As your empire of AV kit gradually grows, you end up juggling more and more remotes until you finally start thinking that a universal remote would be a clever buy. This one from Logitech's Harmony range can take command of up to 15 devices, but is not exactly cheap at £129, so we were keen to find out whether it's worth the money.
Logitech has come up with a brand new design for the Harmony One. It's much taller than previous models in the range and also features larger buttons and a revised keypad layout. Perhaps the biggest change, though, is the addition of a touch-sensitive colour screen at the top of the zapper.
Unlike other universal remotes like the Philips Prestigo SRU8015, the Harmony One doesn't come with a built-in database of codes. Instead, you hook it up to your computer via USB and use the Harmony software to download profiles for all your kit from the Internet. The online database stores profiles for over 225,000 devices, so no matter what age or brand of kit you own, it's pretty much guaranteed to be in there.
Once you've got the remote set up for your devices you can then create custom macros, or 'Activities' in Logitech speak. For example, you can program an Activity called 'watch DVD' that will simultaneously turn on your TV, DVD player and surround sound kit, set the TV to the correct AV input and adjust the volume of your surround sound to a pre-defined level.
We really love the Harmony One's combination of a large range of hard buttons backed up by the touchscreen. All those real buttons makes it feel like a proper remote, while the touchscreen gives you the flexibility to be able to program in extra function buttons that are specific to your equipment.
Some of the previous Harmony remotes have suffered from problems with the charging station not always making contact with the remote, but thankfully, Logitech has redesigned the charging station for this model and it always went into charge mode as soon as we dropped it on the station.
One of the advantages of the Harmony range of remotes is that they provide lots of real buttons that give proper feedback. However, for some unknown reason, Logitech has decided to remove the dedicated red, green, yellow and blue buttons that were found on previous Harmony remotes. These buttons were handy for accessing digital services on Freeview or Sky and often act as shortcut keys in TV menus and the soft buttons Logitech has replaced them with really are no substitute.
Another major issue is that making changes to the remote's setting can be an arduous task. This is because the supplied software is very slow and every time you make even a small change you have to connect the remote to your PC and wait for the software to sluggishly download the updates.
While the touchscreen is a great addition, it can only show six software buttons at any one time. This means that when the remote is dealing with complex devices it has to lay all the extra controls out across multiple screens. Scrolling through these screens to find the button you want to use can become tedious.
While it's disappointing that the remote's software is so sluggish to use and that the hard red, green, yellow and blue buttons have been removed, the Harmony One still manages to be one of the best universal zappers around at the moment. This is mainly due to the way it retains the look and feel of a normal remote while offering very powerful control over all your AV devices.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday