While there are plenty of universal remotes out on the market, and good ones at that, none look as sexy as those with touch screens. Logitech of course is no stranger to touch screen remotes, and one of their most recent efforts is the Logitech Harmony Touch.
The remote has a 2.4-inch color screen that is coupled with 27 buttons that feature basic functionality such as rewinding, recording, guide, DVR, volume, channel changing and more. To program the remote, just like with other Logitech remotes, you connect it to a computer via provided USB cable and you can then choose the manufacturer and model numbers of the devices you own. Having programmed a variety of devices such as my TV, Blu-ray player, home theater receiver and cable box, I found that they all worked flawlessly, though not every button that I need is immediately available. However, the remote is customizable so you can create your own buttons, just be sure you make some time to do so if you need more buttons.
There are also activity-based controls such as “Watch TV” that will turn on any device that you would want when ready to watch TV, such as the TV itself, cable box and surround sound. Another feature I dug, was the ability to add favorite channels to the touch screen, which gave me quick access to whatever I wanted to see.
On the flipside, there are some downsides to the touch screen, namely that it’s tough to memorize where things are, since they can be different for every device, so you will find yourself having to look down at the screen frequently. Perhaps more physical keys would have helped but alas, this was not the case.
That being said, the remote looks quite beautiful. The Harmony Touch has a nice ergonomic design that fits great and feels good in your hands. While glossy in the front, the back has a soft texture that gives it a solid grip. The keys themselves are all illuminated in white and while holding the remote, the keys feel spaced out but not too far that you can’t one-hand the controls.
As for the battery, it’s not removable, but it is rechargeable, and fortunately Logitech provides a docking station for the remote, which obviously charges the battery and also serves as a nice place to put it so that you don’t find yourself looking for the remote too often. I would have liked however, for Logitech to have made the Harmony Touch with RF functionality, and while they do make the Harmony Ultimate, its highest-end remote with RF, the Harmony Touch’s ($249.99) price tag, would have warranted it in my opinion.
While the Harmony Touch might seem a little daunting at first glance, it’s extremely easy to program, is fun to use and is pretty sexy to boot. There are of course some downsides to the remote and to really get the most out of it, you’ll need to put in quite a bit of time programming individual buttons that may not show up initially, but it’s the right direction for a remote control to go.
Final Score: 4 out of 5