My Harmony 620 has been struggling lately. The LCD screen completely died and the button have not been as responsive as they used to be. So, I jumped on the Logitech web site to see what they had to offer.
The Harmony Touch was released on October 1, 2013 — just 10 days before my search. But, at $250, it was a pricey clicker to say the least. I thought about getting the Harmony One remote but at $200, it wasn’t much of a downgrade in price. So, off to Newegg I went and bought a new Touch.
When the box arrived, it’s a behemoth. You can see the packaging stealsa lot of queues from Apple’s. The boxes are thick and sturdy. The directions are quick and to the point and the device is presented in a very simple plastic cradle.
I plugged the charging base into the wall (yay! no more batteries) and let the remote charge overnight. The next evening, I went to MyHarmony.com, installed the necessary software and plugged the remote into my laptop.
As a prior owner of Harmony remotes, I knew what to expect. This was my first time using MyHarmony.com. My previous two remotes used the thick Harmony software that installed on my laptop. Both the MyHarmony site and the Harmony software are pretty straightforward My biggest complaint with the software is that you could not use multiple remotes under a single login. So, since I had two remotes, I had to remember two logins. With the MyHarmony this limitation is removed.
Setting up my devices in MyHarmony is really easy. You enter in the brand name and the model number of every device in use. After the site knows all the devices that are in use, you setup all the Activities. I have a fairly limited number of devices but they do some fairly complicated things.
Here is my hardware:
- Cable Box
- Remote Camera Receiver (we have a camera installed in my sons room so we can watch him)
Here are my activities:
- Watch TV (TV, Receiver, Cable Box)
- Listen to Music (TV, Receiver)
- Watch my Son (TV, Receiver, Remote Camera)
MyHarmony goes through a very brief question and answer session for each activity and programs the remote for the activities The Watching Music and Watching my Son activities presented some minor problems for the software as the settings to bring these actions to live are not default standard But, since I have some known experience with my other two Harmony remotes, I was quickly able to customize my remote to do exactly what I want and programmed it without issues.
I’ve now been using the remote for about a week and there are things about it that I like and things that I don’t.
Things I like:
- My favorite part of my Harmony remotes is the design. They have a dog-bone shape to them where your hands fits perfectly inside the thin part of the remote. Your thumbs, for the most part, can reach all the import buttons with ease. The Harmony Touch is similarly shaped to my previous remotes, with one big improvement. It has a slightly grip material where your hand sits that really feels nice.
- Touch Screen
- The touch screen with the icons is very similar your SmartPhone screen. It’s fast, responsive and very slick. The Favorite icons you can setup make it very easy to jump from channel to channel. This has shown to be a great benefit to my 3 year old son. He knows what the channel icon is for Disney Junior and he just clicks and it’s on. No numbers, no guide.
- DVR Button
- Finally, a DVR button. Both other remotes did not have this and I was always too lazy to program one. So, I ended up just clicking menu, and finding the DVR selection under there.
Things I don’t like:
- Touch Screen Location
- Yes, I said I liked the touch screen and I do. The problem is the location. It’s smack in the middle of the remote. So, the common buttons like channels, volume, DVR, menu, Guide are at the buttom of the remote near your thumb. This is a great spot. Right above these common buttons is the touch screen. Above the touch screen and at the top of the remote is the Play/Pause/FF/RR buttons used for DVRs/DVDs. So, everytime I want to skip commercials, pause the TV or play, I need to slide my hand to the top of the remote. This was not the case with my other remotes and for me this is my biggest complaint.
- $250? Are you shitting me? I’m glad I have a nice wife.
- No number pad
- This isn’t 100% accurate. There is a number pad, but it’s built into the touch screen. So, it takes a click or two to bring it up. I understand the need to consolidate and improve, but I miss my number pad.
- No keyboard
- My Vizio TV has lots of neat-o applets that run things like Twitter and Pandora. They require input for the username and password only once and then they are saved. Most of the time. Every once in a while, my SmartTV decides to be dumb and forget everything I taught it. I then need to input all my logins again, via it’s onscreen keyboard. I usually end up digging out the Vizio remote which has a very slick slider keyboard built in.
Overall, it’s a nice remote. It’s very snazzy, has a cool touch screen and the MyHarmony site is probably easy and workable for most situations. Is it worth the price? Nah, that’s a serious premium for a remote control. Most folks that want a easy to use, functional remote would be perfectly happy with the $50-$100 device that Logitech makes.