- Written by Sandy Bird
- Published on 25 August 2008
The Design (Build and Feel)
Just about every Harmony model uses a different layout for the buttons. The Harmony One continues this trend and uses yet a different button layout, but this time I think they might have it right.
Earlier models contained many buttons the same shape and size. The Harmony One uses different shaped buttons for each function, making the remote very easy to use without looking at it. Using the remote in the dark is also very simple, as all the buttons are illuminated in white, with clear labels. The 880 had buttons which were flat with the surface of the remote, making it fairly hard to navigate without looking at it.
The most notable new feature is the touch screen which replaces the earlier navigation screen that used hard buttons beside soft menu items. The new touch screen works more like an iPhone or Apple Touch where the user simply touches the icon or control.
The screen is a vast improvement over previous models in terms of clarity and color. The icons are clear and almost 3 dimensional. Themes can be applied to the remote to meet your individual taste, and while there aren’t many choices right now Logitech could certainly build more later. You can even create a slide show of photos on the screen based on photos you upload to the remote using the supplied software.
The screen has arrows on each side to change pages (access additional functions) and two buttons at the bottom of the screen to access other options such as preferences, devices, etc. When first using the remote I found the screen to be not very sensitive to my touch, almost to the point that it annoyed me. I adjusted the screen sensitivity to the highest level and this seemed to address the issue for the most part.
Harmony One shares with the 880 a sensor, that knows when you pick it up, activating the screen before you touch it. It seems simple but it impresses guests.
As with any touch screen device, this remote is going to get covered in fingerprints. What makes this particular remote worse is the fact it uses a glossy screen which looks great when it is clean, but once you have to adjust something while eating some buttery popcorn, everything becomes a smear. To be truthful, it isn’t that bad. You can still easily see the images, but they are no longer the crisp images with which you started the evening.
To clean the remote, simply give it a little wipe, and for an extra shine, a little Windex on a piece of paper towel seems to do the trick. I use a Windows mobile phone with a touch screen and I have a matte texture screen protector on it. I have considered trying to get one for the Harmony One to avoid having to clean it so often.
No More AA batteries
The Harmony One comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and cradle for charging. The cradle design is much better than that of the 880 which sometimes had problems, making proper contact, when docked. The Harmony One makes a perfect connection every time. The new cradle does have a very bright white light on it which you will find annoying in a darkened home theater. A bit of black tape can fix that in a hurry.