on May 5, 2009
I won't reiterate the other technical reviews here- Read those, they are accurate. Rather, I'll address other issues not mentioned previously.
First, this is an incredible remote. I've owned a Sony Commander for 10 years and decided to try this one when my last Sony died. This one puts all others I've owned and used to shame. Save a few exotic features (see other reviews), this is all most people will need.
I gave it 4 stars because of the difficulty of the software. Specifically:
1. I had to turn my firewall and virus protection off (I use McAfee). A call to tech support gave me 6 URLs the software uses, but McAfee requires the IP Addresses to add to the trusted sites list (trusted programs does not work). The tech didn't know these, but I traced them through McAfee. Once added, I was able to leave my firewall and virus protection on. Since Amazon does not permit disclosure of URLs, check the Harmony forum; I've posted the IPs and instructions there.
2. Navigating through the software is not very intuitive and the manual isn't very comprehensive. For example, there is a Device List and an Activities setup, each with several choices. Some items are listed under Activities that logically should be under Devices and vice versa. Even the tech agreed on this point- he said the software was "dumbed down" so the unsophisticated computer user could operate it. Paradoxically, simplifying it actually makes it more difficult to use.
3. The software uses a wizard, "linear" approach as opposed to a "drill down" approach used by most software. This is fine for initial setup, but to make changes, you must find the point in the wizard that guides you through the modifications you want to make. This can become tedious.
On the good side:
1. Once operational, the remote performs flawlessly. I don't even need the remote extender.
2. Tech support is the best I've come in contact with (I called twice). They are very pleasant, knowledgeable, patient, and not condescending. I stumped them a couple of times, but they were able to come up with a solution. The software connects with Logitech, so they are able to see your setup and even modify it if you want them to. When completing the initial setup, you are asked to rate the device; I rated it low because of the software issues. The tech said he noticed the low rating and asked what he could do to improve it. That led to a discussion concerning the software issues.
3. Other reviews complain about the size of the remote. Consequently, I was surprised to discover how relatively small it really is (about the size of a slice of bread and about two slices thick). There are also "handgrips" of a sort on the bottom of either side so that it can be operated one-handed.
4. After an activity is chosen, there are several "screens": each denoted by an icon. The heart represents favorites (for example, channels on the TV), the 123 is a numeric keypad, the Star is for custom controls, Stop/Play (called Transport Control) icon is for DVDs, VCRs, etc. and a Game Controller. The favorites and custom screens are individually programmable with your choice of icons, and all icons on all screens may be individually programmed to provide your choice of function.
5. Not mentioned elsewhere are 8 additional programmable icons, four on each side of the screen that provide more user defined functions (called SideBars). These are in addition to the screens mentioned above and can be programmed differently for each screen (i.e. Heart, Star, 123, etc.). I use these for utilities- e.g. TV mode or the menu etc.
6. The unit comes with a small choice of icons, but the tech referred me to a website with over 5,000 free icons including most TV channel icons. Refer to the Harmony forum or call Tech Support for the URL. I was even able to copy icons from the websites of my local TV stations and plug them into the Harmony without any difficulty (technical note- the icons use .bmp, not .ico files).
7. Each screen does have limits. For example, Favorites has a maximum of 24 icons, displaying 6 at a time (for example, 24 favorite TV channels).
8. The buttons to the right of the screen are also individually programmable.
9. There is a Learn function common to most universal remotes, but I haven't had to use it even though I have a wide variety of devices to control (i.e. receiver, dvd recorder, Blu-Ray, CD player, home theater, VCR, & TV).
on February 6, 2009
Since I have no previous experience with the Harmony 1000 from Logitech, I won't be able to make any comparisons for those that are considering an upgrade.
Price: Prepare yourself for some sticker shock. At nearly $500, this remote carries a hefty price tag, and it's a bit hard to justify that much money for such a small device. On the other hand, this device may be the only one that you'll ever need while using your home electronics, and if you're unhappy with a bunch of remotes (or just want the cool factor), then maybe it's worth it.
Look and Feel: It's very light in terms of weight and easy to hold. In general, it has a very slim form factor and is not bulky by any means. On the downside, the finish is easily susceptible to fingerprints, as well as the actual touch screen, so you'll find yourself cleaning it every now and then.
Setup: The setup is pretty straightforward and you don't have to be a genius to get it going. It's as easy as installing the software, connecting the remote via the supplied USB cable to your PC, and then walking through a wizard which configures the remote. The remote revolves around "Activities" which might be things like "Watch TV" or "Watch a DVD" or "Play a Video Game". All of these are designed such that your various devices are all turned on and configured with a single button push. How well this actually works will depend on the device that you're using. I have a Samsung LCD TV, a Sony DA5000ES receiver, a Motorola cable box (with DVR), a Panasonic DVD/VCR combo, and an Xbox 360. Getting everything working with the exception of the receiver was a snap. Unfortunately, my receiver has a weird way of switching the inputs, and the Harmony wanted me to "teach" it how to change the inputs. While I worked through this for a while, I eventually gave up only because I was short on time. Aside from that, I think I lost one of the remotes to my Sony, and that made the teaching process that much harder.
Daily use: While I have not been using it for very long, I'm pretty pleased so far. My wife who is not technical savvy by any stretch loves it and has already started getting used to it and is anxious to get rid of our other remote controls. One minor annoyance is the need to "page" through a number of screens for some of the devices to get to their device-specific controls. For example, if you want to get to your DVR on your cable box, I have to hit the "page down" button five times, but once I'm there, I have full control using the tactile buttons on the right side of the remote. Perhaps there is a way to create a shortcut for this, although I haven't found it yet.
Customization: The included software allows a great deal of customization, so if you're into spending a bunch of time on the computer using their software, you'll love this remote. If you don't want to spend a bunch of time, the setup wizard should get you through the initial process in about 10 - 15 minutes and for the most part, further customization is not necessary, although it depends on your device.
Device Coverage: It's hard to say how much is covered, but the list that comes in from the software is pretty extensive, although it does not drill down to the specific model numbers, so it's hard to tell. In general, I think they have good coverage, especially from their existing remotes, and they're probably performing updates on their web site all the time. Worst case scenario - you can use your old remote to teach the Harmony the commands, but this isn't much fun.
Overall: If you want complete control over your entertainment system and are willing to pay for it, this remote is for you. If you're tired of having a number of remotes and want to consolidate with ease, this remote is for you.
on November 3, 2009
everything worked as reviewed about the 1100, but i do a lot of dvr fast-forward/rewinding and i found that using the touchscreen is really hard to do with just one hand. it's possible, but uncomfortable for me and i can't grip the remote for the entire viewing session like a wand. i got pretty good at hitting the correct area on the touchscreen without glancing down, but a physical button as on the One or 900 is easier for no-look button pressing.
i initially got 1100 for the wow-factor, but 1) the ergonomics of the big screen and 2) the rf not being included out of the box, are the two reasons i'm going with the 900 instead.
otherwise everything else is perfect.
on March 14, 2009
I was fortunate enough to tryout and review the Logitech Harmony 1100. Having recently purchased the Harmony One, I looked forward to putting this universal remote to the test. Most of all I wanted to know what more I would get for almost twice the price.
The Harmony 1100 is a highly customizable universal remote designed for easy set up and take control of all your electronic needs. If you normally turn on a PVR, amplifier, and TV plus be concerned with the TV's input setting just to watch your programs, this remote can handle all this by pressing one button. Unlike the Harmony one, the Harmony 1100 is more customizable, and supports Z-Wave (RF) Technology although won't support third party Z-Wave devices such as light dimmers.
Like the Harmony One, setting up this remote is meant to be simple. Start by installing the software and make a list of all the remote controlled electronic components including model numbers. This remote will work with the PS3 using the economical Nyko Blu-Ray Remote or the more expensive Harmony PS3 Adapter. In the case of the Nyko remote, enter the model of the PS3 as "PlayStation 3 Blu-Wave" so the Harmony 1100 can recognize the remote. This option will not control the on/off function of the PS3 though. Once the components are entered, buttons can be reset, favorite channel buttons can be created. If desired channel icon images can be uploaded and are easily found on the web. Additionally change activity order, upload slideshow or background images, alter remote settings, and spend as much time customizing as you desire. Customizing is not necessary, however if desired is accomplished with ease.
The slideshow function is not included with the Harmony One and feels like a forgotten afterthought on the 1100. This feature has been used in previous remotes, however it's less intuitive than the 1100's other features. The software recommends a pixel width of 320 and height of 240. Follow this to the letter, as the remote will not shrink an image to fit, it shrinks and crops the image to fit the specified dimensions to eliminate blank space. The remote doesn't rotate a vertical shot either, rotate verticals on their side before uploading into the software or the slideshow will crop the image forcing it to be horizontal.
Many devices today use Bluetooth remotes. The PS3 and my media center computer are two components this remote doesn't control without using a workaround. Bluetooth remotes are not typical, but they are not rare these days. With the class and cost of this remote in mind, I feel it should be able to handle both without purchasing workarounds. I don't feel as strongly about this for the Harmony One remote though. If Logitech truly wants to replace all my remotes, they need to provide Bluetooth capabilities.
Holding the remote and pressing buttons feels unnatural, especially after using the ergonomically designed Harmony One. Turning the Harmony 1100 sideways feels more natural to me, and could've easily been done without altering the remotes capabilities or features.
While there is room for improvement, Harmony 1100 delivers where it counts. If you have a complicated set-up requiring major remote customization, the Harmony 1100 is the remote to purchase. However, at close to half the price of the Harmony 1100, the Harmony One is worth considering. Both remotes basically have the same capabilities outside of the RF feature and additional customizing capabilities of the Harmony 1100.
Easy to set up
Simplifies remote control usage
Slideshow seems like an afterthought
Bluetooth capabilities missing
Feels unnatural to hold and use
on November 11, 2009
This is my first universal remote. It's not the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it adequately--if not perfectly--does the job as the One Remote to Rule Them All.
I use this remote to control the following:
(1) Panasonic Plasma 58V10
(2) Scientific Atlanta 8300HD Cable Box/DVR
(3) Sony DAV-X1 DVD/Home Theater System Speakers (hereafter "Sony HTS")
(4) Playstation 3
2-4 are behind cabinet doors. The 1100 controls them through the RF Wireless Extender and PS3 Adapter.
THE GOOD. First, reduction. Instead of four remotes, we now need only one.
Second, ease of use. Starting an activity, like watching TV or turning on the Playstation 3, takes only a single button press on a single remote, rather than a complicated sequence on several remotes. To illustrate:
Watching TV Before 1100
(1) open cabinet door for Cable Box
(2) turn on Cable Box
(3) turn on TV with TV remote (or Cable remote)
(4) set TV input to Cable with TV remote
(5) use Cable remote to change channels, operate DVR, etc.
Watching TV With 1100
(1) press Watch TV activity
(2) use 1100 to control TV and Cable Box
Using Playstation 3 Before 1100 (with sound outputted to Sony HTS)
(1) open cabinet door for Sony HTS
(2) switch Sony HTS input for PS3 audio with Sony HTS remote
(3) turn on TV with TV remote
(4) mute TV
(5) set TV input to HDMI port for PS3
(6) turn on PS3
(7) control PS3 with Bluetooth remote or game controller, control sound with Sony HTS remote, control TV with TV remote
Using Playstation 3 With 1100
(1) press Play PS3
(2) use 1100 to control PS3, TV, and Sony HTS
What is more, switching between activities is almost as easy. Simply press the "activities" button to get to the activities screen, and select the activity to switch to. The remote will automatically turn on and set whatever equipment necessary, as well as turn off any equipment no longer in use. Nice.
SETUP. The setup software walks you through creating activities (e.g., Watch TV, Watch DVD, Play PS3). You let it know which devices need to be turned on, in what order, and with what settings for each activity. Once the remote is programmed, simply pressing an icon for a particular activity will activate all the commands in the proper sequence to start that activity. (For a long sequence, it may take several seconds for all the commands to be executed.)
Within each activity, the setup software will give you a default set of commands/icons for different screens (e.g., a favorites screen, a custom screen, a numerical screen, and a screen with playback controls). You can change the default commands with any that are on the remotes for devices associated with that activity. For the Watch TV activity, you can also select your favorite channels with a button press.
THE BAD. I'm a bit of a gadget/tech geek, and found the setup software and remote system easy enough to use, but not without quirks or problems. Here are some.
1. Setup software requires a little tech savvy. It was fairly easy for me to discover what I wanted and needed to do through the setup software, but there was some trial and error. I'm not sure that someone who's not tech savvy, like me wife, could do it without cursing a few times. She certainly could not have customized/optimized the remote to the extent I have. Sometimes, the instructions or explanations are not that clear. Other times, there are none.
2. Setup software did not detect the 1100 or RF Extender half of the time. I had to unplug and replug the devices into the computer several times to get the software to see and update them with new/different commands. Finally figured it out. Seems the software only likes one item to be plugged in at a time, and only right before that device's turn to be updated.
3. Updating the remote with new/different commands requires also updating the RF Extender if you use one. Considering that I've tweaked the settings dozens of times in the first week alone, this is no minor inconvenience. The RF Extender has to be unplugged from its power source and from the IR cables, and then subsequently reattached. Why the remote couldn't be made to reprogram the RF Extender wirelessly is beyond me.
4. Missed commands. Sometimes, particularly on long startup sequences (like my Play PS3 activity), one of the devices will miss the commands from the 1100. For example, my Sony home theater system may not change to the right input to receive sound from the PS3. A help menu on the remote will fix missed commands.
5. Major bug for controlling the PS3. One of the perks of the 1100 is its ability (with the PS3 Adapter) to power on/off and control the console. As anyone with a PS3 knows, its four gamepad buttons--circle, square, triangle, and X--get lots of use. These buttons appear in the setup software, but they do not appear on the remote in the middle of the gamepad screen as they are supposed to. The screen is just blank. These missing buttons are a bug that Logitech apparently has known of but has not fixed for over half a year. It is inconvenient and inexcusable for a remote of this caliber and expense. The workaround that people have used is to program those functions into the sidetab buttons or custom controls page. That solution is workable, if not the most convenient.
6. Could be more customizable. While you can add icons for your favorite channels (Google "squareeyes icon harmony" for a great database of logos), you cannot add custom icons for any command on the remote. The included icon database is paltry.
TWO HANDS v. ONE. Unlike some, I do not find it inconvenient to use two hands to hold and control the remote. In any case, one hand often will suffice, as when using the hard buttons or one of the tabbed buttons on either side of the screen. True, you can't grip it like a regular remote. But the contoured back makes it comfortable and easy to balance in your hand.
LOOKING DOWN. I also do not have a problem with having to look down at the touchscreen. I was never able to memorize all of the buttons on my 4 other remotes, so I had to look at them too unless I simply wanted to use the volume, channel, or power buttons. Those are all hard buttons on the 1100 as well.
CONCLUSION. This remote eliminates the need to use all others, and makes it easy for anyone to control my home theater system. It sounds almost cliche (and a little sexist), but it's so easy, even my wife can use it. And the kids. And their babysitters. But it takes some work to program it for optimal use, and as noted, it has its quirks. I would recommend it, almost highly.
P.S. If you have questions or need help setting up the remote, you might want to try the AVS Forums. In the remote control forum, there's a thread for 1100 owners with plenty of information as well as helpful people willing to share their knowledge and experience with you.
on March 15, 2009
I have been a big fan of Logitech Harmony remotes for the past several years. I own many, including the Harmony 550, the Harmony 880, and the wonderful Harmony One. I was completely thrilled when I was given the chance to test and review the new flagship Logitech Harmony 1100 Universal Media Controller. A similar yet refined upgrade from the Harmony 1000, the Harmony 1100 is just as big and yet bolder and more beautiful than its predecessor.
The real stand-out feature of the 1100 is the bright and colorful 3.5-inch LCD touch screen. It really is beautiful, and the graphical icons are easy to identify and use. You can even customize the icons for your favorite TV channels, to display the familiar logos of these channels. Unfortunately the custom logos included with the Harmony 1100 are few and very plain. You can easily find a large variety of custom channel logos, available for download, on the Internet via Google. You can even customize the order in which these icons are displayed on the touch screen.
Logitech has done a great job packaging the Harmony 1100 universal media controller. The package is decorative, protective, and the contents are laid out very well. The package includes the following:
- Harmony 1100 remote control
- Remote charging station
- USB cable (USB to mini-USB)
- AC adapter
- Lithium-ion battery
- Installation CD
- Quick-start and features guides
- Warranty and registration paperwork
In order to install the Harmony software, you will need a Windows or Mac PC, running Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Mac OS X 10.3 - 10.5. Your computer will also need an available USB port and an active Internet connection. The software installation is very straightforward and simple. My Harmony 1100 remote arrived with enough battery power that I was able to watch the pre-installed demo (displays on the remote touch screen when you install the battery), and was then able to connect to my PC and get all of my media devices added and configured on the remote. The Logitech Harmony software supports more than 225,000 devices, from 5,000 different brands, so all you need is the make and model number of each piece of hardware you wish to control with the Harmony. Once you input the make and model of each device, the Harmony software automatically adds all of the remote functions of each device to your Harmony 1100 remote profile. Once you have added all of your devices, you can then configure Activities, which allows the Harmony 1100 to run multiple commands to control several devices at the same time. For example, to watch a Blu-ray movie you can setup a "Watch Blu-ray" activity on the 1100, which will power on your TV, change the TV to the proper input, power on your Blu-ray player, power on your Hi-Fi receiver and change it to the appropriate input, and then the 1100 brings up the proper control interface for the Blu-ray player on the touch screen. So you simply push one button to prepare all of your entertainment system hardware to perform the activity you desire. When you are finished watching your movie you push just one power button, on the Harmony 1100, to power off all of your media hardware. It's really that simple! No more wrestling with several remote controls just to watch a movie. The Harmony 1100 is capable of controlling up to 15 different devices, so this essentially allows you to tuck away up to 15 remote controls, and control all of your hardware with one easy to use device. And unlike many other universal remote controls, which are limited by the number of physical buttons they have, the touch screen interface of the Harmony 1100 allows full, unlimited control of every device. Even if the Harmony software omits a control feature, you can use the original remote(s) for your media hardware to teach the Harmony 1100 the needed command. That's right, the 1100 can learn new commands very easily, and the Harmony software is updated with more new devices on a regular basis. This means that the 1100 universal media controller gives you full control of the devices you have today and for what you'll add in the future. It is a great way to future-proof yourself for many years to come!
While the Harmony 1100 is sleek, gorgeous and powerful, it is not without a few shortcomings. First of all, the 1100 is not a remote that you can hold and control with one hand. Although it is thin and impressively light, it is rather large compared to most typical single device remotes. The Harmony software, although quite easy to install and use, can be a bit confusing to navigate when trying to configure the more advanced features of the 1100. I think Logitech engineered the software to be user friendly to a fault, utilizing setup wizards to walk you through all of the simple steps and therefore burying the advanced customization features in obscure areas that are sometimes tricky to find. I also don't appreciate the fact that the Harmony 1100 remote cannot be used in any way while on the charging stand. The stand holds the remote at a near perfect angle to allow the user to reach over and just tap a button to increase volume or pause playback. However, in order to perform these simple tasks you must remove the 1100 from the stand before you can do anything. The 1100 also allows you to upload a handful of pictures to the remote, to display them as a slideshow, and while previous Harmony models invoked playback of the slideshow when the remote was placed on the charging cradle, the 1100 does not allow this feature. In order to view the slide show you must go into the setup menu and select slideshow from there. That is simply too much trouble just to display a small number of digital photos. The 1100 also does not come with native RF or Bluetooth capabilities. I can forgive the omission of Bluetooth, but even though Logitech brags about the RF wireless capability of the 1100, it requires you to purchase the Logitech Harmony RF Extender, sold separately. So really the Harmony 1100 is just an advanced IR remote control that can be accessorized to allow RF capabilities. Although most of these issues are fairly minor quibbles, one would think that spending $500.00 on a universal remote would net you a few of these capabilities without needing to spend even more money.
Overall I am very satisfied with the Logitech Harmony 1100 Advanced Universal Remote Control. It is a sleek, bold and beautiful device, with an easy to use interface, a bright and colorful 3.5-inch touch screen, and several dedicated buttons (including volume up/down, mute, channel up/down, replay, 4-way directional rocker, up/down scroll, etc.) to control all of your home media devices. But the 1100 goes beyond just media hardware, allowing you to control lighting, security systems, climate control systems, and virtually anything that accepts an IR signal. It is rechargeable, so you never have to worry about changing batteries, and the installation and configuration of the 1100 is pretty straightforward for most basic functions. If you are looking to tweak the remote for customized perfection, be prepared for some head scratching and time consuming searches through the Harmony software. Also, be aware that occasionally the Harmony software seems to lockup during configuration. Be patient and wait for it, as it always seems to come back to life on its own. I think certain features, such as uploading pictures and custom channel icons tend to task the software in a manner that makes it appear to freeze for a few minutes. If you don't mind the somewhat hefty price tag, and the fact that this remote will require both hands to hold and use, I feel the Harmony 1100 is a great device that is sure to please most every home audio/video enthusiast. It is a very professional device that allows complete control of your home media system, and will surely grab the attention and bring forth compliments from friends and family that visit your home. With a few firmware tweaks and the inclusion of RF support out of the box, this remote would be perfect. However, at this point the Logitech Harmony 1100 is a solid 4-star product with 5-star potential.
on November 21, 2010
I'm writing this review wearing 2 hats. The hat of someone who has owned the Logitech Harmony 1000 (the previous generation that was silver) for 3 years and as a professional remote programmer and Home Theater installer.
I want to start as an owner of this product and the previous generation. I have owned the 1000 for the past 3 years and been Very Happy with the product. It's easy to set up for anyone slightly technical, and just an afternoon project for someone who's not. The programing interface is about as complicated as sending and writing emails. Recently a client came to me and wanted to install this product in his home. I was happy to begin this project because I knew that the client would be happy with the end result and because I would get a chance to see the improvements between the 1100 and the 1000. Until recently all I knew was what you can tell from the photos.
I'd like to tell anyone who is thinking of upgrading that this remote has mostly minor cosmetic changes and some physical build quality changes (for the better). If my 1000 broke, I'd buy this unit in a second. But if you're just itching for something different and think it might be worth the $280 upgrade, it isn't. If you don't already own one of these two models - then the 1100 is a great purchase.
Now - as a Home Theater installer I want to say that I have programmed many $1000+ remotes over the years. I've spent time working with most of the top brands. First of all the top brands require a trained installer because the interface for programming is WAY over the head of most home users. Even if your'e the dorkiest one of your friends, a project like the MX-3000 by Universal Remote is a huge undertaking. Besides the interface being much more complicated, there are plenty of places to make a mistake that will spend hours trying to find. This remote is a perfect balance of customizability and value. Its pretty close to dummy-proof and its very reliable. Most of the programming is automated and then you can fine-tune the custom stuff you want to do. Of course with the more professional ones you can do ANYTHING you want, but that comes with a price - doing MOST of the things you want to do are way more work.
I use this remote in conjunction with the RF adapter and its fantastic. The only gripes are that the adapter severely benefits from not being inside of a cabinet and only has 4 inputs for the IR blasters. If you have more devices you just need to get 3.5mm audio splitters from a place like radioshak - and then you can wire up to 8 blasters. Also the RF unit (SOLD SEPARATELY FROM THIS PRODUCT PICTURED) comes with dual blasters so if you used 8, you could control 16 devices.
I'd be happy to answer questions about this review/device so please feel free to make comments. In summary, this is the best consumer friendly remote on the market as long as you don't mind giving up a typical remote form factor. Harmony makes plenty of other remotes that do that - so you can feel confident choosing one of them if you prefer. But if you want to do a little bit of customizing, this is it!
on June 11, 2012
Since I have been using this Harmony 1100 for 2 years now, I can finally make an assessment. I will make it short (I hope) in the hopes that people won't skip over it.
Let's start with pros and cons:
1. Can control any device that uses RF or IR
2. It's sleek looking and guests will always be curious about it
3. It centralizes all functions into one control
2. Awkward to hold(but not really a deal breaker)
3. From time to time, out of nowhere, the remote will get glitches that are hard to remove unless you wipe the whole remote (too inconvenient)
4. remote has short life span (more on this later)
5. The remote requires internet connection to access the different options you need to personalize it (really? Requiring an internet connection shouldn't be necessary)
6.90-day Customer support. After this period, you have to pay if you need support otherwise there are the forums
Anyway, after my 3rd remote crapped out, I felt like a review was in order. This is my 3rd remote in less than 2 years. I am a technician and most of the times I can repair anything related to electronics. The 3 remotes died for no apparent reason. I couldn't see anything wrong with the circuitry once I opened them. This last one was just sitting on it's cradle and stopped working. I swapped batteries, took it out for hours and nothing. It just died. 3 remotes in less than 2 years? Seems to me like Logitech needs to work on the Quality Assurance process because it's clearly not working on these remotes.
Besides the 3 remotes crapping out,another issue that I couldn't stand are the glitches that I got on each and every single remote. Let me explain. For example, I have a Satellite Receiver, Samsung TV, and a Yamaha Soundbar that are set up for one button operation when activated. If I press the one for the PS3, Samsung TV, and Yamaha Soundbar, it will shut off the Satellite Receiver. That's all fine. But once I am done with the PS3, I would press the one for the Satellite Receiver and it will shut off the PS3 and then it will re-send the signal and turn the PS3 back on. The same glitch would re-appear with the other remotes but instead of the PS3, it would be the Air Conditioner turning off then turning on again. It was frustrating because customer service would tell me to just start from scratch the set up. I did it once and it was just a pain and swore that I wouldn't do it again if the same thing happened.
Long story short, I am not sure if there are better options than this remote, but I assure you I am not buying a 4th remote. Bank on that Logitech! 3 remotes in two years was enough for me. I was expecting at least 5 years out of one. This turned out to be a long review but I have to tell it how it is so people are aware. Because I am sure the great reviews from other people is because they haven't had to replace their remotes this many time. They only rave about how great it is based on only one remote.
As I mentioned, I am a technician and I do IT work as well..I am the go-to guy for anything electronics and technology. It's important for me to say this so you don't think that I am just some unlucky person who happened to have bad luck with 3 remotes or probably didn't know how to properly use the remotes. No it was not operator error!!
on February 15, 2010
I bought the 1100 in early December, 2009. It worked perfectly and was able to control all of my electronics (even a 17-year old receiver). My wife loved not having to use five remotes to control everything. So far, five stars... great remote. In early February, I plugged it into my PC to modify the settings, and the program told me that there was a new version of the firmware (version 7.6) available. I installed it and the program told me that the update was successful. I made the modifications to my settings and downloaded them into the remote. Again, the program told me that the process was completed successfully. I then tried to use the remote and as soon as I pushed an activity button, the remote froze. I tried everything (re-doing the update, taking out the battery, etc.) several times with the same result. I called Logitech's tech support and they had me run thru all the troubleshooting steps again (by this time I'd re-done the firmware upgrade and removed the battery, etc., a dozen times, and every time the software reported that the process had completed successfully). They determined that there was a hardware failure and shipped me out a new remote under warranty. I also have to give Logitech's tech support five stars. They were polite and seemed competent, and I didn't have to wait on hold for hours. I got the new remote today (four days after talking to tech support. Again, five star service) and connected it to my PC to load my settings into it. The software also did a firmware update to 7.6. Guess what? That's right, this new remote is dead as a doornail. I will be calling tech support in the morning again. If there's not a way to go back to the previous firmware, and there is no way to not do a firmware update when updating the remote's functions (I'm not sure, as both of the times I did original updates, I was also distracted watching TV and didn't notice if there was an option to skip the firmware update) I will be requesting a refund.
[UPDATE] I just got off the phone with tech support. They've upgraded my case to "engineering level." The tech took a remote, logged into my account, and it also froze after updating the firmware. So that's three dead. At least now they have a clone of my remote to work on. He seems to think it has something to do with one of the devices and not the firmware or the remote itself. Again, I have to give kudos to Logitech's tech support. They've been polite and helpful, they seem to know what they're doing, and wait times have been short.
[UPDATE AGAIN] I've changed my rating from one star to five stars. I got an email from Logitech today telling me to update the remote. I did and it works perfect. They really went out of their way to fix the problem, despite the fact that my CD changer is 17 years old and possibly the only one of its kind still working.
on March 26, 2011
Read all the reviews here, or at least enough of them that you get the gist. They are all correct. This is in some respects a five-star product, and in some respects one-star. It is at the bottom of things a stinker that smells good once you're used to it. It's a well-polished thing that I am afraid Amazon would not like me to say. But it rhymes with bird.
The Macintosh support is horrible. I'm a Mac software developer and I got it working for about ten minutes before it completely crapped out and I could not figure out how to get it to work again. To their credit, all the work I had done setting up buttons was saved into their web site. That meant that when I solve my problem by finding an old Windows laptop and running the remote setup there. I considered calling their tech support, but the reviews here are so mixed about their tech support that I thought I'd use a Windows thing, and that would be less painful.
The remote software isn't precisely compatible with any Mac OS X release after Leopard. Given that Snow Leopard has been out for a year and a half as I write this, and Lion is in preview, this is criminal that they haven't updated the software so that it works adequately on a Mac.
Moreover, it kinda sucks with Samsung TVs, as it just does not comprehend that there might be apps in the TV. It was utter hell getting that to work at all.
But really -- the entire remote programming is a nightmare that will drive you to tears. It is a web application, but a web application that dates from the early days of the web. Annoying controls, awkward setup. It is arranged like a traditional wizard, and at least on my little laptop the "Next" and "Done" buttons are placed so you have to scroll to get to them. Every move, every selection is an annoyance. If you want to change a suggestion -- for example "Volume Up" from your TV to your receiver, changing the device will clear the command so you have to scroll back through the commands to find it again.
There is a way to get to the actual command sequences that are sent so you can change them around one at a time. I know there is, I've seen it once. Once. I haven't seen it a second time.
And then when you want to update the remote with your new settings, it's more scrolling and clicking, and waiting for the better part of a minute as you re-flash the little sucker. This adds boredom to the frustration, making it even more inevitable that you're going to make mistakes that cause more updating.
If they had set out to make the programming to be as annoying and hard as possible because they had a $100/hour service for programming it, they would not have been able to achieve this level of frustration, boredom, and sheer awfulness without a long and extensive beta program. Sadly, there is no $100/hour service for programming it, because you'll likely wish there was. Prepare yourself for long hours of obscenities and tears.
Once you're done (okay, you'll never be done -- once you finally give up tweaking it), it actually works pretty good. The metaphor that is task-centric is not for everyone, but I like it. Very likely, you got this because there is a person in your house who is not particularly technical and wants something better than a table full of remotes. The task metaphor works well for such people. They'll really like it because it will quickly re-configure lots of devices quickly in a way they can understand it.
Moreover, if you have different devices that have similar controls, that works well. For example, I have an Apple TV and a Samsung TV. When the TV is in app-mode, it needs arrow keys similar to the Apple TV's arrow keys and that all ends up working excellently. It works so well that it's almost worth all the pain to get there. Okay, not almost. It's appalling how painful it is to get a well-working remote.
The device itself is okay, but it's astonishing how much the damned thing costs. Let's face it, there's a huge business opportunity for someone to make a device that is just an IR transmitter that sits on your WiFi network and connects to an iPhone/iPad/Android thingie over WiFi with an app. This device costs almost as much as two iPod Touches. It almost costs as much as an iPad and it has a crap screen compared to them and a vastly inferior touch screen experience compared to them. The quality of the device, given its price is insulting. If it were a grey-market device bought from a stall in Singapore or Shenzen, I could forgive it. But it's not -- it's a top-tier product from Logitech, a top-tier company.
Sadly, the only real competition for the thing is a Crestron or URC remote, and those things cost $1200. Since they're intended for professional installers who actually do get to charge $100/hour for setting it up on top of the device cost, they're probably not any easier. But each of those companies should think hard about coming up with a competitor.
So should someone else. Hold an iPod Touch in one hand and the Harmony 1100 in the other. Meditate upon the fact that the former lists for $229, and the latter for $399. If you are not filled with righteous anger at how the Harmony can cost so much and be such a stinker, you'll be very happy with this product. Stop reading this review now and reach for the one-click purchase. There's an incredible chance for someone to make an iPhone/iPad/Android app that blows this thing away.
But still, let me admit that it does actually work very well, despite the pain and cheapness of the product. Despite my anger, I'm not returning it.
The only upside is that the person in your house who wanted the remote will have heard all your swearing, grumbling, upset, and fuming. They'll have noticed that it drove you to tears. They'll probably bake you cookies. Or something else really, really nice. In any event, they'll owe you a favor. Or five.