Logitech Harmony One remote control

Let's face it, we are a lazy bunch, sat in front of our home cinema armed with a multitude of remote controls. Logitech might not profess to make you fit, but does think it has the answer for the multitude of remotes: The Harmony One. So does this all-in-one really have the answer? We get zapping to find out.

Longer than your average remote, Logitech have updated the design and feature set found on the Harmony 880. The new Harmony One adds an improved curvy design, a docking/charging station and a colour touchscreen LCD for improved menu viewing. Logitech has also improved the software making it easier to select your devices.

The idea, for those not in the know about Harmony, is that you list all your home entertainment kit, find it in an online database from the company and then connect your remote to your computer to save all the hassle of trying to get your old remote to talk to your new one. Once your device instructions have been copied over, your remote then works perfectly because it knows what you've got.

Where the system rises above your average all-in-one remote is that it also works with macros and gives you one button press options like "Watch a DVD" - pressing said button will do everything it needs to: turn your amp to the right setting, the TV to the right channel and so on.

Of course the downside to all this is that you have to have a PC and have installed and gathered all your information before you can get going - something that Logitech suggest could take up to 30 minutes.

Once installed, signed-up and ready to work, it's a case of pointing the remote towards your system and sitting back to enjoy.

Via the PC or Mac software you can manage your remote and the devices that it operates. Adding news devices, like a Blu-ray player or amp, is as simple as selecting them from a dropdown list.

Once you've created devices, the software either opts to add activities for you or you can add your own from a pre-determined list.

Activities range from "Watch Television" to "View Teletext" There is even "Watch DVD or Laserdisc" or "Listen to Tape" for the retro crowd.

The software also allows you to create a picture slideshow for the remote (why?) and select themes for personalising it to match your décor. You can change basic settings like start up screens, how long it is on for, etc.

In-use and the Harmony remote is good, but not perfect. We had issues with buttons not working correctly even though we had the right model number for our amp (volume didn't work for example). More frustratingly Sky and Freeview users will be disappointed by the lack of hard Red, Green, Yellow and Blue buttons to gain access to interactive features.

They can be accessed via the touchscreen at the top of the remote, however, all the functions are listed alphabetically and can't be re-ordered meaning yellow is two screens away from the other colours. It is only a small point, but if you are a fan of using these keys it is something to bear in mind.

Verdict

The Harmony One remote control from Logitech will save you valuable clicking time in front of the television and is a lot more expensive than other all-in-one systems.

Setup was easy and the ability to update via an online database means that you are likely to never have to worry about finding your piece of kit.

That said, the Harmony One isn't without faults and as we found in testing the remote didn't work perfectly every time.