Harmony Remotes from Logitech are considered to be some of the best on the market because of their functionality and reliability. One reason many people have held off picking one up is because of their relatively high price. Some people just don’t care to pay around $200 for a remote control, and that’s understandable. Today we are taking a look at a new remote from their line-up which has a price tag much easier to swallow.
What makes this particular remote so interesting is the fact that it works seamlessly with your Xbox 360. This is the first Harmony or even multi-function remote I have ever personally used, so it’s a good experiment to see just how easy it is to set up. Besides the fact that it supports your Xbox 360, it can also control 11 other devices for a total of 12. I will be testing it out with a few of my devices I have on hand to see if they are even supported, or work reliably with the remote. Let’s first take a look at the remote itself.
The remote comes in a clear blister pack as most Logitech products are. Sadly, it’s one of those ones that will require you pull out a knife to slash it open. Personally, I like the product I buy to be in secure packaging, but I also like to be able to open it with little effort. At any rate, the packaging includes all the info you need to know. It comes pre-installed with batteries, so pushing the Activities button while it’s still in the packaging will give you a quick tour of the remote.
After hauling the remote out of the packaging, you can remove the inner packaging to remove the CD-Rom, Manual and four spare AAA Duracell batteries.
I have to say that this is one of the best looking remotes I’ve ever seen. Many “All-In-One” remotes focus too much on looking hardcore instead of looking ‘cool’. Since this is for the Xbox 360, it only makes sense that it have great styling, and Logitech seems to have pulled that one off.
The plastic that the remote is constructed of is even better than what I had expected. It’s hard to describe, but it’s ‘softer to the touch’ than the plastic of the original Xbox 360 remote, or even the controller for that matter. The back of the remote is contoured to fit in your hands really well, and it does. Overall, it’s a very comfortable remote to use, and is not too heavy.
For a quick comparison look, here is a picture of the original Xbox 360 remote compared to the Harmony remote.
The remote has almost 55 buttons, so let’s start from the bottom up. At the very bottom are your normal numpad keys, including an asterisk and pound key. Here’s where my first gripe comes in.. these are small keys. If you watch TV often, then you will in turn be using these keys often as well. I will get more into this later though. Directly above these are the Mute and Prev button. The Prev will function differently depending on which device you are currently using.
There are ten more buttons directly above these, which control your volume, channel, back light glow and navigation. The navigation will work as you’d expect in your Digital Cable box menu and the Xbox 360 dashboard. Chances are regardless of what device you are using, if there is a menu then this will support it.
Next up are four buttons: Exit, Menu, Info and Back. They do exactly as they say, again depending on which device you are currently using. Just like on the original Xbox 360 remote, there are YXAB buttons available, which can primarily be used for Media Center mode. If you have your Xbox 360 hooked up to your Media Center PC, you could access Live TV quickly. Next up are the video controls for DVD viewing. If your cable or satellite allows you to watch movies on demand, you can use the controls for that also.
Finally, the LCD and buttons that surround it. The LCD is backlit Green, since for an Xbox that only makes sense! This screen is the information center for everything… it can help you use the remote, change how things are done, and allow you to access other controls. At any time, you can control up to four different actions, which is why there is four buttons around it. In the chance that the particular thing you are doing has more than four options, then you can use the Left and Right buttons below the screen to proceed through all of them. At the bottom of the screen, it will say what page you are currently on and how many there are total. For my TV, there is a total of 18 pages!
At the top of the remote is the Device and help. If you want to access one of your devices directly, you can access it here. It will become the primary control when it’s selected.