As the resident geek in your home, you probably face the challenge that many geeks face – you’re the only one in the house who knows how to get the plethora of devices in your AV cabinet all set to the right mode to operate. In my place, watching streaming media over the PS4 requires far too many steps for my better half to remember, which is why I’m guaranteed a phone call every night I’m away on business trips. Universal remotes promise to solve this problem, but until now everyone I’ve tested has one niggling issue that stops something or other from being fully automated. I’m happy to report that the Harmony Elite is the first kit I’ve used where everything just worked… yet the rapid march of technology has made a big part of this kit obsolete already.
In the box you’ll find the touchscreen remote, charging b ase, Bluetoothpowered receiver hub and, best of all, two miniature IR-blasters on lengthy cables. The hub can blast out IR signals, but given that you’re probably going to sit it on top of the AV cabinet, and that all of your devices are underneath it, the two IR-blasters will prove invaluable. I hung one over my Pioneer amp’s IR receiver, while the second wasn’t needed, as the hub controlled my TV. Set up is all handled via the mobile phone application, and it’s unquestionably the smoothest universal remote configuration I’ve ever seen. Logitech has been refining this software for over a decade, which explains why it detected my 6 year old amp without any issues. After just 15 minutes I had the remote configured to do one of two things – Watch Digital TV, or power up the PS4 for Netflix and media streaming. Normally that would require powering on each device, then selecting the right input for each, as well as a couple of weird settings, but now it’s all done with just a single button press. The hub’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity means it can control the PS4, as well as various home automation gear when and if I get around to installing Wi-Fi lightbulbs. There’s just one issue with this kit – the remote control itself. It’s a beauty, that’s for sure, but the smartphone application is just as good, if not better. Available on both iOS and Android, I can’t see myself ever using the remote control instead of my Galaxy S6 phone. Logitech would do well to simply sell the hub and IR blasters, which would help to reduce the rather high price point. Still, the fact that it includes the mini-IR blasters is an added bonus. Best of all, it finally freakin’ works, the first time I’ve tested a universal remote in over a decade without any issues. BENNETT RINGLogitech has finally included everything you need in the box, as well as something you don’t, the remote itself.