CNET First Look
The best universal touchscreen remote gets betterThe Logitech Harmony Elite was announced today, bringing welcome improvements. But it's only an incremental step up from the company's former flagship touchscreen clicker, the Harmony Ultimate.
[MUSIC] Hello everyone. This is the Logitech Harmony Elite. It's the latest tie-in clicker to use Logitech's best in class control system, and its main extra feature is a touch screen. The big, roomy touch screen is a cool-looking extra. In practice, its main benefit is the ability to show individual channels you select as favorites so you can jump there directly instead of having to remember the channel number and punch that in. The screen also allows you to show more activities, devices, and functions than the hard buttons on the standard Harmony remote. New for this year, the screen gives a little jolt of force feedback when you select items. Another advantage over lower-end Harmony remotes is full back-lighting behind every key. The Elite comes with a charging stand and Logitech claims a 20% increase in battery life. But that's not a huge deal in most living rooms. It will spend most of its time in the included charging cradle. Another benefit of the cradle is that it provides a convenient home for the remote instead of getting lost in the couch cushions. I complain about the button layout of the older touchscreen Harmonys but this one is better with the main play, pause, rewind keys where they should be grouped with the other The remote is on the large side but convenient to hold with a very nice feel. And my thumb easily reached every key without too much of a stretch. Otherwise the Elite is very similar to the Harmony Home Control, the screenless version that costs significantly less. Both use the ingenious hub to control your devices by infrared, bluetooth, and wi-fi. And the system is set up by the convenient Harmony app. Of course the app can also be used to control your devices for times when you misplace the remote, or you just want to use a phone or tablet instead. And just like the home control, the Elite can also command many smart home devices, including lights, thermostat, and blinds, in addition to your AV equipment. Ment. Overall the less expensive home control is a better choice for most people. But if you really want the screen or you just want the best harmony available go with the elite. I'm David Kassmier for CNET.