no make or model of any kind. To get it to work, I had to make up a name like MAKE=Projector and MODEL=Screen, and then go through a forced "learning" process with the original remote. Why not just have an option to create a device with a blank slate and then program and learn the buttons you want to use?
- You can NOT organize the order of your devices displayed on the touch screen or the remote. It lets you put the activities (macros) in whatever order you want, but you can't do the same for your individual devices. Why not??
Overall, I'm quite pleased with it now that everything is working. I have a few complaints and gripes and things that I wish were better, but nothing is perfect. This is as close as I believe I'm going to get for the price.
Pros The setup is clear and well thought out.
It is hard to make a mistake during the setup.
It is compatible with a wide variety of equipment, including some of my ancient stuff.
Cons I had hoped for more control over the settings on my receiver, but I got most of what I wanted.
Summary I have tried several off-the-rack universal remote controllers (URC), only to find they were not fully compatible. For example, these URCs were advertised as smart, because one could point the original controller at the new URC, hit the appropriate button, and the URC would learn the signal. This was great, if all you wanted to do was turn something on, but not off, or turn up, but not down, the volume.
On this remote, the user enters in the make and model of each piece of equipment to be controlled. Subsequently, when it is time to set up the Harmony Ultimate, the user gets a screen on the computer with the appropriate inputs, outputs, and controls. Just check the appropriate boxes. Then, when setting up macros, the user checks a box under a likeness of the equipment, answers a few questions, and it works the first time. I spent a fair amount of time planning out how each macro would work before I started, and I was rewarded with a system that worked correctly the first time. I can now touch an icon on the touch screen, everything comes on, and it all works together. Easy.
Regarding the remote being cumbersome to use because of the placement of the buttons: If you use this handset like an infrared remote, that is, point it at the equipment and press a button, it is cumbersome. If you remember that it operates by RF, and you can be in the next room behind a closed door and still get results, you realize you can hold it like a tablet and punch buttons. It doesn't have to be aimed anywhere, and it works just fine aimed at the ceiling.
"Too Many bugs."on by df2616
Pros Easy setup and easy to configure without going to website. Very nice touch screen. Intuitive to use. Really good for my situation, lots of equipment hidden in a closet.
Cons The bugs made the remote unusable for almost six month. Which is a shame for such a great concept. Calls to the phone support resulted in conversations with people from India who did not know what they were doing.
Summary Don't buy this remote until you start seeing reviews that indicate the bugs have been fixed.
Pros Simple to set up and is a nice design, easy to use!
Cons Buttons in weird places and touch screen takes a bit to get used to
Summary Take it from me, I have owned several Logitech Harmony remotes from the 300 to the 700 to the One to my last remote the 900. Logitech makes a fine product and it blows away any Universal Remote I have ever owned or will own. I did not elect to pass up my 900 for the Touch but I did feel it was time to upgrade the 900 to the Ultimate. The 900 and the One are excellent remotes and will always be great remotes to use with any home theater system. They never failed me and worked great with every type of system set up I had. The 900 was a great device to go through cabinets with RF signal etc. However I always thought something was behind with both versions. It was strange to have to plug the remote into the computer to upgrade, the software was behind and sloppy and the touch screen was not advanced, plus the remote felt like it was behind the times with buttons etc. Hence the reason to upgrade.
The set up for the Ultimate could not have been simpler. Plus Harmony now has software 100% online instead of downloading onto your system which is a huge leap. I removed the remote and instantly added my WiFi network, another huge leap forward and copied all the info over from my 900. What I noticed on the Touch is the slight vibration when you touch a button to let you know it worked. Like the 900 the RF blasters sit close to devices and the Hub as it is called sits integrated into the home theater set up. The touch screen was smooth, a lot smoother than the 900 and One and being able to edit directly on the remote was just awesome. You can edit menus, set ups and everything you would do on the software directly on the remote. Plus favorite channels are all over the touch screen labeled based on your cable company which is cool.
The lack of buttons on the remote was something to get used to and the swipe controls from side to side to forward or reverse etc was a bit strange and I would have to have more time with it. The big issue I see with this and I can see where they were going is the Play and forward and reverse physical buttons on the remote. They are way at the top and you have to now use your index fingers to forward or reverse anything. Now since I do live in DVR land, this is something I will have to get used to big time. It is very weird to move your finger all the way to the top to forward through commercials on the DVR. However if this is the only flaw, I think it will be okay. The one thing I do like is the remote is small in size and almost fits in your hand and any changes you make to the actual remote update on your software via WiFi. You also are able to use your iPhone via an app to control your devices as well but I don't tend to like this since I like to separate iPhone and TV etc. Other than that, this is a very cool device and I do love Logitech remotes and I am glad they kept things relatively the same, help buttons etc. In time I think I till like this more than the 900 and One. Time will tell.
Pros Ability to use in-house LAN
Cons Not enough mini IR ports
Degrading hub radio strength over time
Programming is just basic for $350
R0007 remote screen goes white
Loading custom images degrades R0007 performance dramatically
No way to differentiate zones; can't handle cross talk
Summary For $350, I can by secondary market computers, like a used iPad, notepad, or a decent desk top, and use either Bluetooth or WiFi to conrol most devices these days, as typically they have either WiFi or Wired Ethernet, which I can then use to "talk" to the device agents using IP. In other words, there is so much more computing power and application flexibility that I can buy for $350 these days, making what's available on this Ultimate system seem like a joke. At the very keast, more scripting and customization ability can be made available at this price than what Logitech provided. I feel like it is a 900 with some sex appeal, and that's it, and I cannot help but feel that I wasted my money and the system was hyped by Logitech (i.e., I was ripped off).
On their way out of the universal remote business, Logitech has forever tarnished its' name with this VERY POOR EXCUSE for a universal remote.
I was the experiment. I was one of the first to buy one. Boy, am I sorry I did.
I was very excited when the system arrived, with a cool looking remote and a radio hub which could then convert the attached IR signals to and from radio. Nothing new there except for the fact that the 900 hubs that the salesman told me would be forward compatible and definitely work with the R0007, DON'T SEEM TO WORK WITH IT.
But the "newness" of the Ultimate system is in the programmability and user interface, right? Wrong. For example, there is no such thing as a "conditional" operation, meaning, only execute a command 'IF" a "CONDITION" is met first. You know, a simple "IF" statement. This is a big deal because when you switch from one activity to the next, you don't want to unconditionally power toggle, since the device you are toggling might be on already, left over from a past fault in some activity. Many devices have only a "Power Toggle" instead of individual ON/OFF functions. Other anomalies will occur with other device commands and functions without a CONDITIONAL.
The next problem I had was device awareness of the IR signal emenating from the mini-IRs. Since there is only one hub that comes with the system, there is a limit to the number of devices I can control without spending more $ for additional Ultimate Hubs. So, I spent forever arranging the mini-IR blasters and it is still not working with high reliability. Sometimes activities work and sometimes not.
I actually lost my configurations twice on the R0007 and had to re-synch from my myharmony.com account. Very unstable.
Then, I noticed that the radio reception of the hub started to degrade over time. Rebooting the hub, re-pairing, etc., would not improve matters. Then finally it just stopped working.
Logitech sent me a new system, but I still have the same problems as before, plus one new one, Sometimes the remote's screen will just go white and stay white, with the printed menu activities NOT VISIBLE on the screen. I know they are there because when I press the screen at some coordinates on the screen, I may sometimes see a response from the equipment, such as "Watch BluRay". So it is a game of "Guess where your Activity is?".
I can also detect that the radio is again failing on the hub.
For $350 I was RIPPED OFF! It is a hyped up version if the 900, with a radio hub and associated mini-IR blasters. You can do the same things with the 900 both in terms of the radio hub and IR spoke topology, and the programming of activities. The Ultimate makes it a little prettier but not by much in my opinion.
Once all devices support ethernet ports, you can just use commands over IP to talk to each device from the hub, and continue to use radio to the hub. In fact, Logitech must be doing this anyway behind the scenes because you can use your iphone to connect to the hub over ethernet (wireless) and then issue the same commands to each device that sits on the same LAN. Logitech is just not exposing that capability to the user, either through some GUI (e,g., http) or through an API. But for $350, they should start dicunenting how we can access it and use it. Then, it will start to provide some value add over the 900.
Not enough mini IR ports; Activities mal-function about 25% of the time if you have 10-15 devices to manage
Degrading hub radio strength over time
Programming is just basic fir $350, e.g., no ability to do conditionals, no scriptiny capability, just command sequences
R0007 remote screen goes white, blank
Loading custom images degrades R0007 performance dramatically
No way to differentiate zones; can't handle cross talk (e.g., outdoor system interferes with indoor system if using common equipment, such as a common STB