Ask your grandpa (or his dad), and they may tell of a time when TVs didn’t have remote control devices. You actually had to get your fanny off the couch and turn a dial to change the channel, then there’s a lever you adjust to set the volume level. People learned to live with it then.
But then the TV remote came along and changed everything. Now people have no good reason to approach to TV for anything. We got people changing channels and adjusting the volume and the color with no trouble. There’s even channel surfing, or you can change the channel when the shows on a commercial break.
Now we have the Logitech Harmony Elite, and it’s a remote control unit. It’s not just for your TV, but as a universal remote it can handle just about any electronic device that can be controlled by a remote. Sure it’s expensive—there are TVs that measure 40 inches that are actually cheaper—but then this is an advanced remote.
How advanced? Well, some say it may well be the only remote you’ll ever need. It even works with Alexa voice assistant!
Who Is It For?
At its price range and with its list of features, it’s definitely a high end device. Right now, its prices are falling with lots of discounts, so you’re in luck. The same thing happened to LED TVs, after all. So it can be a bit expensive, though it’s not really insanely exorbitant.
You will more likely get full value for your money if you’re serious about setting up a great home entertainment system. If home entertainment isn’t a passion for you, then this isn’t really needed.
But this is what you want when you want a great home entertainment setup, when you wish for a single remote that controls just about everything in your mancave.
What’s more, it’s not only for serious technical nerds at all. It quite easy to set up right out of the box, and once that’s done it’s definitely functional.
At this price range, a remote had better feel good when you’re holding it. It ought to look nice as well. Lucky for you, it is on both counts. It looks sleek from the front with its dark glossy plastic, with a nice weight to it. On the other side you’ve got a somewhat rugged rubberized back so it doesn’t slip from your hands. The shape also feels nicely ergonomic.
This has a rechargeable battery already built-in within the unit, though you can replace the battery with your own choice if you want. It also has a nice docking station so you’re not always looking for where you left it.
You’ll learn to put it back in its proper place, as it charges itself in the docking station. For most people you only need to top up every few days, so don’t worry if you do leave the unit on the couch beside you. However, if you tend to sue it heavily then you may need to charge it more frequently.
This looks like an overly length phone reminiscent of the 1990s, though unlike those obsolete phones this one has a touchscreen in front. You don’t get a physical number pad in this area, and instead you have a small display that shows you the list of devices you can use with this.
It also includes a list of activities you can do, but you can also quickly find commands specific for certain devices.
You do have physical buttons here, and you can customize them to function for whatever smart devices you may have at home. So you can use this to turn on your smart lights, and then you can use it to adjust the lights’ brightness.
The setup isn’t really complicated at all, as you’re guided by the app that you can download and use for your iPhone or Android smartphone. The app lets you customize the remote through your smartphone which synchronizes through the hub that you have near your TV.
There’s also the option of apps for PCs and Macs if you’d rather use a mouse to make your customizations. But really, this isn’t it all that necessary as the smartphone app is the easiest way to go. It works, even though you may find the app not quite attractive in appearance.
For loading up your other devices onto your Logitech Harmony Elite, you go through a rather simple process. Use the app on the smartphone to search for the device, and then the app connects to that device. The app adds it on your remote unit list, and that’s that. This applies not just to TVs but to your speakers, cable boxes, and other entertainment units that you may have bought that came with a remote.
In fact, you can also use this for lights. Some of the devices do need to have an infrared blaster in front of them, but this isn’t really too much of a hassle.
Using the Remote
Now if you’ve been using separate remotes for your devices, it may take a while for you to get used to using just one remote for everything. That’s actually not all that troublesome. You can scroll through your list of devices in the remote screen, pick one, and then adjust it. Then you can switch to another device.
The real winner here is how you’re able to create “activities” so that multiple devices activate at once. You want to watch a Netflix show? You can tap one button designed for that activity. Your TV turns on, so does your sound bar, and also the Netflix app loads on your TV after establishing the network connection. It’s pretty smooth, and it saves you the trouble of finding each device and turning them on.
That’s actually one of the simpler processes you can come up with. If you want, your activities can include your other devices as well. The Watch TV activity can then include dimming the lights.
The remote can also do other tasks like prepare your home for sleep. Click on a button, and it will dim or shut off your lights, turn off all your entertainment systems, and lock your smart locks.
There’s also the feature that lets you program shortcuts for your favorite cable channels, which you can bring up with a tap. However, this feature doesn’t yet work with streaming TV services.
Is it perfect? Not quite, though. This remote doesn’t work for Sling TV like it does for Netflix. It doesn’t launch the Sling TV app automatically. You may find that other apps may also not work like the Netflix app does.
Then there are times when you tap an activity and something doesn’t start up like it’s supposed to. This can be bothersome, because most of us expect a remote to just work perfectly. However, the remote does have a “Fix” function to help you out.
Which Devices Work with the Logitech Harmony Elite?
It doesn’t work with everything, but then again what does? But you don’t have to look far to find devices that work with the Harmony Elite. According to Logitech, an estimated 270,000 devices can work with this remote. However, you can only program 15 devices to work with this remote at one time.
These include the Nest Thermostat, and even your Xbox gaming console. This also works with Google Home and Amazon Echo, so voice commands can work to get your home entertainment system to do your bidding. This also works with IFTTT automated applets. It’s truly flexible.
The most notable incompatibilities include the Nintendo Switch, and probably all the other Nintendo products. The Harmony Elite also won’t power up your PS4, because Sony apparently wish for only the official PlayStation 4 to do this.
- It’s easy to set up.
- It’s easy to use.
- It’s compatible with a huge number of devices (270,000).
- It can synch with 15 devices at one time.
- Your activity button can activate and adjust various devices at once.
- It feels nice to hold.
- It’s very flexible and versatile.
- You may end up with just one remote for all your devices at home.
- It’s not cheap at all.
- There are still some bugs (which is why there’s a Fix function).
- It has lots of notable incompatibilities.
Yes it’s expensive. But it’s also impressive. When you have a remote that can activate multiple devices at once, it’s great. What’s more, it certainly is fun to design activities that let you adjust multiple devices at once. If you like new gadgets, this is one fun gadget you’ll love.
You’ll certainly find it useful when you have a serious home entertainment center at home and you don’t want a box of remotes. It’s also easy to set up and use, so it’s not all that complicated. You may even end up just using voice commands for your TV and sound bar too.
It’s extremely convenient, and isn’t that the point of having a remote in the first place? Years from now, maybe you’ll tell your grandkids how you had a bunch of remote control units for different devices, and they’ll roll their eyes at you. The Logitech Harmony Elite is revolutionary, and it bodes well for lazybones of the future.