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Fast forward 5 hours and you're ready to use that brand new Harmony 1100 remote. The charging dock doesn't lock or slide together with the remote itself, so remote removal is never tricky or challenging. The remote simply is placed onto the dock, as there are exposed contacts for charging on the bottom of the remote. While this is definitely the most convenient and simple way to dock and undock, the connection doesn't feel tight and can be easily dislodged. Also, when you first slide your remote onto the dock, the classic battery symbol with a lightning bolt through it pops up, indicating to the user that is has made a charging connection. However it disappointingly does not give the user a real-time charging status, as the battery symbol simply has a stagnant portion of it green with the rest gray, tricking the user to assume that it is an actual charging progress indicator. Don't be fooled by this fake progress, and just assume it's best to be left on the charger until you need it.
There is no true off position for the 1100. The controller goes idle after a certain length of inactivity, determined by the user, and comes back to full operation from either a touch of a button or simply the movement from picking it up. The battery life for the 1100 has been improved compared to its older brother, the Harmony 1000, and is in an acceptable range. You will be able to leave it off the charger for a few days without it dying under normal usage, but if you have the charging dock conveniently in the room you need the remote, you should never have a problem.
So you're off and running. Clicking one of your pre-set Activities turns on the necessary devices, changes them to the right inputs, and gets the entertainment flowing. Changing Activities from one to another not only changes the inputs on the fly, but also turns off the devices you won't need for your next Activity. If set up right in the beginning, you will be able to change the volume of your receiver, the channel on your cable box, and the brightness of your TV all from the same Activity screen.
Response time was good and bad. In a good sense, I never felt the feeling of the software lagging behind my commands. However, it did require me to monitor the way I gave it commands. When channel surfing or navigating through a DVR recorded program, there were times when I would spam too fast and it would simply void out my button press. If I kept it at a steady pace in sync with the delay that occurs with every signal sent, it worked very consistent and responsive.
The 1100 times the delays of its IR commands remarkably well. I never once hit a snag because IR delays weren't spread out enough, or that it had sent another command to a device before it was fully powered up. The touchscreen also indicates the status of each process within an Activity, showing you each device with a green check mark when it has completed its commands and believes the devices are all running smoothly.
If you happen to fall victim to Murphy's Law, don't fret. The troubleshooting software inside the remote is a determined piece of ingenuity that will help you pinpoint and eliminate your problem nearly every time. It also won't give up until you tell it to, as the remote isn't done with the process even though it thinks everything is in working order. It will then prompt the user to confirm everything is operational. Only then will it display the activities main control set on the touchscreen. This confirmation step can be turned off in the settings menu of the remote, but I find it to be not only convenient but crucial for the first couple days of operation until the user is completely satisfied with every command the 1100 delivers.
If the troubleshooter fails to satisfy the issue, there are a few methods for the user to get help controlling their controller. First up is clicking the “More Help” button in the Tip Center side window of the Harmony Remote Software, which brings you to the help system. An exhaustive list of FAQs is categorized depending on the types of issues you may be experiencing and it includes a search function. If none of those resolve your problem, Logitech provides telephone, email, and user-based forum support through easy links integrated into the software. However, the phone-based customer support is only valid for 60 days once you setup your online account.
Watching TV, watching a DVD, listening to music, playing a Blu-ray, and playing back recorded television was a snap. I only needed to go back and add a few custom buttons to the layout, as I had forgotten their usefulness during the initial setup. Most of the controls were ready and conveniently located, but the screen itself leaves a bit more to be desired in regards to the amount of buttons that can be on one page of the touchscreen.
The Harmony 1100 had trouble with my TV at first. When going from one Activity to another, then shutting down the system, to booting up the original activity, it had lost track of which input to land on. However, the troubleshooting software on the 1100 is fantastic, but it can only navigate you to your solution through yes and no questions, which can be tedious and downright frustrating for the user who isn't gifted with both technical savvy and divine patience. The troubleshooter starts off with an internal attempt to check your systems, and will then ask you, “Did this fix the problem?” If not, it will then go through a battery of prompts for the user to confirm whether all the necessary devices are on or not, one by one. After the power check, it will ask if all your devices are on the right inputs and outputs.
It also had trouble powering down my Xbox 360 when performing a system shutdown after playing some video games. However, I was very impressed that not only does the navigation pad allow you to go through the Xbox 360's menus with relative ease, it also supplies you with the color coded A,B,X, Y, and the infamous Xbox buttons that are on the controller. While I definitely don't recommend tossing out your original game controller for the 1100, it is definitely nice to know that using the 360 as a DVD and media player is as harmonious as can be with the 1100.