Logitech's first new universal remote in a year, the $250 Harmony One, marries the sleek handheld grippiness of its skinnier Harmony models with the power of its $500 bad-ass, the Harmony 1000.
The Goods: The capacitive-touch 2.2" color screen is designed to respond quickly and accurately to your taps, while the ergonomically set tactile buttons should meet your general needs without you having to look down from your show. Like its predecessors, it uses an online database of 225,000 products to set up without any annoying codes to punch in.
The Catch: It's got a rechargeable battery, which is good for organized folks but bad for forgetful types. Also, PS3s and other new products can't be controlled with IR remotes, making the "universal" term less accurate. Oh, and we're already getting sick of this whole "One" naming scheme.
The One to Watch: Logitech Harmony One Introduces Significant Evolution in Home-Entertainment Control
Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote Introduces New Design with Full-Color Touch Screen, Intuitive Button Layout
Winner of CES Innovations 2008 Design and Engineering Award
LAS VEGAS — CES - Jan. 5, 2008 — Today at the Consumer Electronics Show, Logitech (SWX: LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI) unveiled the Harmony® One advanced universal remote control, marking a significant leap in the evolution of the best-selling line of Harmony remotes. Offering the same one-touch, activity-based control as other Harmony remotes, the Harmony One makes controlling home entertainment even easier with a full-color touch screen, an intuitive button layout and an exceptionally comfortable user-friendly design. The product has received the CES 2008 Design and Engineering Award: Best of Innovations in Home-Entertainment Accessories.
As home-entertainment systems become more sophisticated and complex, people are often frustrated and overwhelmed by the need to have multiple devices, the frequent necessity for family members to have written instructions to control the system (otherwise known as a cheat sheet) and the growing number of remotes on the coffee table. And, according to industry research, more and more families will face this problem. IMS Research's report, "The Future of High-Definition TV - 2007 Edition," forecasts strong worldwide growth for HDTV over the next four years (nearly 148 million HDTV households by 2011). And in the U.S. alone, consumer spending on digital-living products is on track to hit $300 billion in 2010 (Parks Associates, "Digital Living Forecast," Dec. 2006).
"The Harmony advanced universal remotes have been highly successful at providing easy, one-touch access to favorite activities, such as watching TV, playing a video game, or listening to music - all with a single remote," said Ashish Arora, vice president and general manager of Logitech's Harmony business unit. "To further improve our lineup, while developing Harmony One, we sought to intimately understand the interaction between people, their remotes, and their entertainment systems. In fact, Harmony One is the result of our most comprehensive research and development undertaking ever - more than 20,000 hours."
A key outcome of Logitech's research is a 2.2-inch color touch-screen that uses capacitive technology, which responds to tiny electrical charges from the fingertips. Capacitive touch-screen technology is more durable, compared to touch screens that respond to pressure. The color touch screen provides control of any home entertainment device with an infrared receiver, including digital video recorders, high-definition televisions and many household appliances. The Harmony One remote's touch screen can also display icons of specified TV stations for quick access to favorite stations.
Based on a customer survey, Logitech also determined that it could improve its customers' experience with the Harmony remote by creating a more intuitive button layout. For improved ease of use, the Harmony One remote provides an intelligent and intuitive button layout divided into four distinct zones (numbers; traditional DVD controls; D-pad with volume and channel up/down; and on-screen menu buttons) for seamless control of today's most popular home entertainment devices. Only the 40 most-essential buttons appear on the Harmony One remote - so people can find the right one quickly. Each button is individually sculpted, providing useful tactile cues so people can operate the remote by touch, rather than relying on sight.
To better address ergonomics, the Harmony One remote features a curved, exceptionally comfortable shape that is easy for anyone in the family to hold, regardless of hand size. Presenting an elegant piano-black top and a silver base, and black buttons with white backlighting, Harmony One is the perfect complement for any living room. And the rechargeable remote's recharging station has a sleek profile with an adjustable light that makes it easy to find, even in the dark.
In addition to its optimized design, the Harmony One delivers the renowned benefits common to the Harmony family of universal remotes, including its exclusive one-touch activity-based control system powered by the world's largest A/V-control database of entertainment equipment, guided online setup and sophisticated telephone support.
The Evolution of One-Touch Activity Control
Using the Harmony One color touch screen, people simply touch the appropriate activity button and the Harmony One remote does the rest, including turning on the right components in the right order and setting the correct inputs. To watch a DVD, for example, people simply touch "Watch a DVD" on the touch screen. The Harmony One remote turns on the TV, the DVD player, and the A/V receiver. Then, if necessary, the Harmony One remote allows people to adjust the volume on the stereo system. There's no need to control components individually - the Harmony One remote manages everything. And the Harmony One remote even provides interactive on-screen help if something interferes with an IR command (for example, if someone walks in front of the set-top box).
Patented Smart State Technology
Patented Smart State Technology® enables the Harmony One remote to deliver activity-based control. Smart State Technology allows the remote to track the power state and input setting of the various components it controls. With this technology, Harmony remote users can effortlessly switch between watching home theater and listening to music by selecting a single activity button.
Guided Online Setup
Logitech's Internet-based setup makes getting the Harmony One up and running as easy as possible. With its intuitive setup wizard guiding the process, the Harmony One online interface allows people to enter their components' make and model numbers. Then, this information is automatically matched to the characteristics, discrete codes and infrared commands of the more than 225,000 devices from more than 5,000 manufacturers (updated almost daily) contained in Logitech's online database. Any devices that don't match can be added using the online system, and the setup process lets people add the control signals from the original device's remote control to the Harmony One remote. When people want to add a device to their living room, they can be confident that the Harmony One remote can control it - today and tomorrow.
Pricing and Availability
The Harmony One is expected to be available in the U.S. and Europe beginning in February for a suggested retail price of $249.99 (U.S.). The Harmony One will be showcased in the Logitech CES booth (No. 35512, South Hall, Las Vegas Convention Center).