The Harmony remote controls are built around the idea of macros. The screen displays "Activities" such as "Watch DVD" - which, with one button press, turns on all the appropriate devices, sets them to the right settings and configures the remote to control the DVD player. This makes it a useful remote for non-tech savvy members of the household who''just want to watch TV!''
The biggest advance in the new Harmony One is the touch screen, previously only found in the amazingly expensive Harmony 1000i. Harmony models vary from country to country, but in Australia the Harmony One is designed to supersede the Harmony525 and Harmony 785 . In the US, the Harmony One would appear to supersede the Harmony 880 .
At first glance the Harmony One is certainly a sexy device. It borrows a few design features from the Harmony 880, such as the curved shape so it sits well in either hand. It also has nice big play and pause buttons as well as a recessed record button. The Harmony One also comes with a moulded recharge cradle to ensure the remote's recharge plates are always touching the terminals on the cradle. This is a big improvement on the Harmony 785, which can be easily bumped in its cradle so it's not quite touching the recharge terminals. We've also found the Harmony 785 often refuses the acknowledge the recharge cradle even when properly in place.
Home Theatre enthusiasts will be dismayed by the ridiculously bright light on the Harmony One's recharge cradle and those who value their darkness will surely take to it with gaffer tape.
Cradle aside, the move to a touch screen certainly adds a touch of elegance to the Harmony One. Previous Harmony remotes (apart from the 1000i) relied on a row of buttons down each side of the screen. Unfortunately the Harmony One has lost the four programmable colour function buttons found on the Harmony785 (again bringing it in line with the Harmony 880) which is very annoying if you want to control complicated devices such as PVRs that feature odd function buttons.
Logitech has confirmed the Harmony One is its new global model, so people shouldn't hold their breath waiting for a One-5 European model which adds the function buttons.
Unfortunately the Harmony One's move to a touch screen also involves some major sacrifices when it comes to usability. CONTINUED