With the ever-growing number of devices, we also get more and more remote controls on the coffee table. Now that’s something we don’t want and Logitech wants to help us with. The company released the Logitech Harmony Elite remote control earlier this year. This is a remote control with which you can operate both your home cinema equipment and your smart home equipment.
What is the Logitech Harmony Elite remote control?
Logitech has a wide range of universal remote controls and with the Harmony Elite you immediately have the most advanced model in your hands. With the Harmony Elite it is possible to replace remote controls for up to 15 entertainment devices and combine this with the management of smart home products, such as lighting, speakers and thermostats.
The big advantage of this accessory is that it is a complete package; a remote control with touch display, a hub for communication, an app for settings and virtual remote control, and infrared extenders. You can add remotes of almost all devices and brands to the Harmony Elite and you can also add / program buttons yourself. The touch display makes it possible to dive into device settings, tap channels directly and add extra options. You can also create routines so that you can switch on various devices at the touch of a button. You can even control smart home equipment such as lights and the thermostat with this remote control. The infrared extenders ensure that you can neatly hide the equipment in a cupboard without interfering with the operation. In short, a handy, complete and comprehensive solution that leaves you with only one remote control. But you also pay for that; the Harmony Elite costs about 250 to 300 euros.
What’s in the box?
The Logitech Harmony Elite comes with various parts. In addition to the remote control, we see in the box the hub that is used to connect to convert signals to an understandable form for all devices. There is also a charging station in the box. This is for charging the remote control and synchronizing the hub and remote control at the same time. In addition, Logitech supplies three infrared extenders so that you can put all your AV equipment in the closet and continue to operate them from a distance.
With the Harmony Elite you have the most premium product from Logitech in your hands and it shows. The remote control itself is a bit hefty, but it does contain all the buttons you could wish for. However, the remote control feels sturdy, fits comfortably in the hand and is also pleasant to use with one hand. In terms of feel and use, it is one of the best remote controls we have had in our hands to date. The buttons also feel high-quality, have a comfortable travel and respond quickly. The 2.4-inch touchscreen on the remote control adds a little extra to the look and feel. In addition, the buttons on the remote control light up in the dark and you get feedback about what you are doing through vibrations.
The hub is a stone-shaped black box that also serves as an infrared transmitter. This hub provides communication between remote control and equipment. Although the box looks slick and sleek, it really is a dust magnet thanks to the glossy finish. Dusting every other day when it is in sight is therefore not a superfluous luxury. The standard (the charging station) has less problems with this and can easily be placed on your TV cabinet or on a windowsill. The remote control is securely in place and during charging, it automatically searches for updates and synchronizes.
To get started with the Logitech Harmony Elite, you must of course first install the remote control. However, this is a piece of cake as long as you know what you want and what you are doing. When you set up the remote control, you can choose from a computer (browser) or the Harmony app for Android or iOS. We have opted for the app, but it does not matter. The app can also be used as a remote control immediately after setting it up, if you do not have it at hand.
When you have installed the app, created an account and connected the system to your WiFi network, you can get started setting up the various devices, activities, groups and buttons. It seems unclear at first, but follow the steps and you can certainly get out. First, you set up the devices you want to control. In the Logitech database you will find almost all devices, including TVs, media players and set-top boxes. You search for your model and the buttons are automatically adopted. You can add a name for each device, choose an icon and change various settings to optimize operation. This way you can indicate whether the device should always remain on, whether infrared signals should be sent multiple times if the device does not respond immediately and whether there should be a delay between executing commands. The latter is useful when your device needs a few seconds to boot. The remote will then wait a while before the signal from, for example, the preset station is sent.
You can then start adding smart home devices from your network. You can search for WiFi devices, but standard support for Philips Hue, Nest and LifX has been added. With the app you log in to your Nest, Hue or LifX account, you give permission to operate the lights, sensors and thermostats and you see them appear in the Harmony app. There you can then group lamps, import scenes and add or exclude sensors.
The third step is the most convenient step. You can now create activities. An activity is an action involving several devices. For example, we have created the activity ‘TV and receiver on’. This will turn on the TV, turn on the set-top box, and turn on the hue lights in the living room. Setting up an activity is done in a few minutes but requires some testing because you don’t know exactly how fast devices react. You indicate which devices belong to the start sequence (on) and how they should respond. Then you set the ending sequence (stake out). You can indicate on which channel to start, which brightness and color the lamps should adopt, whether there should be a delay between the commands (if the set-top box or TV needs a little time to activate) and which home control buttons on the remote control you want to give a specific function within this activity. You can even create a schedule for an automatic activity that takes place at 7 p.m., for example, or set a sensor (for example from Nest) as a trigger. The possibilities are endless and you can automate your entire AV and smart home system.
In the app you also have options to give the home control keys a personal function. For example, we have linked the lamps to the two buttons with the lamp icons, after which the brightness can be adjusted with the plus and minus keys. We have assigned one of the buttons with the plug icon to the Nest thermostat. You can also set your favorite channels, which is useful, for example, when the HD channels are far in the channel list. The favorite channels appear in a handy tab on the touchscreen, including logos of the channels. You can also use the app to synchronize the remote with the latest changes, check for updates and add a hub or remote control.
There are two buttons under the touchscreen on the remote control; activities and devices. For activities, the touchscreen shows the activities that you have set and can therefore activate or stop. If you swipe to the right, you will come to extra tabs within activities; the favorite channels, number keys for quick operation and some basic TV settings. Under devices you will see the AV and smart home devices that you have added. If you click on this, you can directly operate that device (or that group).
As mentioned, it is important that you know in advance what you want to control, which devices need to be added, how the activity should be designed and which buttons on the remote control you want to adjust to your own liking. If you have this in mind, the steps in the app are straightforward and you have a complete universal remote control with which you can operate everything. The remote control itself also has the well-known standard keys, such as numbers, menu buttons, volume keys, recording keys, etc. These keys are automatically aimed at the device that has the ‘main role’ at that moment. In our case, this is the set-top box within the activity. All buttons and thus commands are aimed at this device. However, if I still want to operate the TV, you choose the TV devices and you can operate this device directly. Please note that you cannot set much on the remote control itself. There are a few basic settings available, but to change devices, activities or other things you really have to be in the app.
The great thing is that the remote control no longer needs to be aimed. However you sit, wherever you sit; you can control your devices. The Elite connects to the Hub via WiFi, which in turn sends the signals via WiFi, bluetooth or infrared (itself or via the extenders). The remote control itself also has infrared transmitters, so that you can always transfer a signal and devices respond quickly. By the way, if something does not work – a device that does not turn on or does not respond – then various options pop up with which you can find out the problem and solve it immediately 9 times out of 10. It is great that Logitech continues to think along with problems and offers you various solutions.
Smart home integration
As you can see, the Logitech Harmony Elite remote control is an accessory that is no longer only suitable for your audio and video equipment. The remote control was co-developed for the smart home , with direct integration of Hue and Nest, among others. So you can quickly and easily operate your lamps and thermostat with the remote control, which is certainly nice for our home cinema as we have lit it with Philips Hue. From the installation of the Harmony Ultimate, this is a piece of cake. You indicate in the Harmony app that you want to add Home Control devices and select Philips Hue here. You will then be asked to log in with your Hue account to grant permission and you can link your remote control using the button on the Bridge.
You can also directly import the created scenes to the remote control. Once set up, you can directly operate the lamps under Devices in the menu of the remote control and app (in terms of brightness and color tone), but you can also create an activity via the Logitech software. An activity is a number of steps that are completed with the push of a button. For example, we have created an activity ‘watch TV’ that immediately switches on the TV, the receiver, the decoder and the Hue lighting. With one push of a button on the remote control, you are immediately ready to watch a movie.
The Logitech Harmony Elite is a relief to work with. Everything works flawlessly, effortlessly and – most importantly – can be completely adjusted to your own wishes. When we get home, the TV, set-top box and lights are on at the touch of a button. If necessary, the thermostat with a specific temperature could also be used. Still, not everything can be linked with the Logitech Harmony Elite just like that. For example, we have a Raumfeld multiroom system, but no integration is available for this. So we still have to manually switch on the Raumfeld speakers next to the TV. The same goes for Heos, while Sonos is supported. You are largely dependent on the products that are supported by the developers of Harmony, unless the device can be operated via infrared. On this page you can see (and search) which products are supported. However, this ‘problem’ is a problem of all smart home devices. There are so many protocols , standards, products and manufacturers that one standard for communication between all devices is still a long way off.
All in all, we come to only one conclusion; The Logitech Harmony Elite is currently the best universal remote for your AV equipment and smart home equipment. We are very impressed with its capabilities and ease of use, and we hope that Logitech will support more devices in the future. 250 to 300 euros is a lot of money, but it saves you hassle with a lot of remote controls, it brings peace to the coffee table and gives you the innovative possibility to let all those devices play together. But most importantly; the Harmony Elite works, and works perfectly.
Pros of Logitech Harmony Elite remote control
- Everything can be adjusted to your liking
- Premium design
- Very user-friendly
Negatives of Logitech Harmony Elite remote control
- Support dependent on manufacturer