If you've seen the Harmony 1000i then the design of the 1100i will seem familiar. While it's had a few tweaks to the design, it's essentially the same remote with a new paint job. When we saw it on display at CES 2009 we thought it felt a lot lighter than the original. Logitech, amused by this, told us the new model is actually a few grams heavier. Well, they do say black is slimming.
The remote is still a two-handed design, and sits quite comfortably. The device consists of a 3.5-inch colour touchscreen on the left, and there is a selection of hard buttons on the right including a D pad, channel, volume, back and page up/down buttons. For some reason, the CH and VOL rockers have switched sides, which could be an issue if you upgrade from the older remote.
The desktop stand remains from before, but like thewe wish it had a USB port to allow the remote to charge while you update it. Though, the Harmony does seem to fit better in the cradle this time around — and the back seems a little different to accommodate this.
Tablet-style remotes are almost a category on their own, and are usually associated with home automation with the help of remotes by the likes of Control 4 and the Philips Pronto range. However, the 1100i is actually not as advanced as some of its competitors, and could be considered the Harmony One in a different form-factor. While there is a Logitech Harmony RF Extender available for controlling devices which use RF codes, it won't allow users to control the PlayStation 3 as it uses proprietary Bluetooth. It could also enable users to get around the previous remote's difficulties with multi-room. But a further dampener to its automation compatibility is that the remote also lacks Z-Wave compatibility, which may be an issue for some.
As you'd expect with a remote consisting mostly of a touchscreen, each activity is broken down into a series of up to four screens — one for each corner of the remote. Each screen can consist of whatever controls, and to some extent graphics, that you want. Usually you'll get a page of Play/Pause controls, another for numbers, and another for favourites, for example. To access each page you press a different corner of the screen. Whereas the advantage to a remote like the One, is that most of these buttons are already at your fingertips and there's no flipping between screens to get the control you want. Meanwhile, while we appreciate the use of a dedicated "Activities" button, a hard "Devices" button would have also been useful.