I recently threw in the towel and decided to upgrade my old Harmony 700 remote for the latest and greatest Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home remote. I had been debating it for a month or so because at $350 it seemed rather pricey.
I was drawn to switching it up for a few reasons. 1) My Harmony 700 had reached the device limit so I was unable to add new components to it 2) I have recently – finally – plugged in my SmartThings and hooked up some lighting and other Z-Wave devices and didn’t like having to control these things separately with my phone. The new Ultimate Home promised home automation integration along with the regular device stuff so it sounded pretty sweet.
Fast forward and I received an email from Best Buy that they were running a special to do trade-ins of old Harmony remotes for a $100 rebate off the Ultimate Home. I decided that at the price point of $250 it was still expensive, yet doable.
The box came with a charger for the remote that is micro USB powered. It also has a micro USB powered hub and two IR-blasters. Plugging all of these things in took only a minute. I used only one IR-blaster and plugged the charger into my USB hub that sits next to the sofa.
I already had the Harmony 700 set up and an account on My Harmony so transferring to this remote was super easy. Just downloaded the Mac OSX software and the iPhone app and all my devices and activities automagically synced to this remote. I was super happy about that because I spent a long time getting things right with the previous remote.
With the addition of home automation gear I had to add on a few new devices. I started with the SmartThings hub. The Harmony recognized the hub and added the sensors that I wanted which were lighting based in the living room and kitchen. I also added on the Sonos so that I can set up activities to turn off the Sonos if I start watching TV.
I also ended up adding an IFTTT channel although I haven’t really found a recipe that I want to use for that. Tweeting to turn on my TV just isn’t interesting to me at the present time.
- Easy if you have another Harmony remote to import the settings.
- Hardware setup is super simple.
- Set up is done through the iPhone app. The app interface is super confusing.
- The iPhone app tries to sync all the time. It is annoying.
- Compact and cute – I got the white remote.
- Like the charging station – No more dying batteries.
- The grip feels nice on the underside.
- Bright touchscreen.
- The DVR controls which I use the most (play, pause, FF) are all at the top of the remote which makes it super awkward to use.
- The screen is too sensitive. Plus with the DVR controls being at the top I always feel like I’m about to trigger something accidently. Annoying.
I really like the remote. I have been having a few problems when certain activities start and certain devices aren’t working properly. I’ll have to troubleshoot this. I really don’t like iPhone set up and would prefer to do it with a desktop app like before. The weird thing is that there is a desktop app, but when you open it you are told to set up the remote with the iPhone/Android app. Grrr. I’m very happy that I have the home automation integration in one remote now.
My recommendation would be if you are willing to spend $250-350 and you want the home automation integration then this is a great remote. If you don’t care about the home automation stuff, then I’d go for a cheaper / older Harmony model.