equipment reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Audioengine A2+ Desktop Speakers Review
Darwin Truth Silver Cable Review
Anthony Gallo Acoustics A’Diva SE Loudspeakers & TR-3D Subwoofer Review
Denon DA-300USB DAC Review
The SVS SB-2000 Subwoofer Review
Latest AV News
Remotes & System Control Forum Topics:
Classic Remotes & System Control Reviews
Past Remotes & System Control News
 
Logitech Harmony 1100 Remote  Print E-mail
Home Theater Remotes & System Control Remotes & System Control
Written by Todd Daugherty   
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Article Index
Logitech Harmony 1100 Remote 
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4

Downside

As mentioned above, it did not lock in TV inputs accurately. I had to manually adjust to the Component, HDMI and Composite inputs with the remote's troubleshooter, as they didn't align with the commands given in the software. It is possible that a few of your components will need a bit extra time before getting to a seamless status.

There is no easy method for adding a second room. Instead, the user just creates a label to declare which devices and activities are for which room. While this obviously isn't a high demand option for people looking for a home theater controller solution, offering an option that allows you to designate which devices are in which room would be a very easy and impressive feature.

One of my biggest pet peeves with tablet style remotes such as the 1100 is the two-handed operation. With a customizable touchscreen on the left and standard buttons on the right, it isn't the most convenient way to eliminate all your remotes.  Yes, you can hold it with one hand, but full functionality is lost compared to a slim-line remote, and it is very unwieldy with one hand for any complex functions. It also requires much more attention than a traditional remote. If you like to feel your way around buttons without having to divert your attention, the 1100 will be a wakeup call for you (but adds the luxury of not having to “feel” more remotes than you have hands).

 

tablet style
Device operation is a distant second priority to the Activities management for the Harmony 1100, as you have to go through the system settings menu to even get to the unique buttons you may have not put on your favorites. Another thing to consider is that you can only add buttons from the devices associated with the Activity. So hypothetically, if I was engaged in the “Listen To Music” activity but wanted to turn on my Xbox 360 so it could download an update, I would have to exit out of the current Activity setup and go to the Activities Home page, then click Settings, click Devices, select the Xbox 360, and scroll to the 4th of 5 pages (assuming I didn't reorder the buttons from their default position in the system) to find the On button. Going through this process, and a few that were similar with other devices, made me want to open the closet and grab the original remote real quick to take care of a task, which is the true challenge for every universal remote. Logitech wants you to prioritize your button usage, but it comes off more as imposed triage. The convenience it offers is much too focused on Activity management, at the expense of the basic goal of the universal remote – controlling devices.

One of the biggest shockers for me was that there is no Blu-ray option for the 1100. While the software will recognize Blu-ray model numbers if labeled as DVD players, there is no option for setting up Blu-ray activities. The easiest workaround is just modeling the Activity as a generic command option and renaming it to a Blu-ray player, while remembering to independently tag it as a DVD playback device as well. Blu-ray is pretty much here to stay, and with its CES 2009 prominence, it is unacceptable to completely lack a Blu-ray Activity category.

As mentioned earlier, while the 1100 did seem to have information available for both my computer sound card and my iPod dock, the functionality was severely lacking, and there was no actual category for either of them. The iPod dock was simply labeled as a “Digital Music Server,” and the sound card was just a “Computer.”

The 1100 retails at $499.99, and that's without the optional RF Extender, which comes in around $99 itself. For some it may be hard to justify spending more money to control your devices than some of the devices cost themselves. However, if this is a viable alternative for those considering more expensive custom remote programs out there, this could be a money saver and an entertainment enhancer.

Conclusion

The Harmony 1100 universal remote gave me the “whole nine yards” feeling. A great deal of the setup was smooth and seamless, but any specializations you want, like wanting to keep a device on even if the current activity doesn't need it, bring a whole new time investment. Be prepared to spend quite a bit of time and give a little extra TLC when tweaking the 1100 to any custom modifications you want. The Harmony 1100 Universal Remote does what it does very well, and the troubleshooter is a fantastic option to minimize frustration, but it is definitely lacking in the device management category.  Hopefully future models or even firmware updates of the Harmony family will venture past the popular Activities focus and allow the user to have complete control of their home theater system with simple access. Because in the end, eliminating the need of a remote without reducing the usability is the key goal of the universal remote world.





Like this article? Bookmark and share with any of the sites below.
Digg!Reddit!Del.icio.us!Google!StumbleUpon!Yahoo!Free social bookmarking plugins and extensions for Joomla! websites!


 

 
  home theater news  |  equipment reviews 
  blu-ray reviews  |  dvd  |  theatrical reviews  
  music download reviews  |  music disc reviews
  contact  |  about-us  |  careers   |  brands 
  Subscribe to Us   |   RSS   |  AVRev Forums
  front page  |  virtual tours  |  dealer locator
  how to features  |   lifestyle & design articles
  Want Your Home Theater Featured on MHT?
   CE Partners: HDD  |  HDF  |  VGT  |  SD  |  DVD
   
  Advertise with Us | Specs | Disclaimer
  Sponsors | privacy policy | terms of use
  909 N. Sepulveda Blvd. El Segundo, CA 90245
  Ads: 310.280.4476 | Contact Us
  Content: 310.280.4575 | Mike Flacy