Logitech's latest Harmony universal remote control.
Logitech's Harmony 1100i universal remote control is an update to the company's Harmony 1000i. Despite a few frustrations, the minor software and design tweaks offered by the Harmony 1100i make it easier to use.
- Customisable interface, controls multiple devices simultaneously, huge remote control database, "learn remote" feature
- Some interface lag, remote can get confused, no Bluetooth
The Logitech Harmony 1100i universal remote control will control just about every electronic device on the planet (bar the PlayStation 3). The interface could be a little faster, but the 1100i is still a great way to replace that stack of plastic on your coffee table.
Price$ 899.95 (AUD)
Eschewing the traditional candy-bar style, the Harmony 1100i universal remote is a thin rectangular device with contoured hand grips designed for two-handed use. It looks nearly identical to the Harmony 1000i, with a 3.5in touch screen taking up most of the real estate and physical buttons on the right side for common tasks like adjusting volume, changing channels and navigating menus.
Logitech boasts that it has the world's largest audiovisual control database, and all of it — last quoted at 5000 brands and more than 225,000 devices (even Kogan's Full HD Blu-Ray Player) — is at your fingertips. Even if your device isn't on the database — as we found with Toshiba's 52XV560A television — the Logitech Harmony 1100i can learn the controls from the device's original remote. The Harmony 1100i recognises the keys pressed, and either points users to a device with similar functionality or adds the device to the database.
A benefit of Logitech's Harmony universal remotes is the ability to control multiple devices at once. Users can set up "activities" that tell the Harmony 1100i which devices are required for a particular activity and the role each plays in it. Watching a DVD, for example, means that the Harmony 1100i knows that the TV displays the image, the DVD player plays the media, and the AV receiver or amplifier controls the volume.
On the whole, set up is intuitive and requires little interaction from the user, though knowing your home theatre system components will ensure that normal operation is smooth.
Disappointingly, the Harmony 1100i only has radio and infrared capabilities; it lacks Bluetooth, so PlayStation 3 owners might want to opt for a device like the Logitech diNovo Mini keyboard. The remote also had minor problems interfacing with the Xbox 360, but this was easily solved by pointing it directly at the console.
Operating the Harmony 1100i can be as simple as choosing an activity like "Watch TV" or "Listen to Music", which will set off an automatic sequence of events. The remote will automatically turn on any devices related to the chosen activity (and turn off any devices which aren't), and alter the device settings. It can also be configured to delay certain tasks, catering for devices that have lengthy start-up periods. Users can also operate each device individually, but this is comparatively cumbersome.
We did find some flaws with the Harmony 1100i during testing; it occasionally had issues recognising whether a device was on, and with switching input channels on both of our test TVs. When problems occur, a Help button at the top of the touch screen reinitiates specific events in the activity sequence in order to ensure they have been carried out properly, prompting the user for feedback to determine whether it has worked.
The remote's interface can be a little slow, particularly when moving to another set of control options. Thankfully, the ability to customise buttons on both the device and activity interfaces means that users shouldn't have to flip through screens too often.
The Harmony 1100i universal remote won't fulfil every single function available on a device's original remote. Advanced tasks like specific menu controls and settings may require the original remote, but for everything else the Harmony 1100i is a competent and efficient replacement.
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