If you read CNET at all, you know we're big fans of Logitech's Harmony line of universal remotes--and judging from the sales numbers, so is the rest of America. But if you're in the market for a universal remote, you'll want to hold off until the end of the month: that's when the Logitech Harmony One is scheduled to hit store shelves. (Yes, yes, add Logitech's name under Dell and Gateway to the list of manufacturers using the "One" moniker.) In addition to packing the same basic features that have distinguished its predecessors (task-based activity control, straightforward PC/Mac programmability, a huge online database of more than 225,000 devices), the latest Harmony combines a full-color touch screen on top with a more traditional "wand" design for those of us who prefer plenty of hard buttons (all of which are backlit, naturally). The One includes a rechargeable battery with a magnetic charging cradle--and that latter feature should address the seating problems that some have had with earlier Harmony rechargeable models.
We got the chance to have a brief grope session with the Harmony One a few weeks ago. While it might be too big for some, we like the overall ergonomics and feel of the device. Our only real complaint is the lack of RF wireless. The One is infrared only, so you're still limited to line-of-sight--though we wouldn't be surprised to see a more expensive RF-capable version popping up a few months down the road. Still, this supercharged Harmony can replace up to 15 other remotes cluttering your coffee table--that, along with its superior software, relatively easy setup, and promising design is likely makes the $250 remote a welcome addition to the Logitech stable.