Hardware

Geek Gifts 2010: Logitech Harmony 1100 Advanced Universal Remote

The Logitech Harmony 1100 Advanced Universal Remote is a billed as a luxury multimedia remote and it does not disappoint.

The Logitech Harmony 1100 Advanced Universal Remote is not your typical channel-clicking, lost-in-the-couch-cushions, television remote. Designed for the serious multimedia aficionado, the 1100 is the Mercedes-Benz of channel-changers. If your geek-universe of choice revolves around multimedia gadgets, this is the device you want to use to orchestrate the interaction of all that electronic goodness. And while with great power comes great responsibility, it also comes with a steep price tag.

Previously reviewed 2010 Geek Gift Guide products can be found on this special focus page.

Specifications

  • Product: Harmony 1100 Advanced Universal Remote
  • Company: Logitech
  • Part number: PN 915-000074
  • Computer: Windows-based PC with Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, Mac computer with Mac OS X (10.3 or later)
  • Additional requirements: Internet access, USB port, CD-ROM drive
  • Dimensions: (L x W x H) 5.48 x 4.09 x .68 inches
  • Weight: 204 grams (with battery)
  • Cost: About $300 ($286.69 on Amazon)

What I like

  • Compatibility: One thing that Logitech has done with all their remotes is to establish an extensive database of multimedia gadgets that are compatible with the devices. The Harmony 1100 worked nearly seamlessly with my Sony LCD TV, Sony Blue-ray player, and Motorola DVR Cable Box. According to Logitech, their remotes support more than 225,000 devices from 5,000 brands.
  • Touchscreen: I found the touchscreen interface to be very easy to use. Typing channel numbers off a touchscreen with your fingers as opposed to your thumb with a typical remote was something I got very used to very fast.
  • Activities based: The remote is activities based, so once you enter in your multimedia equipment into the device, all you have to do is tap the activity of choice and the Harmony1100 will turn on the right devices.
  • Online setup: The best feature for all of these Logitech remotes is the extensive work they have been doing on their online set up system. The installation of my devices into the Harmony 1100 was very simple and straightforward.
  • Size: The Harmony 1100 is small, about the size of a handheld console, and rectangular in shape. It feels good in the hands and its shape gives it a sort of handle feel.

What I don't like

  • Cost: The major problem with the Logitech Harmony 1100 is how much it costs. Originally, the device was priced at $499, which was absolutely ridiculous. However, it can now be purchased for about $300. For a true multimedia geek, that amount might be in their discretionary income range, but for the rest of us, that is still a steep price to pay to gain what amounts to a small amount of convenience.
  • Two-hands: I watch sporting events on my television with friends and family. Those occasions usually mean adult beverages and snack food. With a typical remote, changing channels with one hand, while stuffing your face with a pretzel with the other hand, is no problem. However, with the Harmony 1100, you'll have to put that pretzel and/or beverage down for a second to switch to the other game.
  • Durability: While the Harmony 1100 is pretty sturdy, it is still a touchscreen, which means you have to be careful you don't get Cheetos powder on it when flipping channels. The 1100 is not really a remote you want your kinds using.

Bottom line

The Logitech Harmony 1100 Advanced Universal Remote is the best of the best when it comes to multimedia remotes. I doubt you will find a remote that works better than the 1100. It is a multimedia, man-room, geek's dream remote. However, there are universal remotes on the market that work almost as well for much less money that are family/slob friendly. If money and greasy fingers are not a problem, the remote to get is the Harmony 1100.

Geek rating (out of 5)

  • Fun factor: ****
  • Geek factor: *****
  • Value: **
  • Overall: ***

Want more reviews of tech gadgets and gizmos? Download the PDF of TechRepublic's Geek Gift Guide 2010.

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About Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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