So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Logitech Harmony 1000i
- Attractive design, supports thousands of devices, learn function, easy to use
- Battery life could have been better, high price tag
If you need a universal remote that's fairly easy to use, supports thousands of devices and looks attractive to boot, you may want to check out the Logitech 1000i.
Price$ 699.95 (AUD)
At the pinnacle of the Logitech universal remote control range is the Harmony 1000i. This is the remote that gadget hounds will drool over, with a 3.5in LCD touch screen and all the great features that make the Harmony range so popular.
The most important feature of any universal remote control is knowing how many of your devices it will support. With the 1000i, Logitech offers a massive list of supported devices. In addition to the thousands of preset manufacturers that the remote can emulate, you can point any remote control at it and have it learn its functions as well. To set up the remote, you will have to spend quite a bit of time, but it's time well spent and once it's done you will never have to do it again.
Setup is done by connecting the remote to a PC via a USB connection and using the provided remote control software. Each device that needs to be controlled has to be selected from the list of supported devices, or manually calibrated via the "learn" function. Once all your devices are entered into the software, they are stored online by Logitech so you can log in at any time and update your remote. When we say you never have to program it again, we mean it. If you decide to upgrade your remote to a newer model somewhere down the line, all the settings can easily be uploaded to the new remote since they are stored by Logitech.
Once your devices are entered, all their functions are given their own on-screen "virtual" buttons. If you have an overly complicated device (like a home theatre receiver) with a large number of functions, the buttons are spread out over several pages (up to 4 pages). This means that when programming the remote, you need to choose the order you would like them to appear in, with the most important functions appearing on the first page of icons.
Once you have calibrated each device, it's time to set up the activities. Activities are macros that are designed to be a one-touch way to turn on your equipment, based on how you want to use it. For example, if you want to watch a DVD on your Xbox 360, all you need to do is program the remote to turn on your TV, along with your home theatre system and your Xbox 360. It's a very simple process. Then when you want to watch a DVD, press the "Watch DVD" activity and all your devices are turned on at the same time, ready for you to use.
You can also set up delays between each device being turned on, if needed, but this kind of tweaking can be trial and error and very time consuming. If you have only a handful of devices, setting up the 1000i can be very quick and simple. If you have many devices and need them to turn on in a specific sequence, a little more expertise and patience will be required to get it just right. Thankfully, there is an on-screen help button which will guide you through any troubleshooting or sequence problems.
We had no problems setting up the 1000i and found that it worked well with all our devices. Getting the delays right was a little tricky but once it was sorted out, it was smooth sailing. The touch screen is responsive and works well, but we would have liked it a little more if a stylus was included. After using it for only a short while it became a little grubby due to the number of fingerprints visible on the screen.
Logitech also provides a dock for the remote that not only keeps it in a central location when it's not in use, but which also acts as a charger for the internal Lithium-ion battery pack. The battery life was a good. We used it for around 30 hours without having to recharge it again. To keep the remote's battery from getting drained, always remember to put it back in its dock after each use.
The 1000i is rectangular in shape with rounded edges and a smooth metallic surface. There are hard buttons to the right of the LCD screen, which are for common controls such as changing channels and volume. Overall, the remote is extremely lightweight. As well as being attractive, it also has a level of sophistication that makes the rest of the harmony range pale in comparison. Considering this is the most expensive universal remote in the Logitech line up (perhaps a little too expensive), this is to be expected.
If you need a universal remote that's fairly easy to use, supports thousands of devices and looks attractive to boot, you may want to check out the Logitech 1000i. However, if you can live without the touch screen you can save yourself a lot of money by purchasing a different remote in the Harmony range as they all perform similar functions.
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